Jackson County

Biography - E. E. GILL

A native son of Williamson county, E. E. Gill has made it the scene of his labors for many years. He is well and favorably known to the populace of Marion as a contractor, architect and builder. His reputation for thoroughness and carefulness in construction, as well as the artistic merit of his conceptions, is manifested in some of the most substantial buildings and beautiful homes in Marion.

E. E. Gill was born near Corinth, in Williamson county, on the 16th of November, 1868. His birthplace was a farm, but his father, J. Frank Gill, was a mechanic rather than a farmer. The latter was of Southern birth, his native state being Tennessee. He came to Illinois as a young man and took up the carpenter trade. He worked at house carpentry in many places of both Williamson and Jackson counties, in the main as a lay workman. He took his wife from a family who had likewise come from Tennessee. She was Susan Moser, and she died many years before her husband, in 1889, at the age of forty-four. The two had several children, namely, Ella, who is the wife of Priestly Norman, of Marion; Minnie, who married J. H. Jolly and is living in St. Louis, Missouri: Joseph, a mechanic of Marion; Emma became Mrs. William Ashley and went to Carbondale, Illinois, to live, where George Gill also makes his home. E. E. is the oldest of the children. The father of the family died in May, 1911, at his home in Marion.

As his father moved from point to point as work demanded, E. E. Gill grew up in constantly changing surroundings. From his boyhood he showed a strong inclination for mechanics, inherited from his father and fostered by constant association with him. He received a fair knowledge of the rudiments of knowledge from the common schools, but when he reached his majority he discovered that unless he wished to be a plodder in the trades, which his ambitious spirit could not consider, he must in some way improve his technical knowledge. It is much to his credit that he realized his shortcomings and had the energy to set about to remedy them. He therefore turned to the Scranton Correspondence School to give him a profession as well as to perfect him in his trade. The latter he had learned under the eye of Ike Rapp, a builder well known over Jackson county and a capable man with the tool dr at the bench. The course offered by the Scranton school which interested him the most and promised him the best results was architecture, and this study he pursued eagerly. The methods of instruction of the Pennsylvania school were so simplified and so thorough that he soon found himself in possession of the elementary principles of his subject and prepared to make plans and specifications, to make estimates on work and to take contracts.

The years succeeding his completion of their course have proven that his confidence in the practicability of the work offered by the Scranton school has not been misplaced. The plans he made for the Mason and Knights of Pythias block in Marion, the Cline-Benson building in the same place, and a bank building in Herrin, Illinois, are splendid examples of the excellence of his training. He was the architect, as well as the contractor, of the Frank Goodall building in Marion, and the handsome city hall of Marion came into being as the result of his contract and plans. He was the builder of some of the most distinctive homes in Marion, also being the architect of them. A few of these are the W. H. Warder residence, the A. B. McLarren residence, the John Snyder home and the C. H. Dennison residence. He has been connected with the erection of several public buildings, both in his home city and elsewhere, the Marion high school being built from his plans and under his contract, and the building of the Christian church in Carterville being carried on under his personal supervision. He has had such a close connection with the material development of Marion that his appointment as building inspector was most suitable. He is at present serving in this capacity.

On the 27th of December, 1892, Mr. Gill married in Marion Miss Sallie Feator, a daughter of Anthony Feator, one of the most efficient plasterers of Marion. He was born in Germany and was married to Miss Juley Huffman, and Mrs. Gill was one of their four children. Lena, Lloyd, Rufus and Harold are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Gill. Mr. Gill is an ardent supporter of all for which the Masonic order stands, and holds the rank of Master Mason in that order. He is also an Elk and a Modern Woodmen. He is not actively interested in politics, save at elections, when he stands staunchly under the Republican banner.

As one of the wheels in the train of cogs that is constantly raising Marion into a larger and more substantial city, Mr. Gill is a busy man. Following his determination to make of himself something better than an ordinary workman, along with the building of his technical knowledge came the building of his character, so that now this sturdy and upright man is felt by all who come in contact with him to be an influence for good in the community, one who is always glad to take a step forward in the direction of progressiveness.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 2, page 1058.

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