Biography - John Gill

JOHN C. GILL, a citizen of Burnside Township, Johnson County, was born in Williamson County, this State, June 14, 1830. His father, Stephen Gill, was born in 1810, in either North Carolina or Tennessee, and his wife, Agnes Damron, was born in 1811 in Tennessee. Stephen Gill’s father, who was Benjamin Gill, was by occupation a farmer, and came to Illinois with his wife, who was formerly Miss Polly Boon, and their three children at a very early day. They were poor people, and came with the old-fashioned two-wheel cart, and settled in Williamson County, where they farmed on land belonging to the Government, to which they never secured a title. The old gentleman died there in the ’40s, at a good old age, and his widow survived him some eight years, and died at a great age. He was of Dutch, and she of Scotch ancestry. He served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and had a. close call, being shot through the ear and picked up for dead. The children of this couple were as follows: Stephen, James and Kitty, now the wife of Philip Upchurch. All are dead except Mrs. Upchurch, who is living at her daughter’s in Saline County, Ill., nearly eighty years of age. Stephen Gill and his wife had nine children, six sons and three daughters, of whom John C. was the eldest. The others were, Polly, Benjamin, Monroe, Stephen, Thompson (who died in infancy), Elizabeth, Sarah Ann and Milton. The father of these children was a blacksmith and a farmer. He died on his own farm in Williamson County early in the ’70s, aged over sixty years. His first wife died in 1851, aged forty years, and he was afterward married to Miss Rebecca Jackson, a native of Kentucky, who is still living. She bore him four children, of whom there are three living.
John C. Gill had but a limited education in his youth, having had to go three miles to a subscription school, paying $1 per month. He grew up on the farm, accustomed to farm labor, and assisted his father somewhat in the blacksmith shop, which occupation he followed until 1886. He enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois Infantry, in August, 1862, under Capt. Whiteaker. He served in the ranks over three years, was in the hospital nine months, and while not wounded, yet he was scarred by bullets twice. He was married September 1, 1850, to Frances Phillips, of Alabama, daughter of Lavern Phillips, who came to Illinois in 1848 or 1849. Mr. and Mrs. Gill began married life on a small improvement left him by his father, which he soon sold, and bought forty acres of wild land, on which he built a small, rough, log house, with puncheon floor, stick and dirt chimney, with no windows, the door being thrown open to let in the light. Within three years he sold this place and went to the Mississippi bottoms a few months, then bought another forty acres, which he sold. He made other changes, and at length bought eighty acres, of which his first forty were a part, and lived on this tract some ten years, when he sold it, and bought seventy-six acres, his present home, in 1879. This land cost him a pair of mules, an old wagon and $300. It had on it a fair log house, which our subject moved up to the road, weather-boarded it, and built to it a frame addition, and this is his home at the present day. He carries on a mixed farming business and raises stock.
Mr. and Mrs. Gill have all their children living, viz.: Rebecca Ann. wife of William Deaton, a farmer near by, who has three sons and two daughters; Lucinda, wife of Harvey Wise, a farmer, who has three sons and two daughters; and Lizzie, a young lady teacher living at home, who is well educated and very successful in her profession. Mr. Gill is a Master Mason, and while a Republican, yet he votes for the candidate of his choice, even though on some other party ticket.

Transcribed 09 Sep 2009 by Vera Burnham from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 430-431.

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