William Albert Gilliland, a prominent farmer and stockman of Jackson county, was born at Rockport, Mo., June 22, 1859. He is a son of Josiah and Delitha (Maxwell) Gilliland, the former a native of Beverly, Ohio, and the latter of Ogle county, Illinois. The father spent his boyhood days in his native State, and in 1855 went to Missouri where he owned and operated a saw mill until the war broke out, when he traded it for a farm in Nebraska, and removed his family to Illinois, and enlisted in a Missouri regiment in which he served one year. At the close of the war he returned to Missouri, where he remained until 1876, when he went to Nebraska and settled on his farm which he operated, with success, until 1900, when he removed to Auburn, Neb., where he now resides. His first wife and mother of William A., died in Andrew county, Missouri, in 1868, leaving three children as follows: William A., the subject of this sketch; Nellie, married Harry Rhoades, a successful farmer and stockman of Howe, Neb., and Alida, married Andrew Speer, one of the county commissioners of Atchison county, at the present time. When William A. Gilliland was a boy, his opportunities for obtaining an education were limited. He attended the district schools of Andrew county, Missouri, such as schools were in those times on the frontier. The school term consisted of only two or three months each year, which were perhaps plenty under the circumstances, as the average pupil received about all the "rod" he could stand during that period, and was perfectly willing to "spoil" for the rest of the year. But young Gilliland made the best of his opportunities, and at the age of thirteen was compelled to quit school and go to work. In 1876, when the family went to Nebraska, they found their farm encumbered by tax title, and he had to work as a farm hand to help pay this off, and after that, gave his earnings to his father to help support the family. At the age of twenty, he began life for himself, as a farm laborer, and at the end of a year had saved $150. He then began farming rented land, and during the first few years his progress was slow, on account of crop failures. In the fall of 1883, he bought 120 acres of unimproved land which he improved, and built a small house on it. He began in the stock business, in a small way, and soon was making a specialty of raising cattle, hogs and mules, and fed large numbers of cattle and hogs for the market. He prospered in his undertaking and began to add to his holdings and it was not long until he owned 362 acres of well improved land. He remained on this farm until 1898, when he removed to Jackson county, Kansas, locating in Cedar township, where he owns a 200-acre farm, which increases his acreage to 573 acres. In the spring of 1914, he gave each of his two sons, 120 acres which is valued at $100. per acre. Since coming to Jackson county, he has been engaged in the real estate business in addition to farming and stock raising. In his real estate operations, he has been very successful and been instrumental in bringing many substantial settlers to the county, to whom he has sold farms. He is a strong advocate of good schools, good roads and better farming. He is active in church work, and while a resident of Nebraska, served as deacon and superintendent of Sunday school. He was also an early advocate of the Farmers Institute. He inaugurated the movement which led to grading a road from his farm in Cedar township, to Denison. He had the road surveyed, and circulated the subscription list to pay for the work, to which he contributed liberally himself. He takes a foremost position in the community for commercial and social improvement, and is one of the most public spirited citizens of Jackson county. Mr. Gilliland, was married April 14, 1884, to Miss Lou Emma Cummings, daughter of Thomas J. and Dorcus N. (Wilcox) Cummings, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of Indiana. They were pioneers of Nebraska, settling in that State in 1865. Mrs. Gilliland was born in Kosciusko county, Indiana, October 20, 1865, and was only four months old when the family removed to Nebraska, and settled in Nemaha county, where the father engaged in farming and stock raising. When the Gilliland family located in Nebraska their place was near where the Cummings family had settled. Mrs. Gilliland was educated in the public schools, and engaged in the millinery and dress making business in Auburn, Neb., which she followed until her marriage. Her father died March 21, 1911, and the mother now resides at Crab Orchard, Neb. To Mr. and Mrs. Gilliland, have been born four children: Roy Albert, born September 17, 1886, was educated at the Kansas State Agricultural College, Manhattan, and Campbell University, now a farmer and stock raiser in Jackson county, where he specializes in raising Jersey cattle and has one of the finest herds in the State. He was married December 30, 1908, to Miss Gertrude Lanning, and they have three children: Olive Lou Emma, Della Leola, and Roy Albert, Jr. The second son, Charles Henry, born August 8, 1888, was educated in the Kansas State Agricultural College at Manhattan, and Campbell University, and is now a successful farmer in Jackson county. Della Mae Gilliland was born July 29, 1891. She is a graduate of Campbell University, and is now a teacher in Netawaka High School. Bertha Ellen, the youngest of the family was born February 6, 1894, a graduate of Campbell University and is now at home with her parents. Mr. Gilliland is a man of strong personality, with a deep sense of right and justice. He loves industry and abhors laziness. His sentiments as to the man who works is well expressed in the following lines:
"It matters not how rich or poor,
This is the future's great command,
Who does not work shall cease to eat;
Upon this rock I stand.
The fruit of trees, the grain of fields,
Wherever use and beauty lurk
The good of all the world belongs
To him who does his work."
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