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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



About one-half century of identification with the material up- building of the city and county of Sacramento gave to Mr. Gillespie an intimate knowledge of local resources and possibilities and also brought to him the warm regard of other pioneers, who, with him- self, were truly loyal to the locality of their adoption. In his character no phase stood out more prominently than his affectionate devotion to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, in which faith he had been reared at the old Irish home. Never for a moment of his long life did he swerve from his allegiance to the religion of his choice and for more than forty years he rented a pew in the Sacramento house of worship. From this place he was seldom absent on occasions when services were held and his presence was expected. When finally in July of 1907 his life on earth came to an end he was consoled in his last moments by the prayers of the church and he entered into everlasting rest with the Christian's bright hope of happiness.

Descended from a long line of Celtic ancestry, humble in station but honorable in character, Edward Gillespie was born in county Donegal, Ireland, in 1829, and had such meager schooling as was possible in that locality and at that time. Hoping to find in the new world greater opportunities than awaited him in his native land, he crossed the ocean at an early age and secured employment in the mines of Pennsylvania. Some years after the discovery of gold he followed the tide of emigration to the Pacific coast and secured employment as a miner, but later settled in Sacramento county and here resided for fifty years or more, until the close of his industrious and useful life. For thirty-five years he remained in the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad and was a trust-worthy, intelligent and honored assistant of that company. Fond of his work, Ms home and his church, the latter part of his life refleeted in results the wise training and the sterling principles implanted in his heart during the boyhood days in Ireland.

During 1895 Edward Gillespie was united in marriage with Mrs. Margaret (Dugan) Monson, a native of Ireland and the daughter of parents who were lifelong residents of the Emerald Isle. When still a very young girl she became the wife of John Monson, a native of Germany, but a pioneer of California, where he died in San Fran- cisco prior to 1890. Surviving him, besides the widow, there were two children. The daughter, Viola Monson, is now the wife of Joseph Davy and lives in Sacramento. The son, John Monson, Jr., who received a thorough education, entered the government service during young manhood and was stationed in China for three years, but since 1908 he has been engaged as a vice-consul in India. The only child of the second marriage, Edward Gillespie, Jr., born in 1896, is now a student in the Christian Brothers College at Sacramento, where he is receiving a thorough training for the future responsibilities of business affairs. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011