G. P. Burkett, president of the San Jose Transfer Company, in which connection he has been instrumental in developing a business of profitable proportions, was born in Jefferson, North Carolina, in 1856. His father, Daniel Burkett, was a representative of an old German family, and he married Nancy Johnston, who was descended from Scotch ancestry. Their son, G. P. Burkett, was educated in the public schools of his native state, and in 1876, at the age of twenty years, started out in life on his own account. he followed farming in the state of his nativity until 1879, when he removed to Colorado, and there resumed agricultural pursuits, but through two years his crops were ruined by drought and he sold his land. He removed to Pueblo, Colorado, in 1881, and entered the employ of the Fisher Brothers Transfer Company, with whom he remained until 1883, when he came to California.
Locating in Santa Cruz, Mr. Burkett accepted a position with the Daniels Transfer Company, and after a couple of years was made foreman, acting in that capacity until 1889, when he came to San Jose. Here is connect with S. F. Mikel he purchased the business of the San Jose Transfer Company, its equipment then consisting of three horses and three wagons. Soon the number was increased and the company now has about fifty horses and twenty-five carriages and wagons. The office was formerly located at No. 25 West Santa Clara street, and is now at No. 62 East Santa Clara street. In 1891 the company established a store house in a one-story building, thirty by sixty feet. The present storage comprises two buildings, one of brick and the other of iron. Each is forty by one hundred feet, and two stories in height. The old storage has been converted into a barn. In 1891 the transfer business was incorporated for twenty thousand dollars, with G. P. Burkett as president and manager, and Mr. Bennett as treasurer, the latter having purchased Mr. Mikel’s interest in 1890. W. F. Lillick is secretary and the stock is principally owned by Mr. Burkett, Mr. Bennett and C. H. Nash.
In 1876 Mr. Burkett was united in marriage to Miss Isabel Mikel, a native of North Carolina and a daughter of M. L. Mikel, a large cotton manufacturer whose business was ruined by the exigencies of the Civil war and who afterward removed to California, where he died in 1900. They have two children, Katherine and Edgar, and have also adopted a daughter, Fannie. Mr. Burkett belongs to both the subordinate lodge and encampment of the Odd Fellows society and to the Foresters of America. He is a self-made man, who in his business career has depended entirely upon his own resources and gained the success which he is now enjoying as the reward of earnest and persistent effort.
Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.