Dr. George Benson KUYKENDALL, one of the foremost physicians of eastern Washington, practicing at Pomeroy, ws born near Terre Haute, Indiana, January 22, 1843, a son of John and Malinda (STARK) KUYKENDALL. The early family history is found in New York Dutch Church or Dutch Reformed Baptismal records and in the county records of New York county. The family comes of Holland Dutch ancestry, the home being originally near Wageningen, in the Gelderland province, from which came the ancestors of Theodore ROOSEVELT. The first of the name in America was Jacob Luursen VAN KUYKENDAEL, who came to America on the ship de Princess from Holland in 1646 and landed at New Amsterdam, now New York. The VAN in the family name was retained until about 1730. The ancestors were with the Van Rensselaer colony at old Fort Orange and afterward removed to Esopus, New York. Later the sons and daughters of that generation went to the Minisink region, on the Deleware, about 1700, and subseuqently the branch of the family of which Dr. KUYKENDALL is a representative was founded in Virginia between 1743 and 1748, probably in the latter year. His mother came from the same ancestry as General John STARK of Revolutionary war fame, and their progenitors were originally from near Essen, Germany.
The father of Dr. KUYKENDALL, who was a mechanic, removed westward with his family when his son George was three years of age, residing in Wisconsin until 1852, when he crossed the plains to the Pacific slope. That ws the memorable year of the cholera, smallpox and pestilence and they were delayed en route by illness and many difficulties. They found themselves far back in the rear part of the emigration. Their days were full of toil and anxiety and their nights were spent much of the time in vigils over the sick and dying or in warding against the prowling savages of the plains. When their train reached Snake river, their stock were almost famished and they crossed the river in the hope of finding better grass. From there they made their way over country never before traversed by wagons. At the crossing of the river the father became ill with mountain fever and a little daughter had already suffered from measles and was apparently growing worse. For weeks these helpless ones were dragged over the sagebrush and sand plains of southern Idaho in a rough emigrant wagon. Finally, when nearlly all the stock had died, they abandoned their wagon and the few household goods they could carry were put into the wagon belonging to a brother who was traveling in the same company. After almost incredible hardships and discouragements they reached The Dalles, Oregon, where they shipped their wagon and the household goods that remained upon an open barge and started to float down the Columbia. The father was still ill and the little sister at the point of death. That night the barge tied up on the Oregon side of the river and during the hours of darkness the mother kept tearful watch over the sick and wasted form of the father and her dying little girl, who about midnight passed away. Early in the morning a rude, improvised pine box was made ready and the little one was buried on the banks of Columbia, where the trade winds sweeping up from the ocean and the murmur of the river's flow are her eternal requiem. The pressing demands of the hour would not permit them to linger over the grave, but all had to press on, for they were far from their homeland and had no home or shelter for the coming winter. They reached the Cascades, passed over the portage and took a boat below, reaching the banks of the Willamette, where East Portland now stands, on the 19th of October, 1852.
The family spent their first winter at Milwaukee, above Portland, and in the fall of 1853 went to southern Oregon, locating near Roseburg. At a very early age Dr. KUYKENDALL manifested a taste for reading, which was encouraged by his father, who also found great delight in books. Dr. KUYKENDALL read with pleasure works on travel and discovery, exploration, history, biography and whatever he could find and as he approached manhood became very fond of metaphysical reading, delighting in poring over such writings as KANT, ABERCROMBIE, DUGALD, STEWART and also reading works on mental philosophy. All this time he was pursuing the advanced studies of an academic and collegiate course and later took up the study of materia medica and medicine. About that time his father had a dangerous illness and reached the point where the attending physicians gave up the case. Dr. KUYKENDALL was not willing that his father should die, however, and said to the family: "We will go on and try still further-he may yet recover." This was before the son had become a student in medical college. He devoted himself assiduously to the study of his father's symptoms, scarcely leaving the bedside to eat or sleep for a week. The father recovered and enjoyed many years of later usefulness. The attending physicians, recognizing what the young son had accomplished, said: "Young man, it is clear what you ought to do in life. You should study and practice medicine. " A few years later, therefore, George Benson KUYKENDALL became a student in Willamette University and was graduated at the head of the his class, in the medical department, and at once entered upon active medical practice. Within a few months he was appointed to the position of government physician at Fort Simcoe, Washington, where