Family Stories

Harvey H. Gillam Biography

from Book of Biographies, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

HARVEY H. GILLAM is a prominent real estate dealer and public-spirited citizen of the village of Langhorne, Bucks County, Pa., and is a worthy representative of an old and pioneer family of Bucks County.  He was born in the above village July 23, 1846, and is a son of Harvey and Hannah (Hunt) Gillam, and grandson of William Gillam.  Simon Gillam, our subject’s great-grandfather, was also a native of Bucks County, and was of English parentage; he was a Quaker preacher and owned an estate of 400 acres of land in this county.  His son William, the grandfather of our subject, was also born in this county, and upon the death of his father inherited the property, and followed agricultural pursuits the remainder of his active days.  He was joined in marriage with Susanna Woolston, by whom he reared a family of four sons and five daughters, namely:  Harvey, Jonathan, William, Simon, Elizabeth, Anna, Hannah, Susan and Mary.  William Gillam died in 1840 at the age of fifty-four; his widow attained the age of seventy-two.  He and his family were prominent members of the Society of Friends.  Mr. Gillam was a hard and industrious worker, and enjoyed the good-will of many friends.  Harvey Gillam, Sr., was born on the old farm, near Langhorne, in 1814, and was engaged in tilling the soil during his early days.  He purchased a farm two miles east of the village, but on account of poor health he later sold that property and engaged in the mercantile business in Langhorne, and then returned to farming, purchasing a small farm of 30 acres near the village.  He soon gave up farming and went to Philadelphia, where he was engaged in the wholesale boot and shoe business; after closing out that business he became a member of the Farrell Herring Co., fire-proof safe manufacturers, remaining in that business until his death occurred.  In politics he was a strong Republican.  He was wedded to Hannah Hunt, of Chester County, Pa., and they became the parents of four children, as follows: Mary W., the wife of William Albertson, of Philadelphia; W. Henry died, aged thirty years; Morris, also deceased, and Harvey H., the subject of this memoir.  The mother of our subject departed from this life in 1857.  Harvey H. Gillam was intellectually trained in the Friends’ School, and completed his education at the Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia; when a young man he embarked in agricultural pursuits, purchasing a farm of 150 acres in Middletown township, this county, upon which he resided for a period of twenty years.  In 1886 he rented his farm and moved to Langhorne, where he has since been engaged in the real estate business.  Mr. Gillam is a thorough business man and occupies a prominent position among the other substantial business men of his vicinity.  Fraternally, Mr. Gillam is a member of the Masonic Order, Bristol Lodge, No. 25; religiously, he is a member of the Society of Hicksite Friends.  Politically, he is a Republican, and has served ten years as justice of the peace, during which time he has settled many estates.  Mr. Gillam was one of the chief promoters of the Langhorne, Newtown & Bristol Electric Street Railway Co., and was also secretary and a director of the same; he is a member and director of the Langhorne Building & Loan Association; and is a director of the Farmers’ National Bank of Bucks County at Bristol, Pa.  Our subject was married October 2, 1873, to Mary Mitchell, a daughter of Pierson and Caroline Mitchell.  Her father was president of the Farmers’ National Bank of Bucks County, at Bristol, Pa., and director of the People’s National Bank of Langhorne, Pa.  As a result of this happy union, a family of two daughters was reared, namely: Caroline M. and May.  Mr. Gillam has been remarkably successful in his business ventures; is enterprising and progressive, and commands the confidence and respect of a multitude of acquaintances throughout the county.

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