JESSE ELI GILLILAND. There is probably no older family living in Callahan county to-day and connected therewith through continuous residence than the Gilliland family. John T. Gilliland, the father of Jesse Eli Gilliland, was the youngest child of Eli Gilliland, and the family came from southwestern Tennessee to Texas, having previously lived in the vicinity of Memphis. Eli Gilliland served as a soldier in the war of 1812, under General Jackson, and later rendered military service to his country in the Mexican war under General Taylor. It was about the year 1826 that Eli Gilliland came to Texas, at which time the state was under Mexican rule. He obtained a land grant form the Mexican government which he located in Angelina county, consisting of a league and a labor of land amounting to four thousand seven hundred and eighty-two acres—which was the usual amount given to the heads of families as an inducement for them to settle here.
John T. Gilliland was four years of age when brought by his parents to this state. Following the attainment of his majority he lived in Nacogdoches county and in Angelina until 1852, when he removed to Tarrant county, residing there continuously until 1871. In that year he took up his abode in Brown county, whence he afterward went to Callahan county in 1874. The latter became his permanent place of abode, although his death occurred in Hood county, in 1878, when he was fifty-six years of age. He had been married in May, 1849, to Miss Rebecca Monteith, who was of Irish descent, and was born in Monroe county, Tennessee. He was a stock raiser by occupation, and was principally engaged in that business throughout his active life. His wife died in Callahan county at the age of sixty-two years. They reared a family of eight children, six sons and two daughters, of the eleven children who were born unto them.
Jesse E. Gilliland, the subject of this review, was born in Angelina county, Texas, March 10, 1850, and as soon as old enough to ride a pony he began tending cattle for his father on the plains, and in the years that have followed has given a large portion of his life to this employment. In 1875 he obtained a ranch of his own in Callahan county and operated it as a cattle ranch until 1879, when he sold out.
On the 19th of September, 1885, Mr. Gilliland was united in marriage to Miss Miranda Loette Tanner, a native of Erath county, Texas, and they now have five living children, Elvia, Perry D., Samuel H., Rexie and William Eli. They also have two children who died in infancy.
In 1889 Mr. Gilliland entered the office of the county assessor as deputy under T. J. Norrell, with whom he remained for thirteen years, and for the past four years he has occupied a similar position in the office of the sheriff and tax collector under T. A. Irvin. In this capacity Mr. Gilliland has become a familiar figure in the court house, and he is faithful and diligent in the discharge of his official duties, while in the community at large he is recognized as a valued and esteemed gentleman. Since 1880 he has been identified with the Masonic fraternity, and is in hearty sympathy with the teachings of the craft which has its basic elements in mutual kindliness and brotherly helpfulness. He has taken the various degrees of the lodge, chapter and council and he is also an Odd Fellow, having joined that organization in 1877.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 444.