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1907 Past and Present Biographies

Gilliland, A. S.

A. S. Gilliland, who since August, 1880, has been engaged in the abstract and real-estate business in Jefferson, has been prominent in public affairs as well as in business circles and that he has made a creditable record in both is indicated by the words of one who knows him well and who is said: "No more honest man ever lived."  Mr. Gilliland is a native of Putnam county, Illinois, his birth having occurred in Granville on the 2d of December, 1846.

His father, Stephen W. Gilliland, was born in Brown county, Ohio, in 1809 and was of Scotch descent.  For many years he followed the blacksmith's trade and after his health failed in the pursuit he became a farmer.  In 1852 he removed to Iowa, settling in Louisa county, and on the 27th of September, 1857, the Gilliland family arrived in Greene county, taking up their abode upon a farm one mile north of the Dallas county line in Washington township.  They were among the earliest settlers of the locality and met here all of the conditions and experiences of pioneer life.  As time passed they overcame the hardship incident to the settlement of the frontier and the work of improvement and development was carried on in the fields until the farm became a valuable property.  Stephen W. Gilliland made his home thereon until his retirement from active business life, when he took up his abode in Rippey, their making his home until his death, which occurred when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-five years,  He was a strong abolitionist and a conductor of the underground railroad.  Mr. Gilliland never flattered in defense of his honest convictions and the same stalwart championship which he gave to the abolition cause was manifest in support of other views which he believed to be right.  He was twice married and two children of the first union are still living: A. P., who resides in Paton; and Mrs. Samantha Childs, whose home is in Grand Junction, Iowa.  For his second wife Mr. Gilliland chose Ruhamah Harmon, who was born in Randolph county, North Carolina and died at the age of seventy-five years while on a visit to her daughter in Nebraska.  In their family were seven children, as follows: A. S., of the review; M. W., who is living at Bagley, Guthrie county, Iowa; Elizabeth, the deceased wife of S. Q., Free, who resided in Nebraska; Mary, the widow of Archibald Heater, living in Nebraska; Willis L., who died at the age of  twelve year; Narcissa, the wife of E. E. Kupfer, a resident of Rippey, Iowa; and Evaline, the wife of Charles Towne, living in Jamaica, this state.

A. S. Gilliland remained with his parents until his marriage in 1870.  The only education he acquired was in a log school house furnished with slab seats and the methods of instruction were somewhat primitive.  His first independent venture in business life was to purchase and improve an eighty-acre farm in Washington township, Greene county.  He engaged in agricultural purists, however, for only two years and then removed to Jefferson, where he accepted a position of deputy postmaster, acting in that capacity for three years.  His prominence in political circles as a stalwart supporter of the republican party led to his election to the office of county treasurer, in which he served capably for six years, discharging every duty with promptness and fidelity.  While in that office he learned something of the abstract business and in August, 1880, he purchased a half interest with G. G. Lawrence in an abstract and real estate office, since which time he has devoted his attention and energies to those lines of activity.  No better estimate of the character and worth of Mr. Gilliland can be given that by quoting from the words of one who has known him long and well and who said: "A. S. Gilliland is the best abstract man in central Iowa.  He has the greatest memory of any man I ever saw and he is the best posted man in Greene county on any subject you may mention.  Though he only had a common-school education, he is almost perfect in petrography and punctuation.  His word can always be relied upon.  For many years a leader in republican ranks, he has more than any other man shaped the politics of Greene county, yet he has never supported men nor measures that he thought were not for the good of the people at large."

In the year 1870 Mr. Gilliland was married to Miss Louisa E. Rhinehart, who was born in Champaign county, Illinois, on the 7th of February, 1859, a daughter of Elhanan and Margaret (Correy) Rhinehart, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Scioto county, Ohio.  Both died at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gilliland, in Jefferson.  A son of the family, William Rhinehart, is now living in Yellowstone Park.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Gilliland have been born seven children.  Nellie, the eldest, is the wife of W. W. Barclay, now residing at Iloilo, in the Philippine Islands, in the employ of the United States Treasury Department.  Mrs. Barclay had charge of the woman's department for the Chicago Tribune for some time and afterward accepted a position in the Treasury Department of Washington, D. C., under Lyman J. Gage, then secretary of the treasury.  It was while living in the capital that she became the wife of Mr. Barclay.  Chalmer, who was a soldier in the Spanish-American war and served in Havana, Cuba, after which he was transferred to the Philippine islands, died there at Fort William McKinley.  George is an electrical worker in Chicago.  Pearl and Alice are at home.  Lawrence died at the age of twelve years.  Ross, who completes the family, is still under the parental roof.

Mr. Gilliland belongs to the Masonic fraternity and in his life exemplifies much of its beneficent spirit.  His wife is a member of the Presbyterian church and they are much esteemed in the community.  Mr. Gilliland has long been prominent in business and political circles and is an influential citizen who has a very extensive circle of friends.

Transcribed from "Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa Together With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Prominent and Leading Citizens and Illustrious Dead," by E. B. Stillman assisted by an Advisory Board consisting of Paul E. Stillman, Gillum S. Toliver, Benjamin F. Osborn, Mahlon Head, P. A. Smith and Lee B. Kinsey, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907, pp. 326-327.
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