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Posted By: Debbie Gerischer (email)
Date: 7/2/2005 at 18:18:36


Standing in the front rank of the active business men and influential citizens of Jefferson, Greene county, is Ross L. Gilliland, who has long been engaged in the abstract business here, continuing the business which his father had entered forty-seven years ago. This has long been regarded as the leading abstract office of the county, and throughout his connection with the enterprise Mr. Gilliland has been looked upon as absolutely reliable and conscientious in his work, while in the domain of private citizenship he has performed his full part.

Mr. Gilliland is a native of the town in which he now lives and was born on the 15th of December, 1886. He is a son of Alvan S. and Louisa (Rhinehart) Gilliland and a grandson of Stephen W. and Ruhamah (Harmon) Gilliland. His grandparents were natives respectively of Brown county Ohio, and Randolph county, North Carolina, he being of Scottish descent on the paternal side. Stephen Gilliland was a blacksmith and later became a farmer. In 1852 he came to Iowa, locating in Greene county in 1857, where he followed farming until his retirement, when he located at Rippey, where he died at the age of eighty-five years. He was twice married and to his second union, which was with Ruhamah Harmon, were born seven children, of which number Alvan S. was the firstborn.

Alvan S. Gilliland received a district school education and then engaged in farming on his own account in Washington township, Greene county. Two years later he moved to Jefferson, where he served three years as assistant postmaster. He took an active part in public affairs, and was elected county treasurer, serving six years. In August, 1880, he bought an interest in an abstract business, with which he was identified up to the time of his death, which occurred November 4, 1916. In 1870 he was married to Miss Louisa E. Rhinehart, daughter of Elhanan and Margaret (Corey) Rhinehart. She was a native of Champaign county, Illinois, but was reared from childhood in Greene county, Iowa. They became the parents of seven children, as follows: Nellie, the wife of W. W. Barclay; Chalmer, who was a soldier in the Spanish-American war and died in the Philippine islands; George, of Chicago; Pearl; Alice; Lawrence, deceased; and Ross L., the immediate subject of this sketch. The mother of these children died April 22, 1920.

Ross L. Gilliland received his education in the public schools of Jefferson, and from his boyhood he was associated with his father in the latter's abstract office, with the details of which he early became familiar. At his father's death, in 1916, he took over the business and is still successfully conducting it. He is exact and methodical in all that he does and takes a justifiable pride in maintaining the splendid reputation for efficiency and dependability that was so well established by his father. Mr. Gilliland is a veteran of the World war, having enlisted in July, 1918, and was sent overseas with Company A, Three Hundred and Fifty-ninth Regiment, United States Infantry, which became a part of the Ninetieth Division. Following the signing of the armistice he was sent to Germany with the Army of Occupation and was stationed in the Moselle valley, where he remained until May, 1919. He was honorably discharged at Camp Dodge June 16, 1919, and at once returned to his office in Jefferson, which had been adequately looked after by his employes during his absence.

Mr. Gilliland is a member of Morning Star Lodge, No. 159, A. F. & A. M.; Cornerstone Chapter, No. 64, R. A. M.; Cryptic Council, No. 38, R. & S. M.' Emmaus Commandery, No. 35, K. T.; and De Molay Consistory, No. 1, A. A. S. R., and is a life member of Perry (Iowa) Lodge, No. 417, B. P. O. E. While advancing his individual interests, he has never lost sight of his obligations to the community and has wholeheartedly supported every movement or enterprise which has had for its object the advancement of the city along material, civic or moral lines. For these reasons, as well as for his friendly manner, he is held in the very highest esteem by all who know him, being regarded as one of the representative men of his community.

-transcribed by Debbie Gerischer

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