George ATKINSON, who was for many years one of the most conspicuous characters in the social and business life of Henderson, was born at Church Hill, in County Down, Ireland, on 17 May 1793. Being left an orphan at an early age, he came to America in the year 1805 and was reared by an uncle in Richmond, Virginia. He was sent to the best schools within reach, but when a mere youth went into the counting-house of his uncle as a clerk, and there acquired the knowledge of business and of men which in his later life was of great advantage to him.
While so engaged, and during the War of 1812 with Great Britain, he had some experience of military life, serving for a time in a company of volunteers, commanded by William WIRT, who was afterwards Attorney General of the United States, and was often thrown into contact with Chief Justice Marshal, John RANDOLPH, of Roanoke, and other men then prominent in public life, whose influence upon his observant and ambitious character was strongly felt and always remembered.
In the year 1817 Mr. ATKINSON removed from Richmond and settled in Henderson, then a mere village, and began the tobacco business which has since increased to such vast proportions. For many years he applied himself diligently to that business and to merchandise, and by his pluck, judgment and integrity, attained large success financially, and acquired the confidence and respect of all who had any intercourse with him.
In the year 1819 he married Miss Mary DIXON, a daughter of Capt. Wynn DIXON, and a sister of the late Governor Archibald DIXON. By this marriage he had seven children, only two of whom survived him, viz: John C. ATKINSON, who has twice been Mayor of Henderson, and has take a conspicuous part in the progress and development of the city, and Mrs. Blanton DUNCAN, of Louisville.
His first wife having died in the year 1842, in 1844 he married Mrs. Lucy A. GAYLE, a daughter of Major John HOLLOWAY, and sister of John G. and William S. HOLLOWAY and of Mrs. Rebecca STITES. By his latter marriage, he left surviving him only one child. Edward is now an officer of the Farmers’ Bank in Henderson. His second wife died in 1872. Mr. ATKINSON was a man of great decision and force of character, frankly and without reserve expressing his views on all subjects of importance as occasion required, or his inclination prompted. He retired from active business during the late war between the States, and in 1864, with his wife, daughter and youngest son, made a trip to Europe, visiting Great Britain and Ireland and the principal points of interest on the Continent, passing the winter of 1864-’ 65 in Rome.
Mr. ATKINSON was for many years identified with the Episcopal Church, being a member of the first vestry of St. Paul’s Parish at its organization in 1832, and, although not a communicant, continuing in that body until the year 1867, when he joined the Presbyterian Church, of which his wife had for many years been a zealous member.
He was always liberal in his support of the church, and of every project or institution for the betterment of his fellowmen. His hospitality was proverbial, and his charity, while wholly unostentatious, was lavish and bounded by no sect, nationality nor condition. Courteous, brave, upright in all transactions, with a keen sense of honor, from which no threat nor advantage could swerve him, through a long life he passed in and out among his fellowmen, making his presence felt, setting an example which followed, would be a benefaction to the world, and dying left a name and memory unblotted by any unworthy deed. He died in Henderson on 24 Jun 1877, in his eighty-fifth year.
Starling’s History of Henderson County, Kentucky, 1887.
GEORGE ATKINSON REFERENCES
IN HENDERSON COUNTY 1806 – 1858
– Lucy Ann Gayle, 17 Dec 1844, Book 001, Page 084
MARRIAGES IN HENDERSON COUNTY 1858 – 1900
– Nannie W. Letcher, 05 Sep 1866, Book 007, Page 215
1850 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
John C. Atkinson age 30; Eliza F. Atkinson age 21 and Francis F. (m) age 1 are listed with Eliza’s mother: Eliza Walker age 52, Page 7, House No. 54; Francis (m) age 26; James B. age 14; James Bell age 83
George Atkinson age 57, Page 13, House No. 102; Lucy A. age 46; Mary P. age 22; Edward age 3; George Gayle age 9.
James Atkinson age 42 listed with Martin Hancock age 36, hotel keeper, Page 17, House No. 140
Richard B. Atkinson age 28, Page 22, House No. 180; Catherine age 20 Mary Atkinson age 56 and Willie Atkinson age 30 are listed with Austin
Crenshaw age 30, Page 147, House No. 717; Sarah Crenshaw age 30; Mary Crenshaw age 5; Sarah Crenshaw age 1.
1860 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
George Atkinson age 67, Page 30, House No. 275; Lucy age 57; Edward age 14; James age 50
Wiley H. Atkinson age 45, Page 87, House 461; Sallie E. age 27; William H. age 7; Mary L. age 3; Dolly S. age 1; William Lambet age 70
George M. Atkinson age 9 is listed with Jackson McClain age 43 (J. McClain is George’s Guardian), Page 139, House No. 351
Sallie L. Atkinson
age 25 and Mary F. Atkinson age 5 are listed with Mary F. Gregory
age 47, Page 144; House No. 391; William A. Gregory age 23; James
W. age 21; Ann E. Gregory age 19; Mary F. Gregory age
14, Andrew J.
1870 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
George Atkinson age 77, Page 176, House no. 57; Lucy age 65; Edward age 22; Nannie age 24; Hugh age 1
Fanny Atkinson age 15 is listed with John B. Hart age 50, Page 237, House No. 4; Sallie Hart age 35; John H. Hart age 14; David Hart age 12; James Hart age 6; Charles Hart age 3; Kate Hicks (B) age 20; Celia Hicks (B) age 10
William Atkinson (B) age 35 is listed with Maria Hancock (B) age 45, Page 240, House No. 20
Walter Atkinson (B) age 23, Page 251, House No. 106; Patience Atkinson (B) age 35
Henry Atkinson (B) age 52, Page 406, House No. 25; Lucinda Atkinson (B) age 50
George Atkinson age 19 is listed with Jackson McClain age 53, Page 421, House 127
1880 CENSUS OF HENDERSON COUNTY
Edward Atkinson age 33, Page 79, House 96; Nannie age 33; Hugh age 11; Eddie age 7; Nine age 1; Lizzie Keyhe?? Age 23; Sally Mutren ?? age 16
John C. Atkinson age 60, Page 104; House No. 419; Catherine age 60; Mary age 29; John R. age 1 (GR-Son); Virginia age 17; John age 15; Nannie age 11; Eliza F. Walker age 84 (M-I-L); B. H. Cuningham age 35 (S-I-L)
B. Atkinson age 38, Page 270, House No. 238; Susan age 25; Thomas age 8;Mary age 6; Ann age 4; Carrie age 2
Rebecca Dixon Atkinson,
18 Sep 1833, Fernwood, Age unknown, 425, 2
Atkinson (inf) 17 Sep 1850, Fernwood, Age unknown, 214, 2
Richard B. Atkinson,
26 Dec 1856, Fernwood, Age unknown, 424, 6
Virginia Josephine Atkinson, 01 May 1869, Fernwood, Age unknown,