Dr. John S. Gilliam


March 18, 1886

 

EARLY HISTORY OF CRITTENDEN

 

Men and Incidents of Other Days.

 

Among the first and best remembered men who were prominent citizens at the time of the formation of the county is

 

DR. JOHN S. GILLIAM,

 

upon whose land the county seat was located. He was a popular physician and also an uncompromising politician. He possessed a good fund of information and was one of the most entertaining talkers in this part of the country. There are many people still living who have sat and listened with open ears and silent tongues to his inimitable style of telling anecdotes, and relating some of the unwritten scraps of humorous historical events. He and his more loquacious friend, Dr. John M. Johnson, were noted far and wide for their inexhaustible wit and humor. And when they were together all others rather chose to be listeners than talkers. Dr. Gilliam did a good practice in medicine as long as his health would allow it, but never seemed ambitious to acquire wealth. On his death, however, he left his family in quite comfortable circumstances. He was charitable and kind and the writer has never heard of a single instance of his oppressing the poor. One or two little incidents will serve a good purpose in showing the nature and disposition of our subject: On one occasion a Mr. Rice, an impecunious countryman, came to the Doctor to sell him a slide. The Doctor said, "Well, sir, what is a slide?" and was promptly answered that it was "something to haul things on." "Yes, sir, I will take six of them if you will make and deliver them to me." And he did actually receive and pay the poor man for the six slides. The man one day asked the Doctor if he wanted to buy a rabbit. "Yes, sir, I will take that one and as many more as you will bring me. Bring on the rabbits;" and for a good while the hogs in the Doctor's lot did not want for a bountiful supply of the inhabitants of the broom sage. When one of the doctor's friends asked him his reasons for these strange investments, he said: "Well, sir, to encourage the man."

He was twice a member of the legislature and was once defeated by Wm. Wallace. He was a candidate for the State constitutional convention in 1849, but was defeated by Hon. H. R. D. Coleman, of whom mention will be made in a subsequent paper.

On another occasion, in making a settlement with a party, he found a difference of two and a half cents and could not make the change. But the man, determined not to lose the amount said: "I am owing Mr. Marble a note of a hundred dollars and you can fix the two and a half cents with him." "All right, sir, walk in. Mr. Marble will you please credit this gentleman's note with two and a half cents and charge it to my account." "Certainly," says Mr. Marble, and readily did it, for it gave jurisdiction of the note to a court whose term came three months earlier than the circuit court. You ask, did Marble sue him? Well, yes.

The writer was not much acquainted with Dr. John M. Johnson, but he was the Kentucky Senator who protested, in his official capacity, against the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln. After events, however, proved that the protest had not a controlling influence upon the President or the destinies of the country.

RASSELAS.

 

Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, March 18, 1886, Image 2 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.

 

[My comments are in brackets.]