Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography
Part V:  Biographical Sketches


page 914

JOHN GILSON (deceased) was a native of Maryland, and was brought up in Bedford County, Penn.  His father, William Gilson, a native of England, was an American soldier in the Revolution.  He married Alice Shirley, and they and their nine children settled in Oil Creek Township, this county, where Mr. Gilson, Sr., died in 1807.  His widow died in 1844 in her ninety-sixth year.  Our subject started on foot from Bedford County, Penn., for the lake region in 1799.  He reached Oil Creek in December, and was crippled while cutting down a tree to cross the swollen stream near Centreville.  This laid him up through the winter, and determined his course in staying.  Returning in the spring to Bedford County, he married Anna Bell, and they came here on foot, settling permanently in 1800.  They took up six tracts of land and retained one of 400 acres for themselves.  They lived the lives of upright pioneers, and left an honorable name to posterity.  Of their thirteen children, six are now living, viz.:  Charles B., Thomas, Richard B., Mrs. Elizabeth Early, Mrs. Ann Navy, and John B.

page 914

THOMAS GILSON, farmer, P. O. Titusville, was born July 4, 1811.  He married Miss Elizabeth C. McLaughlin, September 21, 1848.  They then settled on their farm and began clearing and improving it.  Their children are Mrs. Lucy Ann Reynolds, Mrs. Hannah J. Reynolds, Mrs. Marietta Goodrich, and Mrs. Delilah Wheattall.  Mr. Gilson is an earnest and life-long Democrat.

pages 914-15

CHARLES B. GILSON, farmer and mechanic, P. O. Titusville, was born March 29, 1807, in Oil Creek township, this county.  While a young man he learned the trade of carpenter and joiner under T. H. Hoskins, working in Forest, Crawford, Erie, Venango and other counties adjoining.  He married Miss Marietta Moore, of Venango County, December 1, 1836.  After living in Titusville some years (their property being where the Oil Exchange now stands), they moved to their present place in the township, where they have ever since resided.  Their children are Edward L., Mrs. Priscilla Shaw (deceased), Samuel, Mrs. Melissa Jane Stackpole, Leonard, and Dr. Willis O., of Spring Creek Station, Warren Co., Penn.  Mr. Gilson has done a great deal of work through this country as a millwright, being know as a first-class mechanic and always commanding the highest positions.  He is a Greenbacker; formerly a Democrat; voted first for Andrew Jackson.

page 915

JOHN B. GILSON, farmer, P. O. Titusville, was born September 6, 1825, on the farm where he now resides, in Oil Creek Township, this county; son of John and Anna (Bell) Gilson (see sketch of John Gilson).  He married December 25, 1853, Miss Nancy Early, of Rome Township, this county, a native of Vermont, born December 20, 1837, daughter of James and Hannah (Bradford) Early, early settlers of Rome Township.  To this union were born three children:  Mrs. Ida Victoria Kerr, Willard J. and Cyrus J.  They also brought up Charles James Early, son of Thomas Early (deceased).  After their marriage our subject and wife took care of Mr. and Mrs. John Gilson (our subject's parents) until their deaths, and they now occupy the old homestead.  By industry and good management they have added to it until they now own a farm of 175 acres of well-improved land, besides ninety acres they have recently bought.  In politics Mr. Gilson is a Democrat.

page 915

WILLIAM KELLY (deceased) was a native of County Derry, Ireland, and came to American in 1819, settling in Oil Creek Township, this county, in 1823.  He married Miss Mary McIntyre in 1822.  She was born in this township in December, 1802.  Her parents, John and Hannah McIntyre, were natives of Ireland, and came here from Mifflin County, Penn., in 1798.  After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Kelly settled on the farm near Titusville, Penn.  Their children are—John, in Erie, Penn.; James, in Rome Township, this county; Hannah; Oliver; Mary; Mrs. Susan Newton, in Fredonia, N. Y.; and Mrs. Isabel Gee.  This family has contributed quite largely to the ranks of the profession of teaching, as all except Oliver have been engaged in that occupation.  Mr. Kelly died February 4, 1861.  His widow now resides on the family homestead with her daughters, Hannah and Mary, and son, Oliver.

page 915

ANDREW KERR, retired farmer, P. O. Titusville, was born April 8, 1807, in Oil Creek Township, this county.  His father, James Kerr, a native of Ireland, came to America at ten years of age.  He married Miss Margery Alcom, also a native of Ireland.  They moved from Frankstown, Penn., to Oil Creek Township about 1800.  James Kerr died in 1842; his widow in 1866, aged eighty-six.  They were noble pioneers and rendered valuable service in the settlement of this county.  Our subject married Anna Shelmadine in 1836.  She died in 1841, leaving four children:  John Wesley; James Henry, a soldier of the Fifty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, killed at the battle of Fair Oaks, Va.; William  Jasper and Mrs. Anna Kitlinger.  Mr. Kerr next married, in 1843, Anna Baldwin, a native of Oil Creek Township, this county, born in 1825, daughter of Daniel and Roxanna Baldwin.  Their children were—Hannah (deceased), Mrs. Juline Bates, Mrs. Perrilla Hummer, Daniel West, Mrs. Emma Carroll, Andrew T. (deceased), Mrs. Mary L. Sodiman and Cassius.  Mr. Kerr has divided his land liberally among his sons, and has still 200 acres of fine land left.  In his quiet old age he is deprived entirely of his eye-sight.  He and his worthy wife are members of the United Brethren Church.  In politics he is a stanch Republican.

page 917

BENJAMIN MARS, farmer, P. O. Gresham, was born June 5, 1822, in Lawrence County, Penn.  His father, William Mars, a native of Ireland, immigrated to America while a young man, and after living some time in Frankstown, Penn., finally settled in Lawrence County with his brothers and sisters, in about 1802, and there he married Miss Nancy Alexander.  They developed a fine farm, now owned by their son John J.  Mr. Mars was a soldier in the war of 1812.  Our subject, who is the third of their four sons, came to this township in 1844 and followed his trade as carpenter and developed his farm.  Here he  married, March 10, 1846, Miss Isabel McGinnett, who died February 17, 1852, leaving two sons:  William, deceased January 4, 1882, and John Alexander, deceased November 28, 1855.  Mr. Mars afterward married, October 19, 1854, Miss Rebecca Breed, daughter of John Breed, a native of Connecticut, and settler of Venango County.   Their children were—John Andrew, Mary Edith (deceased January 22, 1866), and Adelaide.  Mr. and Mrs. Mars are consistent members of the United Presbyterian Church.  By industry and good management he has acquired a comfortable and pleasant home.  Mr. Mars is one of the leading and representative farmers of Oil Creek Township.  In politics he is a life-long Republican.