GEORGE CAMPBELL PEERY was born in Cedar Bluff, Virginia. After receiving a bachelor of science degree from Emory and Henry College, he was the principal of Tazewell (Virginia) High School for two years. He went on to receive a law degree from Washington and Lee University and joined the legal department of the Virginia Iron, Coal & Coke Company in 1899. He moved to Wise, Virginia and lived there for thirteen years before returning to Tazewell, where he continued the practice of law. He was also an officer and director of a number of private companies in the state. He served as local food administrator for Tazewell County during World War I. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions of 1920 and 1924 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1923 to 1929. He was appointed to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, serving from 1929 to 1933, when he was elected governor. Serving as governor during the Depression, Peery oversaw the administration of relief grants to impoverished communities. He also established the trial justice system in Virginia and appointed the original three members of the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the first three members of the State Milk Commission, and the first members of the Unemployment Compensation Commission. He retired to his livestock farm near Tazewell.
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