WILLIAM H. GILBERT, a prominent farmer of Pope County, Ill., who has resided on his present farm of three hundred and twenty acres on section 4, township 12, range 6, for nineteen years, was born in 1840, near where he now lives. His father, James Gilbert, was born in Kentucky May 8, 1803, where he was a farmer, as was also his father before him. He married Minerva Rose, of Hardin County, this State, daughter of Elbert and Sarah (Hobbs) Rose, of Virginia.
The paternal grandfather of our subject died in Kentucky, and the grandmother then removed to Indiana, where she died, having reared four sons and two daughters, of whom James was the second son and child. When a young man James Gilbert came to Illinois, and was married March 30, 1830, to Minerva Rose, who was born in 1811. He left home when quite a youth, but upon the death of his father returned to Kentucky and removed his mother to Indiana, where his elder brother, Richard, lived. After the death of his mother he brought two sisters and a brother from Indiana to Pope County. After his marriage he removed to Hardin County, Ill., and lived there for one year, and in the spring of 1832 he removed to a farm near the present farm of the subject of this sketch, and here bought a settler's claim and moved into the little log cabin already erected. Here he and his wife lived permanently, he clearing up the farm and succeeding by hard work in making a good home. When he began life on this place he had but little or no cash capital, but before his death he owned several farms, the home farm containing some four hundred acres of land. He and his wife had eleven children, live sons and six daughters, all but one of whom grew to mature years. They were Louisa, who married William Jackson and died at the age of fifty-five, leaving two daughters; E. R., who died in Missouri in the prime of life, leaving one daughter; Martha A., who married Jonathan Fulkerson and is now deceased; James R., who died when a young man; Sarah, who died at sixteen; William H.; Aaron T., who died at the old home, leaving two sons; Elizbeth, wife of John G. Anderson, a farmer and merchant of the vicinity; Minerva, who married A. P. Holioway and died leaving one daughter; Elmina, wife of J. G. Whiteside; and John R., who died when eight years old.
William H. Gilbert was reared on the farm to habits of industry. His early education was received first in the subscription schools and later in the free schools, as the change from the one system to the other was made in this country when he was a boy. The subscription schoolhouse was the typical primitive school building of that early day, with its puncheon floor, the writing desk a shelf on pins driven into the wall, and the windows mere apertures or openings without glass. The fireplace was at one end of the building and the chimney was of clay or sticks. Here our subject learned the rudiments of an English education, that is, reading, writing and arithmetic, fairly well. He left home and was married at the age of twenty-three years to Margaret King, daughter of A. N. and Parraelia (S. Barger) King, early settlers of Pope County. Mrs. Gilbert was born in this county in 1842, and after her union with our subject settled on the old homestead and there lived five years, at which time they bought a farm of one hundred and ten acres near by, on which they lived four years, and then sold and bought two hundred acres, a part of their present farm, for $7.50 per acre. He has always carried on general farming, raising more corn than wheat, oats or hay. He sometimes raises as high as fifteen hundred bushels of corn and five hundred of wheat. He keeps all kinds of stock for his own use.
In politics Mr. Gilbert is a Republican, and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They have buried two sons and one daughter. James A. and John T. died of membranous croup; they were aged six and four years respectively. Prudy died when seven months old. They have eight children living, three sons and five daughters, viz: Ella, widow of George Jackson, who is living near by and has one son; Elbert W., a single man at home; Almeda, wife of C. S. Terry, a neighboring farmer, who has one son and two daughters; Henry, a young man; Ada, a young lady; Parmela. fourteen years of age, Minerva, twelve, and William R.. a lad of ten, all at home and in school. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert are determined that their children shall have at least the best of opportunities within their reach for securing an education, and if there is any shortcoming it will not be their fault. They are kind and indulgent parents, agreeable acquaintances and warm friends, who are esteemed by all who have the good fortune to know them.
Extracted from Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, published in 1893, page 482
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