Thursday, June 7, 2012

Geronimo Way King (1886-1964)

     Today's political profile takes us to Chattahoochee County, Georgia and Mr. Geronimo Way King. This oddly named political figure was presumably named in honor of the famed leader of the Apache Indian tribe and he was elected to a term in both houses of the Georgia Legislature in the late 1940s and early 1950s. 
   His story begins with his birth in the small town of Cusseta, Georgia on October 24, 1886, the son of Gary Wood and Catherine Alice King. Sources mentioning King have proven to be few and far between, and it is unknown at this time what exactly prompted King's parents to bestow the highly unusual name of "Geronimo" upon him!
  King is listed by the 1951-52 Georgia Official and Statistical Register as attending schools local to the Cusseta area and he eventually graduated from the local high school. He continued his education at the University of Georgia and graduated from this institution in 1908 with a Bachelor of Science degree. A decade after his college graduation, King married Chattahoochee County native Martha "Mattie" Virginia Foster (1895-1984) and this union eventually produced three children: Virginia Way King Robertson (1919-2011), Hal Foster (born 1922) and Helen Hasseltine (born 1925).
  Five years following his marriage, Geronimo King was elected to his first public office, that of Chattahoochee County Superintendent of Schools. He served in this post for thirteen years (1923-1936) and is also listed by the Georgia Register as serving a term on the county board of education. King was later elected as the Mayor of his hometown of Cusseta, but no available source mentions when he was elected or how long he served!

                   Geronimo W. King's name appeared on this roster of Georgia State Senators in 1952.

   Geronimo King's main reason for inclusion here on the site (other than his highly unusual name) is his service in the Georgia Legislature. He was elected to the State House of Representatives from Chattahoochee County in 1948 and took his seat at the beginning of the following year. His term in the House concluded in 1951 and later that year he began a term in the State Senate. 
   Little else could be found on King's life after his service in the legislature, although it is known that he served an eleven-year term (1953-1964) as Chattahoochee County School Superintendent. Geronimo W. King died shortly before his 80th birthday on September 23, 1964, in his hometown of Cusseta. His wife Martha survived him by twenty years, dying in December 1984 at age 89. Both were subsequently buried in the Mount Olive Cemetery in Cusseta. The rare portrait of Geronimo Way King shown above was discovered in the earlier mentioned 1951-52 Georgia Official and Statistical Register. This useful book offered up a good majority of the information in his article here, and its brief mention of him stands as the only available "biographical" resource I could find!

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