T. G. Gilson has amply demonstrated his financial ability as business manager of the Knoxville Journal, and
under his management that paper is conducted along up to date and efficient lines. He understands the importance
of eliminating waste and of keeping down the cost of publication as far as is consistent with a high standard of
typographical work and he has also been successful in increasing the circulation and the amount of space sold for
advertising purposes. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the 22d of November, 1848, a son of James W.
and Martha M. (Shearer) Gilson, both natives of the Keystone state. The paternal grandfather, William Gilson, spent
his entire life in Pennsylvania and his father, Thomas Gilson, was also a resident of that state. He fought in
the Revolutionary war, saw a great deal of active service and was wounded in the battle of Trenton.
James W. Gilson brought his family to Knoxville, the date of their arrival in this city being the 4th of April,
1862. A wagon maker by trade he opened a shop here which he conducted until his demise in 1886. His widow survived
for two years, dying in 1888 in the faith of the Presbyterian church, of which she was a member. To their union
were born fourteen children, five of whom grew to maturity. John C., a farmer by occupation, came to this county
in 1856. Sue U. became the wife of John T. Wright, who for a number of years was a locomotive engineer and who
was a man of much mechanical ingenuity, the inventor of metallic packing. About 1880 he removed to Marion county
and for a number of years engaged in farming. Both he and his wife are deceased, her demise occurring in April,
1914, at Tacoma, Washington. Delia married B. R. Ewalt, a merchant of Knoxville. He was for several years county
auditor and proved a capable official: He is deceased and his widow lives at Cedar Falls, this state. T. G, of
this review, is the next in order of birth. Robert M. resides at San Diego, California.
T. G. Gilson attended the public schools in the acquirement of his scholastic education and also learned the painter's
trade in his youth. After being telegraph operator in Ohio for a time he was for ten years engaged in the real
estate business in Knoxville. Later he was a clerk in the postoffice at Knoxville and from 1897 to 1902 held the
office of postmaster of the city. At the expiration of his term of service in that capacity he purchased an interest
in the Knoxville Journal and has since been the business manager of that publication, which is one of the leading
papers of the city. As he is an aggressive and astute business man the finances of the paper were never in better
condition than at the present time.
Mr. Gilson was married on the 25th of June, 1874, to Miss Hattie M. Porterfield, of this city, a daughter of James
and Caroline Porterfield. Her father was a farmer by occupation. To Mr. and Mrs. Gilson have been born four daughters,
namely: Maude, the wife of Judge W. C. Mentzer, of Cheyenne, Wyoming; Blanche, who married O. W. Thompson, a resident
of Chicago; and Gail and Mildred, both at home.
Mr. Gilson is a republican in his political allegiance and has taken an active part in the management of local
affairs. For thirty consecutive years he served as secretary of the city school board and for nineteen years was
city clerk. For nine years he held the position of secretary of the local fair and was largely responsible for
its success during that time. His experience in the management of fairs was not confined to his connection with
the local fair, as for eleven years he was assistant secretary and chairman of the finance committee of the Iowa
State Fair. He was one of the originators of the Homesteaders, a fraternal insurance company with headquarters
at Des Moines, and is at present the editor of the official paper of that organization which is known as The Backlog
and is a monthly of sixteen pages with a circulation of twenty two thousand, five hundred. Fraternally he belongs
to the Knights of Pythias. Mr. Gilson has not only won individual prosperity but has aided in the development of
Knoxville and Marion county through his connection with the Knoxville Journal and through his work as secretary
of the local fair, and his initiative and ability have found yet wider scope through his connection with the state
fair and especially through his labors in behalf of the Homesteaders. In all relations of life he has proven upright
and reliable, as well as capable, and he has the unqualified respect of all who have been brought in contact with
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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