Family Stories

Gilbert McMillen Biography

                   from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois Illustrated – 1908,                               Volume II Schuyler County

Gilbert McMillen

The enviable standing of Mr. McMillen among the people of Oakland Township, Schuyler County, Illinois, where he was born and where he has made his lifelong home, may be appreciated from the statement that six consecutive times they have chosen him to represent them on the Board of County Supervisors.  Though elected by the Democrats as their nominee, he is popular with representatives of all parties, and during his twelve years of service on the board he was a staunch support of progressive enterprises contributory to the progress of the county, while at the same time aiming by his influence and ballot to conserve the interests of the tax-payers.

The genealogy of the McMillen family can be traced back to Scotland, but several generations have lived in the United States.  John McMillen, a native of Ohio, born in 1815, came to the then unknown frontier of Illinois during early manhood, and in Schuyler County, in 1843, he married Margaret Pittenger, who was born in Virginia in 1823, and came with her parents to Illinois, settling in Schuyler County in 1836.  Since that time she has remained at the old homestead, now operated by her son, Gilbert.  Her husband died in 1888, at the age of seventy-three, after a long and useful life devoted to agricultural pursuits.  They were the parents of eleven children, but three of these died in early life.  Eight are now living, namely:  Sarah, who married William H. Baxter, a farmer in Littleton Township; Mary, the widow of William Billingsley, living in Rushville Township on a farm; Belle, who married William Bly, a farmer near Macomb, Illinois; Nicholas, of Macomb; Margaret, at home; Gilbert; Henry, who is now in the West; and Ollie, wife of Charles Vertree, station agent at Elmwood, Illinois, for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railway Company.

The McMillen homestead, on Section 26, Oakland Township, where Gilbert McMillen now resides, is his birthplace, the date of his birth being January 1, 1857.  During boyhood he attended the district school near the farm.  On December 23, 1896, he was united in marriage to with Mira, daughter of Peter Rose, an early settler of Schuyler County, having removed hither from Michigan.  Mr. and Mrs. McMillen have four children, namely; Harry, born January 20, 1898; Phoebe, January 29, 1900; Mildred, July 2, 1901; and Mabel, Mary 25, 1903.  The family attend the Methodist Church, of which Mrs. McMillen is an active member.  While devoting himself with assiduous care to stock raising and general farming, Mr. McMillen has found leisure to participate in public affairs.  He has been connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America, and has been a staunch worker in the interests of the Democratic party.  Besides serving as Supervisor, as before stated, he has filled the positions of Collector and Assessor of his township and in every relation of life has proved a patriotic and progressive citizen.

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