MILES SHERMAN GILLIDETT, retired farmer and minister of Plains, with which region he has been actively identified since April 1, 1901, has spent a long and active career and is one of the surviving veterans of the Civil war.
He was born in Dutchess County, New York, August 15, 1841. He was a small child when his father died and cannot remember the latter, William Gillidett, who was born in Delaware County, New York. The Gillidett ancestors were of French lineage. William Gillidett married Rebecca P. Halleck, and her only child was Miles Sherman. Rebecca Halleck's father was Jesse P. Halleck, a soldier of the War of 1812 and a distant relative of Major General Halleck of the Civil war. Jesse P. Halleck married a Miss Hopkins, member of a wealthy family of Litchfield County, Connecticut, who was disinherited because of her marriage with a comparatively poor man. Rebecca Halleck, who was born in Litchfield County, Connecticut, July 26, 1821, after the death of her first husband, William Gillidett, married William J. Small. She reared the following children by her second husband: Dr. Frederick Small, of Central Missouri; Helen, who married Martin H. Hamlin, of Harrison County, Missouri; Fannie, who married Allie Williams, of Harrison County, Missouri; Mrs. Rebecca Small, who died at Athelstan, Missouri, March 22, 1889, and is buried there.
Miles Sherman Gillidett spent his boyhood in his native county until he was sixteen years old. His mother then moved to Illinois and settled in Carroll County in 1856. From that locality on October 6, 1862, Mr. Gillidett enlisted in Company C, Ninety-Second Illinois Infantry, under Captain William Stouffer and Colonel Smith D. Adkins. The Ninety-Second Illinois was in some of the hardest fighting of the war. It rendezvoused at Rockford, Illinois, and during the late fall of 1862 followed the trail of John Morgan's Army in Kentucky and Ohio. The first winter was spent at Danville, Kentucky, and thence it was ordered to Fort Donelson, reaching there at the close of the second battle. It was then sent on to Nashville and Franklin and took part in the battle at Duck River. After the winter and spring spent at Franklin in building fortifications the regiment was sent to Tullahoma, Tennessee, where it was mounted and attached to Wilder's Cavalry Brigade. Mr. Gillidett and his comrades took part in the battle of Chickamauga, in various raiding campaigns around Chattanooga, was at Lookout Mountain, and during 1864 fought in the battles of Buzzard's Roost, Snake Creek Gap, Resaca, Altoona, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Jonesboro and shortly before the fall of Atlanta the Ninety-Second Regiment was made a part of General Kilpatrick's Cavalry and was thus in the magnificent raid around Atlanta, cutting communications, tearing up railroads and destroying property on all sides of that Confederate stronghold. After the fall of Atlanta the Ninety-Second went with Sherman's Army on its march to the sea, fighting the Confederates almost daily and reaching Savannah, Georgia, in December, 1864. From Savannah the march northward through the Carolinas began on January 28, 1865, and the Ninety-Second Illinois was in the vanguard of that march. Again they were fighting the diminishing forces of General Johnston, and participated in the battles of Aiken, South Carolina, at Goldsboro, New Hope Creek, and Mr. Gillidett and his comrades witnessed the surrender of Johnston's Army near Raleigh. In that locality the Ninety-Second Illinois was kept for guard and patrol duty until August, 1865. Going north, it traveled by train to City Point, Virginia, thence by water to Baltimore, by rail to Chicago, where the regiment was mustered out and given its honorable discharge after three years of strenuous work and service. Mr. Gillidett in spite of the many obvious hardships of service was never wounded nor captured.
