Hon. George W. Baxter, one of the most prominent representatives of the cattle industry in the Rocky Mountain region, is the subject of this sketch, who is the owner of the Baxter ranch, six and one-half miles in extent, and situated on Horse Creek on the line of the Union Pacific Railroad, near Cheyenne. Here he is engaged in raising full blooded Hereford cattle, as fine as any to be found in the west. Since 1888 he has been identified with the Western Union Beef Company (now the Western Live Stock and Land Company), of which he is president and manager, and which is incorporated under the laws of Colorado.
Mr. Baxter was born in Henderson, N. C., and is a grandson of William Baxter, a native of Ireland, who came to America and settled in Charleston, S. C., at seventeen years of age, but later removed to Rutherford, N. C., where he became owner of a plantation. He married Miss Katherine Lee. Their son, John Baxter, was born in Rutherford in 1819 and became an attorney. When his son, our subject, was two years of age he removed to Knoxville, Tenn., where he became a prominent lawyer. He was a member of the constitutional convention of Tennessee in 1870, at which time the present constitution was adopted. In 1877 he was appointed by President Hayes as one of the United States circuit judges, his territory being the sixth circuit, embracing Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan. He was filling that office at the time of his death, in the spring of 1886, when he was sixty-seven years of age. During the war he adhered to the Union. His was a turbulent career, for his talents brought him into prominence during the critical period of our nation’s history.
The mother of our subject was Orra Ann Alexander, who was born in Asheville, N. C., the daughter of Mitchell Alexander by his marriage to Nancy Foster, both natives of Virginia. Her grandfather was a soldier in the Revolution and lost a limb in one engagement. The family is of Scotch descent. Mrs. Baxter died in 1859. She was the mother of four sons and three daughters, all of whom are living but two daughters. The third of these was George W., who was born January 7, 1855. He was educated in the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn. In May, 1873, he entered the Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in June, 1877, and was then assigned to the Third United States Cavalry as second lieutenant of Company H, with which he served in Wyoming, Dakota and Nebraska. In July, 1881, immediately after his promotion to first lieutenant, he resigned from the service and turned his attention to ranching. In 1886 President Cleveland appointed him governor of Wyoming, but becoming involved in a controversy with his immediate superior, the secretary of the interior, he resigned after filling the office three months. In 1889 he was a member of the constitutional convention that adopted the present constitution of Wyoming, and after the admission of the state, in 1890, he was the Democratic candidate for governor, but the state being Republican by a large majority his candidacy was with no expectation of success. He made Cheyenne his home until 1895, when he came to Denver, and has since resided in this city.
At Knoxville, Tenn., in 1880, Mr. Baxter married Miss Margaret McGhee, who was born there and received her education in Georgetown Academy, Washington, D. C., and in Europe. She was a daughter of Charles M. McGhee, who was closely identified with railroad interests in Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Baxter are the parents of five children, Cornelia, Margaret, Katherine, Charles McGhee and George. The family attend St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Fraternally Mr. Baxter is connected with Cheyenne Lodge No. 1, A. F. & A. M., the Royal Arch Chapter and Knight Templar Commnandery, also El Jebel Temple, N. M. S., of Denver. He is still a member of the Association of Graduates of West Point.
Source: Portrait and biographical record of Denver and vicinity, Colorado : containing portraits and biographies of many well known citizens of the past and present : together with biographies and portraits of all the presidents of the United States.. Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1898.