George F. Burgess, farmer, lawyer, and public official, son of Dr. C. H. A. Burgess, was born on September 21, 1861, in Wharton, Texas. In 1888 he moved to Fayette County to begin farming near Flatonia. He subsequently worked as a clerk in a country store, studied law after work, and was admitted to the bar in 1882. Soon afterward, he began his practice at La Grange. On December 28, 1888, he married Marie Louise Sims. Burgess moved to Gonzales in 1884 and served as prosecuting attorney from 1886 until 1889. He was a Democratic presidential elector in 1892. He was elected to the Fifty-seventh Congress in 1900 and served for eight consecutive terms, until March 3, 1917. In an address to a Wharton audience in 1902 he lambasted monopolies and Republicans, asserting that the "great trust evil is caused by Republican governmental favoritism." He closed his speech with a ringing pronouncement: "Do not vote for me because I was born in your town and am a Wharton boy! Do not vote for me because you believe I will make you a good representative! But because I am a Democrat, because my victory means the triumph of the party, for whose good we must all put forth our most earnest efforts, because the triumph of democracy means the strongest factor for the nation's welfare." Burgess made an unsuccessful bid for nomination to the United States Senate in 1916, after which he resumed his law practice in Gonzales. He died in Gonzales on December 31, 1919, and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every penny helps.
Please make your contribution today.
Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Stephen L. Hardin,
“Burgess, George Farmer,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 20, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 1, 1994