he enjoyed a large practice in addition to the government work. He there took up the special study of microscopy and chemical research, particularly as related to toxicology and medical jurisprudenced. He also did much work in Micro-photography to aid in differentiation of tissues, cells and blood corpuscles and while thus engaged he made a fine collection of mounted specimens, both physiological and pathological. While at Fort Simcoe he was requested by Professor J. W. POWELL of the Smithsonian Institute of Washington, D.C., to make a study of the ethnology of the native Indians of the Pacific northwest-a line which he followed up as his time would permit. He collected many traditions, myths, ancient laws and customs of the Indian tribes and wrote an account of these for preservation. In this work all traditions and myths were obtained at first hand from the Indians themselves. Later he wrote a series of papers on the subject for the The West Shore, a magazine then published in Portland, Oregon. After ten years with the government at Fort Simcoe, the Doctor found his family growing and needing better facilities for education and social culture and accordingly resigned his position and located at Pomeroy, Washington. It was in 1868 that Dr. KUYKENDALL married Miss E.J. BUTLER, a daughter of Judge Benjamin BUTLER, of Douglas county, Oregon, who later removed to Pomeroy, where he was judge of probate for many years. The Doctor has an interesting and intelligent family of five sons and three daughters. In his marriage he was peculiarly fortunate. Mrs. KUYKENDALL being a lady of marked intelligence and practical good judgment. His eldest son, Chester Ernest, is a druggist and dealer in books, musical intruments and fancy holiday goods. He is a popular man who for years in educational work, being a member of the board of directors of the Pomeroy high school and also mayor of the city. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church and has been church organist for years. Elgin Victor, the next son, is a prominent attorney and was elected to the state senate from the counties of Garfield, Columbia and Asotin by a large majority. George Vivian, the third son, is chief operator in the offices of the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company. William B. is engaged in the real estate and insurance business and is now reading law preparatory to practice. Hubert John is in the drug store with his brother Chester. All these sons are married and with the exception of George all are residents of Pomeroy. Minnie Pearl and Grace Orlean are the elder daughters. The former is the wife of R.B.SPENCER, of Hermiston, Oregon, and the younger is the wife of G.C. START, of Sunnyside, Washington. Both have decided talent for painting and Mrs. SPENCER taught oil Painting in Pomeroy for years. The youngest daughter, Bessie, is at home with her parents.
Dr. KUYKENDALL has had an extensive acquaintance among the prominent pioneer settlers of Oregon, including Rev. J.H. WILBUR, pioneer missionary minister. Hon. Binger HERMAN, Judge J.F. WATSON, E.B.WATSON and P.L. WILLIS, who were early friends in southern Oregon, Judge M.P.DEADY and General Joseph LANE, Delazon SMITH, Colonel HOOKER, Governor CHADWICK and others. In addition to his professional attainments Dr. KUYKENDALL has an enviable reputation as a writer. He has written much for the press and has always been very industrious in gathering up material for use in future writings. He has completed a history of the KUYKENDALL family for the past three hundred years, the family being of the old Knickerbocker stock of New York and New Jersey, whence they have gone as pioneers across the country from the Alantic to the Pacific. The family has been represented in every war of note since early colonial days. Dr. KUYKENDALL has retired from the active practice of medicine and spends his leisure in reading and writing. He has a collection of data pertaining to Indian mythology, ethnology and customs which he hopes yet to be able to publish besides other matter written during the passing years.
Dr. KUYKENDALL has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church for many years, actively connected with its social and moral endeavors for the benefit of the community. He has always made it a point to support every movement for the good of the community with his money as well as with his personal aid. He has been too busy to give much attention to money making but has prospered sufficiently to have gained a good competence. His father was liberal to a fault and when he gave, as the Doctor thought, too liberally of his means the Doctor alwasy helped me out. The latter has always been glad to remember this generosity of his father and has been stimulated by his example to think more of "the other fellow." Since its organization he has been a member of the Garfield County Pioneer Association and for some years has been its secretary. He is a member of the Oregon Historical Society and the Holland Society of New York city. To belong to this society one must be able to show documentary evidence of having come from an ancestor born of a forefather who came from Holland to America before 1675.
Source: Book: Lymans HISTORY of OLD WALLA WALLA, COLUMBIA, GARFIELD, and Asotin Counties. by. W.D. LYMAN, M.A., Lit.D Illustrated Volume 1 Chicago, The S.J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1918 Pages 551-554