GILLHAM, WILLIAM WAITS, a well known undertaker of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Ill., was born on the old Gillham homestead, fifteen miles west of Jacksonville, January 9, 1872, the son of William A. and Rebecca (Waits) Gillham, who were natives respectively of Illinois and Kentucky. The founder of the American family was Thomas Gillham, a native of Northern Ireland and of the Presbyterian faith, who came to the United States in 1730 and settled in Virginia. He was the father of seven sons and four daughters, and all his sons and his four sons-in-law served in the Revolutionary War. The author of a "History of the State of Illinois," published in 1849, says that the Gillhams were strong supporters of morality and order. Though born in a slave State they recognized the corrupting influence of that institution, and firmly opposed its introduction into Illinois. The same authority claims that the Convention party of 1824 owed its defeat to the Gillham family and their kinsmen, who, in an almost solid phalanx, cast 500 votes against the proposition to make Illinois a slave State. James Gillham, one of this stalwart company and the grandfather of William W. Gillham, moved to Illinois from the Carolinas in 1805, taking up Government land in what was afterward Morgan County, and is now in Scott County which has remained in the same name, as when preempted from the Government. James Gillham died in 1869, honored and beloved by a host of friends.
Judge William A. Gillham was born on this farm in September, 1833. He was educated at McKendree College and Illinois College. He served four years as County Judge of Scott County, and was widely known for the impartiality and inflexible justice of his judicial rulings. In 1856 he was united in marriage with Rebecca Waits, who was born in 1836, in Harrison County, Ky. He departed this life at the old home, June 27, 1902.
William W. Gillham attended the public schools in boyhood, afterward graduating from Eureka College, and from the United States School of Embalming in New York. After finishing his preparation for practical life, he located in Winchester, Ill., where, in 1896 he established the firm of Gillham & Barton, undertakers. In 1898 he moved to Jacksonville, where he established a rapidly increasing business. Mr. Gillham is a member of the Illinois State Undertakers' Association.
On November 27, 1901, Mr. Gillham was united in marriage with Eva Davenport, of Jacksonville, daughter of L. M. and Adeline (Magill) Davenport.
Fraternally, Mr. Gillham is affiliated with the A.F. & A.M., Jacksonville Lodge, No. 570; Illinois Lodge, No. 4, I.O.O.F.; K. of P. Lodge, No. 152; M.W.A. Lodge, No. 912; D.O.K.K. Lodge, No. 62; and Delaware Tribe, I.O.R.R. Religiously, Mr. Gillham is a very active member of the Christian Church, in which he was elected Deacon in 1904. He also has the honor of serving on the board which supervises the erection of the new Christian Church edifice in Jacksonville.