JESSE PHILIP GAMBILL. Firmly established on his farm on the water-course of Sandy, in Montague county, is Jesse P. Gambill, whose life record it is our privilege to herewith present. He settled in the Selma neighborhood in the fall of 1881 and is now almost within calling distance of the spot upon which he first located. First as a stockman and farmer and later as purely a tiller of the soil he has achieved success and provided himself and his children with sufficient of the substantial things of life to guarantee them, with wise management, a fair degree of independence through life.
Mr. Gambill came to Montague county from Cooke county after having passed fourteen years there. He was a young man of twenty-two when he came to the state and he found work with Mulhall and Scalings, large ranch men in Cooke county. He had charge of their outfit for six years and drew a salary of sixty-five dollars a month. While he was not economical, intentionally, he accumulated something from his salary and his “privileges” so that when he left his employers he was able to engage in farming, on rented land, with some degree of independence. During the first year he had the goodness to go a friend’s security and when he got through with that he was pretty well “cleaned up.” He buckled on the armor a little tighter thereafter and retrieved his fortunes so that he had four horses and thirteen head of cattle when he started life on Sandy, in Montague.
The first land he ever owned was a tract of one hundred and sixty acres where he first settled, at Selma, and this he was “paying out” when he sold it and in 1889 purchased his present home place. His efforts on this, together with those of his family, have enlarged his farm to two hundred and thirteen acres, provided one son with a farm of one hundred and eighty acres.
Jesse P. Gambill was born in Bedford county, Tennessee, November 10, 1848. His father, Newton C. Gambill, was a native of the same county, where his father, Newton C. Gambill, settled from North Carolina in an early day. They were large and successful farmers prior to the war, owning much land and many slaves and the president’s emancipation proclamation caught Newton Gambill, Jr.’s estate with thirty souls to be freed. When the war came on Newton, Jr., was completing the organization of a company to enter the Confederate army when, in July, 1861, he was taken ill and died. In the early times he was a Knownothing in politics, but when the issues of the war brought the conflict close to hand he added his voice and his work to the cause of the south. While the hand of death removed him just as the crisis came and prevented his taking the field, five of his sons served their country under the stars and bars and all passed through and lived to witness a reunited nation.
Newton C. Gambill, Jr., married Minerva Phillips, a daughter of John Phillips, a Pennsylvania settler to Tennessee. Mrs. Gambill died in 1867, at the age of about sixty-three, and, at his death Mr. Gambill was also sixty-three years old. Their children were: Thomas, John, William and Newton C. All served in the army and died in Tennessee leaving families: Jesse P.; Martha, of Oklahoma, married Wiley O’Neal; Puss, who passed away in Tennessee, was the wife of Sargent Price; Susan, wife of Joe King, died in Arkansas and Minerva, of the old home state, married S. Phillips.
Jesse P. Gambill joined the southern army in the spring of 1865 and was in Company B, Colonel Biffel’s Regiment, Eighth Tennessee Cavalry. He remained in middle Tennessee and fought at Shelbyville and Marshall and was in numerous little “brushes” with the enemy before the fatal 9th of April of that year. He was at Lewisburg when the war closed and he went back to the farm at once and engaged in the labor of his youth.
October 8, 1874, Mr. Gambill was united in marriage in Cooke county, Texas, with Miss Virginia Barrett, a daughter of Thomas Barrett, from Maury county, Tennessee. Mrs. Gambill was born in Hopkins county, Texas, November 6, 1851, and was brought up in Cooke county. She died April 28, 1897, being the mother of : Flavius J. and Lula, with the paternal home; Vera, wife of Will Evans, of Montague county, and Virginia and Jesse, are their children; Landis, Myrtle and Virginia are the remaining members of the family.
As a citizen of his county Mr. Gambill has been plain, unobtrusive and unambitious, save for a fair measure of success. Politics have not emblazoned his horizon with glittering prospects nor religious fanaticism occupied his mind. When he has voted the Democratic ticket he has done his whole duty in politics and when he has supped at the communion of the Christian church he has fulfilled his mission as a follower of the Master.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 600-601.