JOSEPH GILL, Among the earliest permanent settlers at Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson County, Ohio, was Joseph Gill, merchant, miller, farmer, stock raiser, banker, and for years the leading spirit in the development of this portion of Ohio. He left his impress on almost everything that tended to advance the civilization of the place in which he chose to found his home, and his name, perpetuated in many enduring ways, is proudly borne by his descendants and kindred, among which latter may be mentioned J.J. and J.W. Gill, of Steubenville, of whom he was a great uncle.
Joseph Gill was born on Kent Island, Md., and lived there until he was thirty years of age, when he moved, probably with other members of his family, to Shepardstown, Va., afterwards living at Winchester and Bunker Hill to Nancy Hanna, and in 1806, with his family and colored servants, whom he had liberated before leaving Virginia, he came to Mt. Pleasant, this county, their house being the sixth built in the village. Mr. Gill's household goods were transported over the mountains by wagons. He bought the whole of Section 17, and immediately began the work of clearing it. He also established a store and continued in mercantile business, in farming and in stock raising for many years. To him is due the credit of importing into Jefferson County the first flock of Merino sheep of the famous Wells and Dickinson stock. In 1816 he founded the Mt. Pleasant Bank, of which he was president. He also, at an early date, built a mill on Short Creek, about a mile north of the town. In 1828 he bought another mill, of John McCurdy. Each was a three-burh mill and both were in operation for a period of twenty-five years. Mr. Gill shipped his flour by flat-boat to New Orleans. He was also a large owner of lands in Northwestern Ohio, and dealt very extensively in pork and beef in what is now Ottawa County, Ohio. Indeed he was a pioneer in the great packing industry, conducting it, as it was then necessarily conducted, without the aid of storage plants, refrigerator cars, or other modern improvements. Mr. Gill died in 1845. He was survived by three sons, William, John and James, and one daughter, Nancy.