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Reuben H. Gill

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Reuben H. Gill

Huntington County volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 24 May 2001 6:00AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 Jun 2001 9:50AM GMT
Surnames: Gill, Herndon
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 566-568

To rescue from fading tradition the personal annals of the pioneers of our country is a pleasing but laborious task; not so laborious, perhaps, as perplexing by reason of memoirs from which many impressions of the early days have long since faded. But to meet and converse with the few now living--those who came in the lusty days of youth or young manhood and womanhood now fast approaching or have passed the allotted three-score-and-ten, bent with age, venerable, white-haired patriarchs and their companions through life with heads also covered with the frost of years--is certainly a fitting and inspiring theme for any pen. To gather up the broken threads of strange yet simple stories of individual lives to catch the fleeting traditions and fireside histories and hand them down to posterity is a laudable ambition worthy of encouragement on the part of every man interested in his community. Such a pioneer and such a man is Reuben H. Gill who for nearly sixty years has lived, toiled and at times suffered in carving a home in the wilderness of Huntington county and borne nobly his part in developing the country and making it what it is to-day--one of the most enlightened and prosperous sections in the northern part of our beautiful state.

Mr. Gill was born January 9, 1817, in Bracken county Kentucky, and there grew to man's estate, a sturdy, industious son of the soil. Reared a farmer, he early chose that useful and honorable vocation for his life work, and after plowing, sowing and reaping with but indifferent success for many years determined to better his condition by removing to a country where land was cheap and opportuntiy (sic) more inviting. In 1842 he started on a horseback trip to Indiana, having heard that the northern part of that state, then comparatively unsettled, afforded advantages to a young man for obtaining a home on easy terms. After meeting with many adventures and encountering numerous obstacles he reached the county of Huntington, and, being pleased with the country, purchased eighty acres of woodland in what is now Clear Creek township. On this he at once went to work and soon had prepared a shelter in the shape of a diminutive log hut, and then proceeded to clear a small area which he planted in corn, beans and a few potatoes which he purchased from a neighboring settler. After cultivating his little crop a couple of months and placing around the "patch" a fence to keep away the numerous wild deer and other wild animals infesting the country, he returned to Kentucky to prepare his family for their journey to the new home in the depths of an Indiana forest. In the following September this was successfully accomplished by means of a wagon and team hired for the purpose, but it was only after almost incredible hardships that their destination was finally reached. Mr. Gill at the time owned a single horse and two yearling steers, while all of his household effects and farming utensils were easily loaded upon the wagon and there was some room to spare. When his two steers became a little older, they were trained to the yoke, and with their aid our pioneer farmer broke in summer the ground cleared during the previous winter, while they also afforded him the means of such locomotion as was necessary.

The story of Mr. Gill's experience in clearing and developing a farm from the dense woods of Huntington county is similar to that of all other pioneers who were in the van of civilization moving westward, and need not be detailed in this connection. Suffice it to state, however, that after years of arduous toil and hardship, such as few now living have ever experienced, the forest monarchs were removed, the ground prepared for the plow and its productiveness greatly enhanced by a system of drainage for which Indiana is noted. A beautiful home supplied with all the comforts of life is where the sturdy old veteran is now peacefully passing the remainder of his earthly sojourn, and his closing years are peaceful and prosperous.

In the early days Mr. Gill was employed from time to time surveying and laying out lands for the early settlers, and to him is also due the credit of organizing the first school ever taught within the present bounds of Clear Creek township. He served as township trustee for a period of fourteen consecutive years, discharging the duties thereof faithfully and efficiently, and he was further honored by being elected assessor, which office he filled two terms. He has always taken an active interest in political matters, and is proud of the fact that he cast his first presidential ballot for William Henry Harrison. He continued a supporter of the Whig party until its dissolution and since has been an ardent Republican, though generally voting in local elections for the candidates best qualified.

In his business affairs Mr. Gill has been successful to a gratifying degree, having cleared and otherwise improved a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres, ninety of which are under cultivation, and he is now surrounded with a sufficiency of this world's goods to make his remaining years comfortable and beyond want. Many years ago he united with the Christian or Disciples church, and is still an active member, as is also his wife. The first services of the local congregation to which he belongs were held in a little log school-house not far from his place of residence and he has continued to look after its interests ever since, at the present time being one of the leading workers in what has become one of the most flourishing religious societies in Huntington county.

Mr. Gill's marriage was solemnized in Bracken county, Kentucky, December 3, 1840, with Miss Martha Herndon, who was born in Campbell county, Kentucky, on the 14th day of January, 1822. A family of twelve children has blessed this union, viz: William F., a farmer of Clear Creek township; Susan, deceased; John S., who resides in the city of Huntington; Sarah, who lives in Colorado; Elias H. farms the home place; Laura lives in Clear Creek; Letetia, deceased; Axalona, also of this township; Joseph M., deceased; James E. deceased; Martha, who resides in Michigan; and Dessie, whose home is in the township of Clear Creek.

Thus in brief review has been brought to the reader's notice the salient facts in the history of this sturdy old pioneer and substantial citizen whose life has been intimately associated with the rise and growth of Huntington county. His coming here and the inauguration of Clear Creek township are nearly of the same date, and much of its growth and prosperity is due to him. He has been one of its humble laborers yet wisest counselors. A western man in the broad sense of the term, he has realized the wants of the people, and with strong hand and active brain has supplied the demand generously and unsparingly. His life has been an open book, known and read by his many friends and neighbors, who have found therein no blank pages and nothing to offend. And now at a ripe old age, with the sands of life slowly but surely running out, he serves as a link to connect the present with a time long past, and waits with a calm assurance the final summons which will call him from this to a more enlarged sphere of happiness and usefulness.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Huntington County volunteer 24 May 2001 12:00PM GMT 
Don Beck 19 Jul 2001 4:36PM GMT 
Cathy 4 Sep 2001 12:55PM GMT 
Don Beck 4 Sep 2001 1:25PM GMT 
Sharon Gill Vanden Bossche 17 Nov 2001 6:43PM GMT 
Don Beck 21 Dec 2001 3:47PM GMT 
PHall138 27 Aug 2001 9:13AM GMT 
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