Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 645-46.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  James Gilmore

James Gilmore is a substantial agriculturist of Buena Vista county, owning and operating a well improved tract of three hundred and twenty acres, situated on section 24, Lee township.  He was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1833, a son of James and Jeanette (Robinson) Gilmore, likewise natives of Scotland.  In 1843 the father emigrated to America with his family, consisting of wife and twelve children, the trip from Liverpool to New York requiring thirty-two days, which was the fastest trip that had then been made across the Atlantic.  The captain of the vessel on which the family were passengers, urged Mr. .Gilmore to locate in the United States and take up land but he chose Canada as his destination, owing to the fact that he had a brother living in the Dominion.  The voyage was an arduous one.  The passengers had to furnish their own provisions and cook their own meals while on board, for the vessels were not supplied with the conveniences of the present day liners.  The family home was established on a farm near Hamilton, Canada, and there the father spent his remaining days.  The mother died there in 1888 and the father, surviving for about five years passed away at a ripe old age.  The family is noted for its longevity and our subject now has an aunt, Mrs. Jeannette Thompson, who lives in Davenport, Iowa, at the age of ninety-six years.


The family of Mr. and Mrs. James Gilmore, Sr., numbered twelve children, the record being as follows:  Jane, who became the wife of William Head and died at the advanced age of eighty-four years; John, who died when a young man; Christena, deceased, who became the wife of Charles Head, a resident of Canada; Mathew, who wedded Martha Lindsay and resides in Canada; Jessie, who became the wife of William Forbes and lived in Canada but both are now deceased; Margaret, the widow of Alexander Leland, and a resident of Hamilton, Canada; James, of this review; Thomas, who wedded Mary Schaffer, but both have departed this life; Elizabeth, the deceased wife of William Greive, a resident of Sioux City, Iowa; Andrew, who is married and makes his home in Davenport, this state; George, deceased, who wedded Mary Harper and lived in Canada; and Richard, who wedded Margaret Finley and makes his home in Canada.


James Gilmore, the subject of this review, remained under the parental roof until he had reached the age of twenty-four years, when he began work as a farm hand.  In 1867 he came to Story county, Iowa, and engaged as foreman of the farm belonging to the Agricultural College, being thus engaged for a period of fifteen years.  In 1884 he came to Buena Vista county and purchased of the Agricultural College three hundred and twenty acres of land, at two dollars and a half per acre.  This was all wild and unimproved and there were but three houses in the neighborhood.  He erected a nice country home, good and substantial outbuildings and now has one of the most valuable farm properties in Buena Vista county.  Here he engaged in general farming and the soil, being very productive, yields abundant harvests each year as a reward for the care and labor which he bestows upon the fields.


Mr. Gilmore was married November 11, 1857, the lady of his choice being Miss Eliza McNiekle, a daughter of John and Jane (McNickle) McNiekle, natives of Londonderry, Ireland, where they lived, and died when well advanced in years.  Mrs. Gilmore was born April 11, 1834, and by her marriage has become the mother of five children, of whom four survive:  John, who married Nina Gethrel, and lives in Poland township); George, deceased; Jane the wife of Charles Lawson, a farmer of Clay county, Iowa; Robert and Jessie, at home.


Mr. Gilmore's religious faith is that, of the Presbyterian church but there being no congregation of his denomination near him he attends the Methodist Episcopal church at Marathon.  Inheriting the sterling characteristics of a long line of sturdy Scotch ancestry and endowed by nature with an excellent constitution, he has noted and improved the opportunities as they have come to him and today is numbered among the successful and substantial agriculturists of Poland township.