Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 97] of the well-known firm of Burk & Gilmore, general merchants of Hillsville, Mahoning township, Lawrence Co., Pa., needs no introduction at our hands to the people of Western Pennsylvania. He has spent his busy life among the residents of that part of the State, and the talents and abilities, which he possesses, are known to all.

Mr. Gilmore was brought into this world Jan. 23, 1857, at the place where Joseph Gilmore now lives in North Beaver township. He was a son of David and Rachel (Dobbins) Gilmore, and his grandparents were William and Ann (Kennedy) Gilmore. The great-grandfather by name was Joseph Gilmore, a native of County Down, Ireland, and the husband of Nancy (Bois) Gilmore. Joseph Gilmore with his young wife immigrated to America in the last years of the eighteenth century, and found a home in Philadelphia. He spent a few years there, and then came to North Beaver township, and located about four miles south of Mt. Jackson on the place where T. Swisher now makes his home. His experience was that of his fellow-pioneers—a hard but winning struggle to subdue the wild forests, and reclaim the good brown acres. He built a log-cabin and before much time had elapsed had one hundred acres under cultivation. His remaining years were spent on this homestead, where he died at the age of seventy- five; his wife also lived to about the same age. Their children were: William; John; Joseph; James, who died in youth; an infant, who also died young; Betsy; Polly; Peggy, and Nancy.

William Gilmore, the eldest son, was born in Philadelphia, and during his boyhood and early manhood followed his father's fortunes, and remained under the parental roof. When the family came into Mercer County, he also took up a tract of about one hundred acres of new land, which he proposed to transform in a few years into a well-cultivated, productive farm, such as might have been seen in the more settled portion of Eastern Pennsylvania. He cleared a portion of the property, but not liking the way it developed, he after some eight years traded it for a place in the same township, which is now known as the William Petrie farm. This tract consisted of one hundred acres, to which he not long after added one hundred more. Mr. Gilmore was always an energetic man, and alive to every chance that offered. When the canal was being built, he began butchering cattle and stock that he raised on his farm, and delivered the meat to points along the route of the canal, thereby building up a large and exceedingly profitable business. Later on, he dealt heavily in cattle, horses, and other stock, finding a ready market in Pittsburg. He continued his active life until he was called to rejoin those who had preceded him; he lived to the age of eighty-five, and his wife filled out eighty-three years. Seven children made up their family: Joseph; James, deceased; John; Mary; David; Nancy; and Sarah, deceased. During his early life, Mr. Gilmore was a pronounced Whig, but later in life joined the Republican party. He was in religious affairs a liberal supporter and consistent member of the United Presbyterian Church.

David Gilmore, son of William and father of William T., our subject, entered upon life March 12, 1833. He was born on the home farm, and followed agricultural pursuits all his days. He purchased the fifty-acre farm that adjoined the homestead, and which is now owned by Joseph Dickinson, and on it built the necessary farm-buildings, and making many other marked improvements. This he sold in 1864, and bought the William Woods farm of one hundred acres, a place which he now owns. Here he erected a house and suitable barns and out-buildings, and proved himself by his exceptional success to be a model and progressive farmer. He wedded Rachel Dobbins, daughter of Easter Dobbins of Mahoning township, and reared a family of nine children, by name: Nancy, now the wife of S. Maybury; William T., our subject; Edwin, husband of Jessie (Cox) Gilmore; Elizabeth, who married J. C. Allen; Joseph, who took as his wife Mary Grandy; Davidson, who married C. Hoffmaster; Harry, now at home; and Lee, a teacher, who also lives at home. In politics, Mr. Gilmore is true to the family traditions, and is prominently connected in the Republican organization of his section. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church.

William T. Gilmore was first a pupil in the district schools, and then took a finishing course in the New Castle Business College. He became familiar with the limestone and plaster business, and for fifteen years followed general contracting. He came to Hillsville in 1880, being brought there by a large amount of work in his line, and liking the village assocated himself in 1890 with the Carbon Limestone Co. Three years later, Mr. Gilmore bought a half interest in the already established company, and the firm of Burk & Gilmore came into being, the senior member of the firm being Mr. E. M. Burk. They are now conducting the largest and at the same time the most flourishing general store in the township, or immediate vicinity. Since 1895, they have maintained a branch store of considerable importance at Bessemer.

Mr. Gilmore is a thorough business man in every sense of the word. A close and careful buyer, he sells on small margins, depending upon a great volume of trade for his profits. He has been steadily prospering in all his under-takings, and is the owner of a very fine residence and much other valuable property. Mr. Gilmore was united in marriage with Annie Martin, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Robinson) Martin. Thomas Martin was a native of Cumberland Co., Pa., but passed twenty-two years in agricultural pursuits in Mercer County. In 1861, he purchased the Johnson farm near Hillsville, which was and is still one of the best estates of the township. He erected the new buildings and made many very great improvements, which are much in evidence even at this time. He died in 1867, aged fifty-four years, while his wife lived to pass her eightieth birthday. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Martin were: John S., James R., Mary S., Cyrus L., Annie E., and Permelia J. Mr. Gilmore and his wife Annie are the parents of a fine family of children, who are named in order: Edwin; Frank; Bessie; Frederick; Erwin; Walter; Charles; and an infant William.

Mr. Gilmore can be aptly termed a man of affairs. A loyal Republican, he is often called upon by his fellow-townsmen to serve them in an official position, and give them the benefit of his admirable business methods. Of the highest integrity and marked adaptability he faithfully performs every duty which falls to him. He is known as a successful man, and is esteemed accordingly. In church affairs, his lines are cast with the Baptist Church. In all matters he is a representative and valued citizen, and the community is fortunate in possessing so worthy a citizen.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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