As a lawyer and public official, G. Gale Gilbert, of Mount Vernon, ranks with the distinguished citizens of Jefferson county and occupies a conspicuous place among the leading men of his pro fession in Southern Illinois. No other resident of the community is more actively identified with its development and progress and none has so indelibly impressed his personality upon the city of his residence or exercised a stronger influence in directing enterprises which tend to the advancement of its business interests. The Gilbert family is among the oldest in this part of the state, its history and the history of Jefferson county, being very closely interwoven ever since the pioneer period. The first of the name of which anything definite is known, appears to have been one Eli Gilbert, a native of Maine and a representative of one of the old English families of that commonwealth. He migrated to Ohio many years ago, in which state his son, Philo Gilbert, grandfather of the subject, was born and reared. Shortly aftei Southern Illinois was opened for settlement, Philo Gilbert moved to Jefferson county, purchased a tract of govemment land in what is now McClellan township and in due time developed a good farm and became one of the leading citizens of the community. He was among the first settlers of the above township, took an active part in opening the county's resources and as an enterprising man of affairs, wedded a wide influence and was universally respected. Among his children was a son by the name of James Eli Gilbert, whose birth occurred on the family homestead in McClellan township and who also became a tiller of the soil and a citizen of much more than average intelligence and influence. A successful farmer and stock raiser, he was also an active participant in public affairs, having served the people of his township in various official positions, including among others that of School Treasurer and Tax Collector and some time in the "eighties" he was the Republican nominee for County Treasurer, but failed of election by reason of the overwhelming strength of the opposition. He was a man of strong character, honorable in all of his dealings and was always held in the highest esteem by his neighbors and fellow citizens. He spent his entire life near the place of his birth and was called from earth August 28, 1889. 

Susan Ford, wife of James E. Gilbert, was born in Jefferson county, Illinois, and departed this life in the year 1880. Her father, Solomon Ford, a native of North Carolina, moved his family to Jefferson county in an early day and here spent the remainder of his life, living to an advanced age. The reputation of his family is second to that of no other in the county. James E. and Susan Gilbert were the parents of five children, the subject of this sketch being the oldest of the family. The others are: Mrs. Eunice S. Louth, of Mount Vernon; John P. Gilbert, a professor in the State University at Urbana; Mrs. Hattie C. Schaffer, of Princeton, Indiana; and Menzis E. Gilbert, a druggist, of Jacksonville, this state. Some time after the death of the mother of these children, Mr. Gilbert married Emily A. Gillett, of Saline county, Illinois, who bore him three children, namely: Arthur, of Centralia, and Mrs. Gertrude Farris and Glen Gilbert, of Mount Vernon. 

G. Gale Gilbert, whose birth occurred in McClellan township La the 27th of November, 1867, spent his early life on the family homestead and while still a lad became familiar with the rugged duties of the faun. Reared under wholesome home influences, he early acquired habits of industry and grew up with a proper appreciation of the dignity of honest toil. At the proper age he attended the public schools of his neighborhood and later took a high school course in Mount Vernon, the discipline thus received being afterwards supplemented by a more thorough training in the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he made commendable progress in his studies and earned an honorable record as a diligent and enterprising student. 

Having decided to make the legal profession his life work, Mr. Gilbert. shortly after finishing his scholastic education, entered the office of N. H. Moss, of Mount Vernon, under whose able in struction he continued until his admission to the bar on May 7, 1891, since which date he has forged rapidly to the front as a capable lawyer and judicious practitioner, being at this time recognized as one of the leading members of his profession in the field to which his talents are principally confined. His career presents a series of continued successes such as few men of his age and experience atpin and during the last ten years, few important cases have been tried in the courts of Jefferson county in which he has not appeared as counsel, besides being interested in a large and growing legal business in neighboring counties. 

Mr. Gilbert has never ceased being a student, and his aim has been to become a good lawyer and stand as near as possible in the very front ranks of his profession. To this end he keeps in close touch with the trend of current legal thought and familiar with the leading authorities, this with his knowledge of the basic principles of jurisprudence and the ability to apply the same to practice, enabling him to cope with the ablest of opposing counsel and in the majority of cases to gain verdicts for his clients. He is careful and methodical in the preparation of legal papers and their presentation to the court are very thorough in the matters of detail as well as in the general principles of his cases, while his ability as an advocate makes him a formidable, though at all times a fair and courteous adversary. 

Mr. Gilbert served from 1905 to 1907 as City Attorney of Mount Vernon and in 1896 was the Republican nominee for Prosecuting Attorney for Jefferson county, but failed of election on ac count of the then normally strong Democratic majority. He is an active and influential politician, a trusted leader of the Republican party in his own and other Southern Illinois counties, besides enjoying a wide acquaintance in political circles throughout the state. In addition to his general practice, he is attorney for various enterprises, among which are the Mount Vernon Car Manufacturing Company, the Third National Bank, of which is also a director, the Citizens Gas, Electric & Heating Company, and the Mount Vernon Loan & Building Association. He is also a director of I. G. Gee & Co. Bank at Waltonville, and sustains a similar relation to the banks of Woodlawn and Kell, his connection with these several interests indicating the confidence which the management repose in his ability and judgment, besides being a compliment to his high standing as 

a faithful and honorable business man. In addition to his successes in his profession and in politics Mr. Gilbert is a capable and prosperous business man. 

In the year 1906 Mr. Gilbert was appointed postmaster of Mount Vernon and has since conducted the office with his characteristic business ability, discharging the duties with credit to him self and to the entire satisfaction of the public. Since taking charge of the office, he has made many changes and introduced a number of reforms and it is now conceded by all with any knowledge of postal affairs as well as by the department, to be one of the most methodical and best managed offices in the state. 

Mr. Gilbert was married in April, 1893, to Miss Catherine Harman, of Jefferson county, daughter of the late John Q. Harman, a former prominent citizen of the county and the first Clerk of the Appellate Court at Mount Vernon. of which position he was the incumbent at the time of his death. Three children have been born to this union, namely: James Harman, Helen May and George Gale, Jr. In his fraternal relations Mr. Gilbert is a member of the Pythian Brotherhood, belonging to Jefferson Lodge, No. 121, and he is also an influential worker in Lodge No. 819, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.  SOURCE: History of Jefferson County, IL By John A. Wall 1909 Submitted by: Misty Flannigan Oct 2002

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