Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


The family of which George W. Bird, president of the Retail Grocers' Association, of Burlington, Iowa, is a well-known member, was founded in America by the father of our subject, Thomas Bird, who was born in Leicester, Leicestershire, England, Feb. 20, 1833. In his native town he learned the trade of carpentering, which he followed there for a time, but in 1864 he decided to emigrate to the United States; and sailing from Liverpool to New Orleans, he came directly to Burlington, where he was first employed in the Joy planing mill. Later he engaged with the firm of Nairn & Gillies, with whom he remained for twenty-five years, during the greater part of this time having charge of special work, requiring for its proper execution a high degree of technical skill. This connection he severed in 1901. He was united in marriage in this city in March 1869, to Miss Melissa Johnson.

George W. Bird was born Oct. 9, 1872, in Burlington, only child of Thomas and Melissa (Johnson) Bird, and after completing his preliminary education in the public schools of this city, entered Elliott's Business College, in which he pursued a full course of study, thus securing excellent preparation for the practical life of commerce and business, in which he has since been so conspicuously successful. In 1890, he became a commercial traveler for J. B. Petit, wholesale merchant, representing his interests throughout Iowa and Western Illinois for two years with satisfactory results. Later he engaged with the firm of John Blaul & Sons in a similar capacity for a further two years, traveling in northern and a portion of central Iowa, and in 1897 he established a high-class grocery store at the corner of Smith and Marshall Streets, which is his present location. Hither he has drawn by the fairness and frankness of his methods a flourishing and profitable patronage. The store is an excellent example of neatness and convenient arrangement, the equal in these respects of any in the city, and all fixtures and appointments are in the highest degree modern, attractive, and utilitarian.

In March, 1898, Mr. Bird was united in marriage to Miss Mary Spahr, a daughter of George H. Spahr, well known as a capitalist and a prominent citizen of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and to them have been born three children, Mary Louise, Florence Virginia, and Gertrude Wagner.

Fraternally, Mr. Bird is a member of Burlington Lodge, No. 84, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and during the four years from 1888 to 1892 he was a member of Company H, Iowa National Guard. He is a leading worker in the Retail Grocers' Association, of Burlington, of which he was elected vice-president in 1902 and re-elected the following year, while he is now the president of the association, having been elected to this office in March, 1904. He enjoys extreme popularity, and is a leader in public as well as in business life, being active in politics as a prominent member of the Republican party; and in recognition of his ability he was in 1904 elected alderman for the fourth ward, to represent that constituency in the city council of Burlington. His position in the esteem and regard of his fellow-townsmen is one of which any man might well be proud, and it is unnecessary to say that his reputation is firmly founded in upright character and unwavering loyalty to his friends.


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