William Gill, a son of one who was a prominent pioneer of Pickaway County, is himself one of its leading farmers, occupying land in Salt Creek Township which has never been out of the family since the patent was obtained from the Government in the early days of the settlement of this part of the State. This pleasant old homestead is his birthplace, and here he first opened his eyes to its primitive surroundings, November 8, 1832.


Capt. William Gill, the father of our subject, was born in Virginia July 8, 1792. He served with credit in the War of 1812, and at its close received a commission as Captain in the United States army, as he had shown especial ability as a leader, having enlisted as Captain of volunteers. He saw hard service in the Northwest, and was sent in charge of prisoners to Chillicothe, which was established as a fort for captives; he was subsequently made Commander of that prison. That was his first introduction to this part of the country, and he was so favorably impressed with it that he determined to settle here, and in 1817 selected Pickaway County for his future home, locating on land in Salt Creek Township. He resided here to within six years of his death, and then went to live with a daughter in Circleville, where he died, January 29, 1861, and thus passed away one of the old landmarks of the county, one who had been honored and reverenced not only as one of the leading pioneers and citizens of his day, but was held in great regard for his spotless character as a man. He was widely known and had many friends. The Captain was, at one time, one of the largest property holders of this section, owning nine hundred and twenty-seven acres of land in Salt Creek Township. He was Justice of the Peace for several years, and was also Associate Justice of the county for a number of years. The mother of our subject was Nancy Winship, and she was born in Berkeley County, W. Va., December 5, 1792, a daughter of the Hon. Win Winship, a native of England, who came to this country soon after the Revolution, and became a prominent merchant in Martinsburg. He also owned a mill there and some land. In 1801, he came to Ohio, and was appointed to fill the office of Register of Lands in the general land office at Chillicothe, under President John Adams. He entered and owned a large tract of land in Ross, Pickaway, Champaign and Madison Counties, and finally located in Pickaway County, where he died in 1812. The mother of our subject died in 1876, in her eighty-fourth year. She was a Presbyterian in her religious views, and was firm in the faith until her death. There were three children in the family, of whom our subject is the youngest. The eldest is Win Winship, now living in Chicago. The second, Martha, who married John T. Jacobs, died in July, 1891.


William Gill was reared on the farm that has always been his own. He obtained the preliminaries of his education in the little brick schoolhouse that was located in his district when he was a boy, and he subsequently attended Mt. Pleasant Academy at Kingston a short time. At the age of twenty-one, he entered upon his successful career as a farmer on the old homestead. He has three hundred acres of excellent land in Salt Creek Township, that is well watered by Scipio Creek, a good part of it being held by patent from the Government and has never been bought or sold. It is historical ground, as here Lord Dunmore, in 1774, then Royal Governor of Virginia, camped on the north bank of Scipio Creek, at the time he was making his celebrated treaty with the Indians, whereby the Northwestern territory was thrown open to the whites for settlement. In plowing the land, silver buttons and bullets, relics of the English lord and his troops, have been uncovered and picked up from the soil in which they had been buried for more than a century.


November 23, 1854, Mr. Gill was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Cushing, a lady of much intelligence and many pleasant attributes, who presides over their atttractive home with true grace, cordially seconding his genial hospitality whenever friend or stranger comes within their gates. Mrs. Gill is a native of Lawrence County, Ky., and, like her husband, she comes of a distinguished ancestry. Her parents were Henry and Margaret (Ferguson) Cushing, natives respectively of Boston, Mass., and Pennsylvania. Her paternal grandfather, Nathaniel Cushing, was born in Boston, coming of the old New England stock, and he was a Colonel in the Continental army during the Revolution, his commission, signed by his old commander. Gen. Washington, being still in possession of his family. He was also one of the famous tea party that threw the tea overboard in Boston Harbor. After the war, Col. Cushing came to Ohio as a member of the Belpre party, and settled there on a farm, which is still in possession of his descendants. He was one of the earliest pioneers of the State, and his bones now rest in its soil. His son Nathaniel died in early life; Henry, father of Mrs. Gill, became a prosperous farmer, and died here in 1861, at the age of eighty-four years; James V. was the second white child born in Ohio, and Mrs. Gill has a fine portrait of him; Thomas died in early life. James was a miller in Zanesville for many years, being in partnership with Alfred Martin. In 1831 he succeeded in cornering the wheat market in New York City. He died in Zanesville, where he had accumulated a fortune. The mother of Mrs. Gill died in 1882, at the age of eighty-four years. Both she and her husband were stanch Presbyterians and active in the church for many years. The latter had served in the War of 1812. They were the parents of four children, and were both of long-lived races, his grandfather living to be nearly a hundred years old. Mr. and Mrs. Gill have six children: Martha, wife of L. C. McPherson, editor of the Massillonian, at Massillon; Annie B., at home with her parents; Mary W., also at home; William H., who is with the John Shelito Dry Goods Co., and is married; Alice, a teacher at Adelphi; and George, at home.


Mr. Gill is a man of much prominence and inIluence in his native county, as he is clear brained, with an intellect steadily poised, possesses accurate judgment, and is sensible and well informed. He takes a deep interest in politics, and keeps himself thoroughly posted in all the ins and outs of political life, believes in the Third-party movement, and is strongly in favor of the Farmers' Alliance, which has in him one of its leaders in this section.

 

From PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF FAYETTE, PICKAWAY AND MADISON COUNTIES, OHIO - Chapman Bros. [Chicago, 1892]