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John Thaddeus Whitefield Gill

John Thaddeus Whitefield Gill was born July 7, 1851, in York District, S.C. to John Gaston Gill (1791-1871) and wife Anna Rebecca King (1791-19851). He was the grandson of Captain James Gill and Mary Gaston Gill, whose deaths are recorded respectively in 1809 and 1829.


John, who went by Thad, was educated in S.C. in Blairsville Academy, He moved to AR in 1851 with several slaves and settled as a young planter three miles south of Prescott, on a large tract of land that had been given to him by his father, John Gaston Gill, who had patented it from the Government previous to Arkansas statehood, about 1832.


Thad married Miss Sarah Elizabeth Steele, March 17, 1858, in Camden, AR. She was born in Oxford, MS on February 22, 1838, before coming to AR as a young child with her father and mother (formerly a Bargar). Sarah’s brothers William, Benjamin, and Luke Steele were pioneers of Prescott, AR while the Gill and Bargar families were originally from PA.


Children born to Thad and Sarah:


  • Ernest Keener Gill, Junction City, AR

  •  James Oscar Gill, Texarkana, AR

  •  Percy Garland Gill, Denison, TX

  •  John M.F. Gill, Abilene, TX

  •  Carrie Ella (Mrs. Tom Cobb)

  • Mattie Lavenia (Mrs. J.A.M. Smith).


During the Civil War, Thad served in the Confederate Army, AR Division, under Gen. Cabel, who conferred on him the Commission of Lieutenant. He was seriously wounded at the battle of Mt. Elba, AR, and heroically rescued from the battlefield by his wife, who made a perilous night journey from her home assisted by an aged minister and a young Negro slave. Thad was a Mason and had attained a Royal Arch degree during his active years. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, having professed Christianity in early childhood.


Thad’s long years as a pioneer citizen of Prescott will be recalled in association with his brother, James Monroe Gill and his wife, Julia Gill (also a cousin) and their children: Rebecca Gill Howell, Ellen Gill McSwain and Dr. John Gill, all of whom were reared in Prescott and vicinity.


Thad and most of his children's families remained in Prescott and vicinity until the early years of 1900. He and his wife then moved Cameron, TX in 1907 to live with their son John.


Sarah died March 22, 1916, I the home of her son, John, in Austin, TX and was buried in Cameron, TX next to her husband who passed five years previously.



Information provided by Thad’s eldest son, John M.F. Gill, M.D.

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