Jefferson County Online
Transcribed by Deborah Brownfield-Stanley From
Jefferson County Records, Vol. 3,
by Orville and Mary Prill.

Published by W. G. Heaton, Fairfield, Iowa.  1917

(From Brink’s History of Madison Co., Ill.)

Thomas GILLHAM, the first of the family to come to America, was a native of Ireland.  He settled in Virginia about the year 1730, and afterward moved to South Carolina.  He had eleven children…..

2-Ezekiel GILLHAM, the oldest son of the original Thomas GILLHAM, married in Virginia, and moved to what is now Oglethorpe County, Georgia…


Charles GILLHAM, son of Ezekiel GILLHAM of Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and grandson of the original Thomas, was married to Jane Finley in Georgia, soon after the close of the Revolutionary War.  In 1802 or 1803 he moved with several small children to Illinois, where other children were born.  About 1838, he moved to Round Prairie Township, Jefferson County, Iowa, apparently with his younger son, J. Newton, with whom he and his wife resided on a farm just south of Glasgow, until his death about 1844 or 1845.  His wife survived him many years and both are buried in the * Gillmore grave yard, about a mile east of Glasgow.

Their eight children were named Lucretia, Lucinda, Clarinda, Clement, Sarah, Ezekiel Johnson, Thomas Cunningham and J. Newton.

Ezekiel Johnson GILLHAM was born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, January 14th, 1801, and moved with his parents a year of two later to Illinois.  September 27, 1821, he was married to Nancy HART, a native of Kentucky.  They lived in Sangamon County, until September, 1838, when they moved to Jefferson County, Iowa, and settled in Section 27, Twp. 71 N. of R. 8W.  Here he built the first frame house in the county.  His home was a center among the early settlers where school was kept and church services held, before church and school buildings were erected.  He was a devout member of the M. E. church and served as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the county from 1841 to 1843.

His four daughters, all born in Illinois, were Leanah Jane, Martha Ann, Elizabeth Mary and Margaret Lucretia; Martha Ann GILLHAM married Henry WEBB, a native of Leicester, England, January 1st, 1846.  The only child of this marriage was James Johnson WEBB, who married Margaret HASKET, Feb. 4, 1870, later moved to Republic County, Kansas, and now lives at Petaluma, California.

Margaret Lucretia GILLHAM married Captain George HEATON of the Second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, at Fairfield, April 11, 1864.  Their children were Wilson GILLHAM, Mary, Elizabeth Winifred and Abigail H.  Elizabeth W. Heaton married Lieutenant Harry E. WHITNEY of the First U. S. Infantry, at Huntsville, Ala., in December 1898.  Lieut. WHITNEY went with his regiment to Cuba, a few days later, and died at Cienfuegos, May 13th, 1899.

Ezekiel Johnson GILLHAM died February 4, 1867, and was buried in *Gillmore’s grave yard, where already reposed the remains of his wife, parents and three older daughters.  His son-in-law, Captain George HEATON, died in a hospital in Chicago, February 26, 1901.  He was buried at Fairfield, Iowa.

John Newton GILLHAM, younger brother of Ezekiel Johnson GILLHAM, was married to Elizabeth ROBERTS in Illinois, and moved to Jefferson County, Iowa with several small children prior to 1840.  He lived on a farm just south of Glasgow about 20 years, when he moved to Decatur County, settling on a farm near Leon.  His children were Nancy, who married Smith WHITTAKER; Sarah Jane, who married in Illinois; Henry; William FINLEY; John Benjamin; Charles Albert, who died in Colorado; Calvet Cameron and Lycurgus, who died while soldier in the Union army; and Mary Margaret, who was born near Glasgow, March 27, 1848.  Mary Margaret GILLHAM married Ezekiel J. SANKEY of Leon, May 6, 1866, and was the mother of ten children.  She died March 27, 1907.

In 1840 another son of Charles GILLHAM, Thomas Cunningham GILLHAM, moved from Illinois to Iowa and settled on a farm near his brother Newton’s home.  He married Eliza Kirkpatrick in Illinois and had several children when he came to Iowa.  The names of his children were Margaret, Calvet Addison, Charles Albert, Campbell, John, William Madison, Thomas Henry, Marquis Leroy and Ursula Jane, who were twins and Alna Ann and Melissa.

Calvet A. was twelve years old when his parents moved to Iowa.  He went across the plains of California in 1849 and afterward returned to Iowa and married Miss Almeda HOWELL.  He soon returned to California and later moved to Oregon, where his three sons were born.  They are Thomas of Turlock, Cal., Dr. George GILLHAM of Townsend, Mont., and Calvet Addison, Jr., of Dale, Oregon.

Charles Albert GILHAM married Martha HALL of Glasgow and moved to Leon, Iowa, where his son, Lewis, now resides.  His daughter, Mrs. Emma MILLER, and son, Frank live in Bedford, Iowa.

William Madison GILLHAM married Jane BARTON in Jefferson County, and shortly afterward moved to Dallas County.  A few years before his death, he moved to Oregon.  His oldest son, Harry E. GILLHAM, now lives at Seattle.

John GILLHAM was married in the west and raised a family there.  Ursula Jane married Leroy RUSSEL, and was the mother of five daughters.  She and her husband both died in Jefferson County.

The GILLHAM’S in Iowa are not now numerous.  Many of them have emigrated to the new states further west.  The whole family seems to have been a race of pioneers. And has done its share toward winning the wilderness to civilization, and building up the nation we now see in this land.

*Gillmore grave yard, or Gilmer graveyard?

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