John Gilliam Settlement

Location: Near the John Stallard place on Birchfield Road about 300 yards on a by-road that heads up here and on the left side of the by-road.

Date: 1840-1842

Owners: John Gilliam bought a very large tract of land around this place about 1840. It is said that he paid for it with a rifle gun. The land that this house stood on is now owned by Kelly and Vicars.

Description: The house here, or that formerly stood here, was a one story log house with a lean-to kitchen. Puncheon floors and board roof. Stone and daubed chimney on the west end. The house also was chinked and mud daubed and faced eastward toward the road.

Historical Significance: John Gilliam built this house and lived here until the Civil War. He was in sympathy with the Federalists and left Wise County about the beginning of the war and moved to Louisa, KY and served
with the Union Army. Henderson H. Dotson lived there during the war.

     John Gilliam was a son of Richard and Judy Gilliam of Scott County, born 1804, died September 27, 1898. His parents were of Scotch Irish extraction and his father fought in the battle of King's Mountain during the Revolution. He fought under Campbell in this battle. John Gilliam emigrated from Scott County in 1842
and settled on Glade Creek, two miles north of Wise Courthouse where he bought several hundred acres of land for a pony and rifle gun. His first wife was  (Hattie) Martha, a daughter of William Elliott of Scott County and
she died at Louisa, KY of smallpox during the Civil War.  He married the second time Elizabeth Smith and the third time Hettie Wilson Vance, better known to the older people of Wise County as Aunt Hettie Gilliam. He enlisted in the Union Army at Catlettsburg, KY, and served until the end of the war. He was with
the command of General James A. Garfield when he destroyed the Confederate breastworks and burned the camp at the Pound Gap, on March 19, 1862 and was with the Union Troops that burned the Wise County Courthouse in 1864, at which fire he saved part of the records from being burned.
     Sometime during the Civil War he was caught for Unionism and sentenced to be hanged. Judge Henry S. Kane of Estilville, (now Gate City) defended him and he was liberated. 
John Gilliam was the first Overseer of the Poor for Wise County, 
elected July 28, 1856.
   His son, William Gilliam, enlisted in Capt. Salyers, Company H, 50th Virginia Confederate Volunteers,
June 3, 1861 but quitted that Company July 27, 1861 and joined the Union forces and died of smallpox at Louisa, KY, sometime during the war. He was born in 1827 and married to Elizabeth, a daughter of Stephen Skeens.
     His son, Martin, also was a member of the above mentioned Company and deserted to serve in the Union Army, July 11, 1861. Martin was born in 1835 and was married to Jane, a daughter of Stephen Skeen.
     His son, Lilburn, who married Cinda Parks also died of smallpox at Louisa, KY during the war.
    John and Martha Gilliam were members of the Big Glades Baptist Church, also William and Martin.
William and his wife Elizabeth joined on August 4, 1848.
     In 1862 Uncle Morgan Lipps was Pastor of this Church, when he was taken a prisoner to Louisa, KY, by the Unionists. John Gilliam was with the squad that captured him and, being a brother to Mr. Lipps in the church as well as friend and neighbor, he promised Aunt Betty Lipps, (wife of Morgan), that he would see that no harm befell her husband.
     After the Civil War was over and peace had been made, John Gilliam again returned to his old home on Glade Creek and there spent the balance of his days.

Source of Information: J. E. Lipps, C. A. Johnson, J. T. Adams and Court and War Records.


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