JOHN GILMORE, whose varied activities in Benton county have placed him in-the ranks of its most useful and enterprising citizens, has been a resident of the county since the close of the Civil war, in which he was a soldier. He deserves a special prominence in the history of the state and county for what he has done in the breeding of fine stock. His pioneer work in this direction has been a contributing cause to Iowa's present eminence among states as a producer of the finest American stock. In other departments of citizenship an enterprise his individuality has impressed itself on the life and affairs of the county.
Mr. Gilmore is a descendant of Scotch-Irish Covenanters, and was born in the extreme north of Ireland, February 2, 1834. His parents were John and Mary (McCandless) Gilmore, both natives of Scotland, and his father was a stock farmer. This was one of the old families of Scotland and Ireland, with an estate which had been under one name for generations, and its coat of arms was the design of a cleaver with the inscription, "Perseverance will succeed." The senior John Gilmore was first married to Eliza Henry, and their six children are all deceased. By his marriage with Mary McCandless there were seven children, of whom there are four living, John being the youngest, and the others are: Alexander, a bachelor aged eighty-five, for many years a successful business man and still a resident of Victoria, B. C.; James, who now lives on the old homestead in the north of Ireland, spent a number of years in America and served in an Ohio regiment during the Civil war; and Henry, who served in a Pennsylvania regiment during the war, later was a farmer in Benton county some years, and then went west and became successful and is now a resident of California.
Mr. Gilmore was sixteen years old when he emigrated from Ireland to America. He had been educated by private tutor. He was practically without funds when he located in Philadelphia in April, 1850, and he there learned the carpenter's trade. From employment at the trade he engaged in the lumber business, and was in that line at Cincinnati, Ohio, for some years. During his residence there the Civil war came on, and in 1863 he enlisted in Company I, 167th Ohio Infantry, and served till the winter of 1864-65, without serious injury. At the close of the war he was engaged in the lumber business at Janesville, Wisconsin, for a short time, and in the fall of 1865 established himself in Vinton. In the following year he commenced the lumber business here and continued the business at Vinton for six years.
From the lumber business Mr. Gilmore became identified with farming and stock raising in this county. From the beginning his attention was specialized in fine stock, and for twenty-six years his stock was among the exhibits at the state fairs and won many prizes. He has the distinction of having called the first convention of fine stock-breeders in the state of Iowa. His farm close to Vinton, on which he resided for thirty years, was a model and an inspiration for progress of Benton county agriculture. He has since sold his farm, and for the past ten years has been secretary of the Eden Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.
At Vinton he has been an active and progressive citizen. He helped secure the city charter and was one of the first alderman under its provisions. He has taken some part in Republican politics, and is a member of P. M. Coder Post No. 98, G. A. R.
Mr. Gilmore married in this county Miss Elizabeth A. Geddes. She is of the well known family of that name. Her father, Alexander, was an officer in the English army, as were some of her uncles. Of her brothers, five served as officers in the American Civil war, and one was the late General James L. Geddes, who was a colonel of the Eighth Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore became the parents of six children, two of them now deceased. Henry N., a pharmacist, is a member of the drug firm of Gilmore & Ullom of Vinton, and has one son; Mary E. is the wife of J. H. Stephenson, of St. Paul; Jessie L. is at home; and Robert Alexander, who took first honors in the Vinton public schools, graduated at the age of twenty from the University of Iowa with the class of 1909. The other two children were William and Wilhelmina Lorain, who both died young. In 1910 Mr. Gilmore retired and left Vinton, moving to Port Angeles, Washington, where he expects to make his home.