Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois,Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States.
(Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 195.
Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.

HON. SYLVESTER F. GILMORE, a well-known lawyer of Effingham, and County Judge of Effingham County, has been a resident of this city since 1867. Judge Gilmore was born in Putnam County, Ind., on the 17th of August, 1837, and is a son of Thomas and Margaret (Leach) Gilmore, both of whom are now deceased. His parents were natives of Rockbridge County, Va., and were descended from old Virginian families who originally settled in the Cumberland Valley. The father was of Scotch-Irish descent, and the mother was of Scotch lineage. Their remote ancestors, who established the families in America, were old-school Presbyterians, or Scotch Covenanters, and the faith of that sect has been the religion of their descendants. Judge Gilmore's father died in January, 1889, at the age of eighty-seven years, and the mother was called to the home beyond in the month of January, 1866.

            The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood upon a farm and began his education in the common schools, but his early privileges were supplemented by a course of studying Hanover College, of South Hanover, Ind. Desiring to enter the legal profession and make it his life work, in 1858 he began the study of law with Col. John A. Matson, of Greencastle, Ind. After two years spent in reading with that gentleman he entered the law department of the Indiana Asbury University, now the Depauw University, from which he was graduated in the Class of '60. Soon afterward he entered upon the practice of his chosen profession in Greencastle, continuing business at that place, however, only a short time. He then removed to Carmi, White County, Ill., where he practiced law for a year and a-half. On the expiration of that period he returned to his old home in Indiana, and in July, 1863, entered the one hundred day service as a member of the Seventy-eighth Indiana Infantry.

            Judge Gilmore's command was attached to the Army of the Tennessee, and was stationed at Uniontown, Ky. He took part in the engagements which took place there and at Morganfield. At Uniontown the entire command was captured. This was late in the year 1863. They were held prisoners but a short time, however, when they were paroled and then discharged and returned to the North.

            Arriving at home, Judge Gilmore there remained until September, 1867, when he came to Effingham, opened a law office and embarked in legal practice, which he has carried on continuously since with excellent success, receiving a liberal patronage. In 1869 he was elected County Superintendent of Schools of Effingham County, and held that office until 1873. On retiring from that position he formed a law partnership with J. C. White, which connection was continued until Mr. Gilmore was elected County Judge in the fall of 1883.

            So well did he discharge the duties of that office that he has been twice re-elected to the position and is now serving his third term as County Judge. He has also been Master of Chancery of Effingham County for one term, and served one term as Alderman of the city.

            On the 11th of April, 1860, in Greencastle, Ind., Judge Gilmore was united in marriage with Miss Julia A., a daughter of Isaac Matkin. The lady is a native of Greencastle, Ind. Four children, three sons and a daughter, were born of their union: Clarence H., Mary E., William and Thomas E. The youngest son was graduated from the Chicago Law School in the Class of June, 1892, and is now associated with his father in the practice of the legal profession. Clarence married Miss Nettie Magood, and resides in LaFayette, Ind. Mrs. Gilmore died on the 12th of June, 1881, and on the 8th of November, 1883, the Judge was again married. His present wife was formerly Miss Margaret M. Means. She is a native of Preble County, Ohio, and is a daughter of Josiah and Rosanna Means.

            Judge Gilmore is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and socially is a Royal Arch Mason, also a member of the Knights of Pythias. The Judge is interested in the manufacturing interests of Effingham. He is a stockholder in the Effingham Manufacturing Company, a recently established furniture factory of that city, and is also a shareholder in the Effingham Canning and Wood Package Company. He is a man of excellent business ability, sagacious and far-sighted, and has the faculty of carrying through to successful completion whatever he undertakes. He has also shown himself a friend to the cause of education, and was one of the original movers in securing a college in Effingham, which resulted in the erection of the Austin College and Normal Institute, which is now in successful operation in that place. Of that school, the Judge is now a Trustee. Further mention of the institution is made on another page of this work.

            In his political affiliation, Judge Gilmore is a Democrat, and the duties of the various offices he has held have been discharged with ability and great fidelity. His reputation as a lawyer is high, his skill is attested by years of successful practice, and he is a recognized leader of the Effingham County Bar.


Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 249. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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