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David W. Gilbert papers

Creator: Gilbert, David W. (David William), 1839-1918

Date: 1791-1940

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Ms. Coll. 351

Unit ID: 40351

Biographical sketch:

David W. Gilbert: Union Civil War soldier (Co. D, 24th Ohio Infantry; Co. B, 2nd Ohio Heavy Artillery), farmer, insurance agent. Of Ohio; Sumner County, Kan.

William Gilbert: Of Virginia; Preble County, Ohio.

Abstract: Diaries of David W. Gilbert written while a member of Co. D, 24th Ohio Infantry (1861-62), and Co. B, 2d Ohio Heavy Artillery (1863-65), in western Virginia (now West Virginia), Tennessee, and Kentucky. During the interim he worked around Emerald, Ohio, and described events in Adams County. V.[1] includes an account of Hope, Rich and Co. with Edwin M. Gregory, Jan.-Feb. 1856. Included in the collection is family biographical information and a mathematics copy book, 1791, of David's grandfather, William Gilbert.

Space Required/Quantity: 0.4 ft. (1 box)

Title (Main title): David W. Gilbert papers

Titles (Other):

  • Memoranda and note books
  • Papers [Portion of title]
  • Note books and memoranda


Biog. Sketch (Full):

David William Gilbert was born on 28 April 1839 in Brown County or Highland, Ohio, to Walter Griffin (1815-1886) and Martha Sarah ("Sallie") Early (1814-1908) Gilbert. He grew up in Adams County, Ohio, attended the National Normal school in Lebanon, Ohio, and taught school.

When the Civil War erupted, he enlisted in Company D, 24th Ohio Infantry, on 27 May 1861, at Camp Jackson (Ohio). He was plagued by poor health throughout his first enlistment, but did see action at the Battle of Perryville in Perryville, Kentucky, 8 October 1862, while his regiment formed part of the Union Army of the Cumberland. Earlier the Regiment had been stationed in western Virginia, now West Virginia, as a component of the Army of the Ohio. In November of 1862 Gilbert was ordered to the regimental hospital near Nashville; on 24 December he was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate of disability. After arrival home, he recuperated and worked for a sugar-making concern in the winter of 1863. When spring arrived, he worked as a laborer until 4 July when he again enlisted, this time in Company B of the 2d Ohio Heavy Artillery. He was promoted to corporal on 5 August and to sergeant on 7 September, but reduced on 4 October 1864, possibly because of sickness. During this time the 2d Heavy Artillery Regiment was stationed in Kentucky and Tennessee.

He married Susan (Sue) Chapman (1844-1901) on 28 April 1864; they had six children: Ettie May (McNeil) (1867-1907), Walter G. (1871 or 1873-1871 or 1873), Raymond W. (1875- ), Mabel (Stayton) (1877- ), Ralph Early (1881- ), and Carl R. (1885- ).

David went to Missouri right after the war, but returned to Ohio. Later he went to Topeka, Kansas, but again did not stay long. In 1880 the family came to Sumner County, Kansas; they lived outside Clearwater, later near and in Mayfield. He farmed and later sold insurance. He was a Methodist.

After Sue's death, David married Mrs. Charles Bentley on 11 March 1903. He died on 11 February 1918 at Mayfield.

David's grandfather, William Gilbert, was born 1 March 1776. With his wife, Margaret (Fryer) (1777-1822), their five children, and his brother, Nathan, William moved from Virginia to Ohio. In 1808, he purchased 202 acres of land on East Fork near Ebenezer in Preble County. William served as a captain in the War of 1812. William and Margaret had twelve children: Elizabeth, Ruth, Nathan, John, Sarah, William, Alex. B., Rachel, Walter G., Peggy, Robert D., and Benjamin. After Margaret's death, William married Elizabeth Anderson; they had two children: Harvey A., and an infant who did not survive. His third wife was Elizabeth Ramey. He died 28 October 1830.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

This collection contains primarily twelve volumes of “Memoranda and Note Books” of David W. Gilbert (1839-1918) of Emerald in Adams County, Ohio, for the period 12 June 1861 through 12 April 1865. For most of this time Gilbert was a member of the 24th Infantry and the 2d Heavy Artillery, both Ohio volunteer regiments in the Union Army in the Civil War.

As might be expected, the diaries contain his observations on the events around him. Most of these pertain to his military duties. He also reports news of the ongoing war effort, particularly during periods he was hospitalized. While he was out of the service the first six months of 1863 he tells of his activities at home and mentions events in and around Emerald in Adams County, Ohio. Gilbert attended night school and dabbled in Pittman shorthand; references to his interest in orthography appear throughout the diaries.

Most of the diary entries are in pencil. With one exception, Gilbert did not use preprinted diary volumes but instead wrote in small memorandum books. The first volume has Hope. Rich and Co. in Account with Edwin. M. Gregory. David W. Gilbert [sic] on the cover. Four pages at the beginning of this book contain the account between the two for the months of January and February 1856. Most of the books contain some of Gilbert’s financial accounts at the end; names and addresses of comrades and acquaintances also appear in several volumes. The eighth volume containing daily entries for 23 November—31 December 1862 is a printed diary. Sporadic entries as early as 25 February were made in it prior to 23 November. These entries do not necessarily duplicate those for 1863 in the seventh volume.

The diaries end in April 1865, four months before Gilbert and Company B were mustered out of service.

Included in the collection is family biographical information and a mathematics copy book, 1791, of William Gilbert, grandfather of David W. Gilbert.

Contents: William Gilbert. Mathematics copy book, 1791, 1 item -- David W. Gilbert. Memoranda and note books, 1861-1865, 12 v. -- family biographical information, [created] 1939-1940, 1 folder.

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Locator Contents
006-13-07-10  Memoranda and note books, 1861-1865: Use microfilm MS 1183.02 


  • MS 1183 no. 2: Memoranda and notebooks 1861-1865


Index Terms


    United States. Army. Ohio Heavy Artillery Regiment, 2nd (1863-1865). Company B.
    United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 24th (1861-1865). Company D
    Hope, Rich and Co.
    Gilbert family
    Adams County (Ohio) -- Description and travel
    Kentucky -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Ohio -- Description and travel
    Ohio -- Genealogy
    Tennessee -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
    West Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Gilbert, David W. (David William), 1839-1918 -- Diaries
    Gregory, Edwin M.
    Soldiers -- Ohio -- Diaries
    American diaries

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Use and reproduction:

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

The Kansas State Historical Society does not own literary property rights to this manuscript. It should be assumed that copyright belongs to the heirs of David W. Gilbert.

Add'l physical form: Memoranda and note books, 1861-1865, 12 v.: Microfilm. Topeka [Kan.] : Kansas State Historical Society, 1984; microfilm roll MS 1183.02.

Holder of originals: Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).

Holder of duplicates: Memoranda and note books, 1861-1865: Ohio History Connection (Columbus): MIC 154.