Carroll County Biographies

Hugh Gillespie
Washington Township

Hugh Gillespie is one of the practical farmers and stock-raisers of Washington Township, where he owns and occupies on section 11 a splendid farm of 600 acres, particularly well adapted to his business of stockraising, having on it many fine springs and streams. The improvements on this place are all first-class, and have been made by Mr. Gillespie since he first purchased it. He first settled here in 1847, buying 320 acres from the Government, and on that he began his career in this county in a primitive way. Marked success has attended his labors, and today he is the owner of one of the finest farms in the county, which he increased to its present dimensions by subsequent purchases. On first coming to this State he located in Jo Daviess County, living there for six years engaged in the business of smelting, at which he earned enough money to make his first purchase from Uncle Sam. He is a native of the County Monaghan, Ireland, born Sept. 14, 1818 and is of Scotch ancestry. His father, Isaac Gillespie, was a farmer in Ireland, in the county where his son was born. Isaac Gillespie was married there to Jane Boyd, also a native of that county, but of Scotch ancestry. They began their married life together on a farm and there lived until the year 1850, and there all their children were born. One of the sons was a soldier in the British Army and fought in the Crimean War. Of the brother, Robert Gillespie (now deceased), a sketch will be found on another page.

In 1850 the father and mother determined to come to America, whither their son, our subject, had preceded them. On landing they came at once to Carroll County, finding a home with our subject in Washington Township. Here, the father lived until his death, which occurred when he was 70 years old. His wife after his death, went to live with her son John, who is a minister in Canada, and there she died at the age of 65, although she survived her husband several years, having been many years his junior. Both father and mother had been lifelong members of the United Presbyterian Church, and were intelligent, upright and God-fearing people, universally esteemed wherever known.

Our subject was the eldest of his parents children, and had lived in his native county until he had attained the age of 22 years. June 1, 1840, he left home and going to Liverpool, England, took passage on a sailing-vessel for the U.S. and after an unusually quick passage landed at New York City, 25 days later. His destination was Galena, where he arrived a short time afterward. He stayed in Jo Daviess, however, but a comparatively short time, coming to Carroll County, as stated, as soon as he had secured money enough to purchase a farm. He was a single man on coming to this country, but has since been twice married, first in Jo Daviess County (17 May 1847) to Miss Letitia Groves, also a native of Ireland, who came with her parents to America when a young woman. The union was soon cut short by death, the mother passing from earth at the birth of her first child at 20 years of age. Both mother and child were interred in the same grave. She was a bright, intelligent lady, unusually well informed and an active and consistent members of the United Presbyterian Church. Her death took place after our subject had removed to Carroll County.

The second marriage of our subject was celebrated in Jo Daviess County (it was Carroll County - 6 September 1851) , his wife being Mrs. (Eliza) Jane Carothers, born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, March 17, 1827. She is a daughter of John and Martha (Little) Carothers, both of whom died in County Fermanagh, where they were born, and where their entire lives were passed. They were members of the Episcopal Church, and both came of good families, and were regarded as upright and good people. Mrs. Gillespie is the fourth of their family of nine children, five sons and four daughters; and she and her sister, Ann were the only ones to come to the U.S. The latter is now the wife of Andrew Law, a prominent farmer, of Washington Township. Mrs. Gillespie was reared and educated in her native county and was 33 years of age when she emigrated. She also has been twice married, first in the old country to John Carothers, who was of the same name. She came to this country with her first husband and located in Cook County, IL and there her two children were born - John, the youngest, deceased; and Eliza is now the wife of George Mahoot, of Savanna. About 1849, Mr. Carothers went to California in search of gold, taking the overland route. He lived but three weeks after arriving in the Golden State, and was buried somewhere in the mining regions; the exact location of his grave has never been known.

Our subject and his wife are the parents of the the following children; The eldest son, James is married to Flora Mott, and is now living in Harper County KS where he owns a fine farm; Maggie is living with her parents; Robert is married to Ellen Dunlap, and owns a good farm in Platte County, Nebraska on which he now lives; Mamie is the wife of John White a farmer in Grundy County IA; William, who is unmarried, lives with his brother in Nebraska and is also a farmer; Charles is living on a farm of 160 acres deeded to him by his father; Rebecca, Hugh, Jr. and Nettie are still under the parental roof. The children are unusually bright and intelligent and the sons have early displayed great ability in their chosen walks in lfie. Parents and children are all members of the United Presbyterian Church, and the family as a whole is one of the most highly respected in the county. Mr. Gillespie is a Republican in politics and though not in any sense an office-seeker, has for a great many years been Supervisor of the Township an Road Overseer. As one of the old inhabitants of the Township, as well as one of its most upright and conscientious citizens, he will long be remembered.

Portraits & Biographical Carroll County 1889 Pg 828

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