GILBERT R. WOOLSEY, M. D., the oldest practicing physician of Normal, has been a resident physician of that
place since 1868, where he has built up a large and lucrative practice. He is freely adjudged as a skilled and
reliable physician, with large sympathies and a conscientious devotion to duty. He is a native of this State, and
was born in Henry County, Sept. 21, 1840. His parents were Jesse and Freelove (Rogers) Woolsey, both natives of
Long Island, N. Y., where they were reared to years of maturity and united in marriage.
Jesse Woolsey, a hatter by trade, although he never followed the business after serving his apprenticeship, for some time carried on mercantile pursuits in the vicinity of his birthplace. In 1836 he emigrated to Illinois, and entered a tract of land in Henry County, which he settled upon after his marriage. He then became engaged as a real estate dealer, and kept a hotel for some time at Andover. He spent the remainder of his days in Henry County, dying about 1869, and the mother in 1867. They had only two children—Marietta, the widow of Edwin Buck, of Cambridge, Ill., and Gilbert R., our subject.
Young Woolsey, at the age of sixteen years, and after having received a fair common-school education, spent a few months in traveling through the Eastern States, and afterward pursued his studies, and being fond of his books acquired a good literary education. The war being now in progress, and his travels having landed him in the Prairie State, he enlisted in Co. D, 112th Ill. Vol. Inf., and served until the close. He was with Burnside in East Tennessee, through the Atlanta campaign. He was in the fight at Franklin, and received a scalp wound, which, however, did not disable him.
He recovered sufficiently to be in the fight at Nashville, and the capture of Wilmington, N. C., and received his honorable discharge at Greensboro, N. C., in 1865, being mustered out as Adjutant of his regiment.
After his return to the ranks of civil life our subject returned to Henry County, Ill. He had already resolved to locate in the West, and in 1865 entered upon a course of study in the old Hahnemann College of Chicago [ed., Hahnemann Medical College], whence, after graduating, he located in Normal, where he has since remained.
Dr. Woolsey is a strict temperance man, and politically a stanch supporter of the principles of the Republican party. He is a member in good standing of the Congregational Church, to the support of which he contributes liberally and cheerfully. He has a pleasant home in Normal, and enjoys the society and friendship of hosts of acquaintances.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 419. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.