Among the strong and influential citizens of Napa who have contributed in every way within their power to the welfare
and prosperity of their community, James Gillies, the efficient and popular postmaster at Napa, enjoys a high standing.
His chief characteristics are keenness of perception, a tireless energy, honesty of purpose and every day common
sense, which have enabled him not only to advance his own interests, but also to largely contribute to the advancement
of the community. Mr. Gillies is a native of Glasgow, Scotland, where he was born on the 23d day of April, 1871,
son of William and Margaret (Shanks) Gillies, both also natives of that country. When he was four years of age
the family came to the United States, locating in California, where the father engaged in mining, working in the
Mother Lode district.
James Gillies attended the Lincoln grammar school and the old commercial high school on Bush street, San Francisco,
and then entered the shops of the Atlas Iron Works, where he learned the trade of a patternmaker, at which he worked
for both the Atlas works and the Union Iron Works of that city. On the outbreak of the Spanish-American war Mr.
Gillies enlisted for service in the First California Regiment, in which he was appointed a quartermaster sergeant,
and spent eighteen months in the Philippine islands. While in Manila he was engaged in the laundry business for
about a year. Returning to California in 1899, went to work in the Mare Island navy yard as a patternmaker and
was so employed there for about thirteen and a half years. Then for nine years he taught school in Oakland and
during six months of this time he served as athletic instructor among the soldiers. Later he taught for three years
in the Napa high school, handling mechanical drawing and wood working, and during that same period he served as
Boy Scout executive, in which capacity he performed some fine and effective service in behalf of the scout movement.
On June 1, 1924, Mr. Gillies was appointed by President Coolidge postmaster of Napa and is the present incumbent
of that position, so discharging the duties of the office as to earn the approval of his superiors and the commendation
of the patrons of the office; the keynotes of his service being accuracy, reliability and promptness.
Mr. Gillies is a member of and past master of Yount Lodge No. 12, Free and Accepted Masons; is high priest of Napa
Chapter No. 30, Royal Arch Masons, and senior warden of Napa Commandery No. 34, Knights Templar, and is a noble
of Ben Ali Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Sacramento, and secretary of the Napa Kiwanis Club. He married
Miss Louise Sophia Elsasser, who was born and reared in San Francisco, and they have four children, Charles W.,
Louisa (wife of Harold S. Gunn of Napa), Jeanette and Marion. Mr. Gillies is a man whom all admire for his sterling
honesty, his public spirit and his genial and friendly disposition, so that he deservedly stands high in the confidence
and esteem of the people among whom he lives.
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Napa County, CA
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