PROFESSOR GEORGE W. COTTON
History of Idaho, Volume 2, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 760
Professor George W. Cotton, superintendent of schools, at Fruitland, Idaho, has been engaged in educational work all this life and is rich in experience having been identified with some of the best schools in various cities. While he only recently became a resident of Idaho, he has been here long enough to satisfy himself that Idaho is a great state with a great future. He believes that this state affords greater variety of opportunities for the enterprising youth than any state in the Union. Situated in the midst of these opportunities, the town of Fruitland is fortunate in having at the head of its schools a broad-minded, experienced man in educational work to direct its boys and girls and fit them for the great opportunities at their door. A review of Professor Cotton's life is of interest in this connection, and, briefly, it is as follows:
George W. Cotton was born at Nashua, Iowa, March 18, 1860, son of Nathaniel Wright and Sarah (Mitchell) Cotton, the former a native of England and the latter of Ohio, of English and German ancestry. About 1838, when a boy of eight years, Nathaniel W. Cotton left his native home on Prince Edward Island and accompanied his parents to America, their settlement being in Ohio. Afterward he went over into the neighboring state of Indiana, where, subsequently, he was married, and from there, in 1857, he moved to Iowa. In all three states he was a frontier farmer. During the Civil war he was a member of the Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, the fortunes of which he shared for over three years; at first in Minnesota, where they were sent to suppress the Indian depredations, and afterward to the seat of war in the South, in the vicinity of Vicksburg, and up the Red river, after Price. On one occasion, while building bridges he sustained injury from a falling log, following which he was for some time in hospital at Vicksburg. He is still living, having passed his eighty-first mile-post, and is now a resident of Iowa City, Iowa. The injuries he sustained during the war shattered in a measure his rugged constitution and proved a drawback to his success, and while ordinarily successful he never became wealthy. He and his wife are the parents of four children, George Wright, the subject of this sketch, being the eldest.
At the early age of nineteen, Professor Cotton, with no other education than that obtained in the common schools, began his career as a teacher. After several years' teaching and studying at home, he entered the Upper Iowa University, where he pursued the classical course, and graduated in 1889. Since then his whole time and attention have been devoted to educational work, except for a time when he was retired on account of ill health. After graduating he began his career as a teacher in a two-room school house at Hancock, Minnesota, and from that humble start he worked his way up until he reached high position. He was principal of the schools of Breckenridge, Minnesota, two years; superintendent of schools at Long Prairie, Minnesota, four years; taught in three state summer schools in Minnesota; was superintendent of schools at Carrington, North Dakota, five years; superintendent of schools at Grangeville, Idaho, three years. From Grangeville he came to Fruitland, where he took charge of the schools in the fall of 1912.
Professor Cotton is a member of the Fruitland Commercial Club, and is a Yeoman and a Knight of Pythias. Politically, he is a Republican, always casting a conscientious vote, but otherwise taking no active part in politics. He is a Methodist, and for years has been a prominent and efficient worker in both church and Sunday school, having filled the office of steward and choirister in the church. In the Sunday school his class has been a popular one.
June 23, 1891, at Breckenridge, Minnesota, George W. Cotton and Miss Lena Bogart were united in marriage, and the fruits of their union are three children: Earl, born November 2, 1892, at Breckenridge, Minnesota; Ellis, born in Long Prairie, Minnesota, October 2, 1896, is deceased; Irene, born in Minneapolis, July 1, 1897. Mrs. Cotton is a daughter of Samuel Bogart, a native of Iowa, of Pennsylvania-Dutch parentage.