During the war his mother had moved to Iowa and Mr. Gillidett joined her there, locating in Hardin County. Having been reared on a farm and having acquired a country school education, he took naturally to farming and continued that vocation in Iowa, until June, 1867. He then removed to Harrison, County, Missouri, and for a number of years was a well known and prominent citizen of that locality. Much of his time there was taken up with the trades of wagon maker and blacksmith. His shop and home were at Bethany, the county seat. He served as deputy sheriff eight years and sheriff four years and for several years was marshal of the Town of Bethany. In 1880 Mr. Gillidett spent some months in Leadville, Colorado, and was on the police force during the Mike Mooney strike. He raised a company of militia for the defense of the city, was its captain and with the company was mustered into the Colorado National Guard. In the fall of 1880 he returned to Bethany and there raised Company I of the Second Missouri National Guard and was its captain two years and then re-enlisted and served another two years.
After retiring from the sheriff's office, Mr. Gillidett returned to his farm in 1886 and continued farming as his principal vocation until he left Missouri to come to Kansas. He had become acquainted with Kansas in the early '70s while selling horses and mules to settlers over this northern region of the state. It was those early visits which finally influenced him to make his permanent home in this state.
For some years after settling in Meade County Mr. Gillidett was engaged in the hotel business at Plains. He erected the Plains Hotel, the first hotel of the town, and was also proprietor of the first livery stable there. He has been identified with farming and with the rural development of the county, and has been a man of action and leadership in politics, religion and other affairs.
His first presidential vote was cast for Mr. Lincoln while in the army in 1864. He has never missed a presidential election and has never deviated from his first choice of party affiliations. Both in Missouri and Kansas he has attended numerous conventions and helped nominate Governor Hoch in this state. About 1872 he joined the Grand Army as a charter member of Bethany Post and was elected its second officer. He has attended national encampments at Chicago, St. Louis, Pueblo and Portland, Maine.
While living at Bethany, Missouri, Mr. Gillidett was converted to religion and about the time he reached his middle years he took up work as a preacher. He attended theological school at Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, and was regularly ordained at Bethany by Elder John S. Allen and W. H. Hook. As a pastor he labored in Northern Missouri and Southern Iowa, also Eastern Kansas, and was a member of the Grand River Association of the Christian Church and served it as district evangelist. Some of his evangelistic work was done in Southern Kansas before he moved to the state. After coming to Meade County he was pastor of the churches at Plains, Fowler, Minneola and Liberal.
In Hardin County, Iowa, January 7, 1866, Mr. Gillidett married Miss Mary J. Rathbone. She was born in McLean County, Illinois, May 20, 1845, daughter of Gideon and Eliza (Howell) Rathbone. Her mother when a girl lived in Spencer County, Indiana, and was a schoolmate with Abraham Lincoln, both sitting on the same bench of one of the backwoods country schools of that section. Gideon Rathbone was born in Ohio August 6, 1809, and lived in Sangamon and McLean County, Illinois, and was a pioneer in Hardin County, Iowa, where he spent the rest of his life. He and his wife were members of the Baptist Church. Gideon Rathbone's mother was Deborah Taylor, a first cousin of General and President Zachary Taylor. Gideon Rathbone was twice married, his first wife being Mrs. Lucy Howell.
Mr. and Mrs. Gillidett have been married more than half a century, and have a large number of children and grandchildren. Their oldest child is Charles W., a resident of Chillicothe, Missouri. He married Minnie Boatright and has two sons, Walter L. and Clarence. Gideon, the second child, a resident of Maryville, Missouri, married Lillian Brazelton, and their children are Everett, Earl and Roberta Mae. George W., of Arkansas City, Kansas, married Sophie Dibble. Emma has twice married and is now the wife of James A. Nere of Colorado and has children named Lee, Charles, Carl, Otto, Raymond and Mary M. By her first husband she was the mother of James Niren Gillidett, now an adopted son of Rev. Mr. Gillidett. The next child in age is Miss Anna Mae, of Plains. Homer lives at Chillicothe, Missouri, and Everett, postmaster of Plains, married Mae McCall and has a son, Dwight Ivan. The youngest of the family is Laura B., wife of Fred R. Johnson, of Monument, Colorado.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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