S. J. R. GILBERT is one of the prominent business men of Redding, California. He is a native of Akron, Ohio, born June 20, 1847. His father, J. R. Gilbert, was born in Woodstock, Vermont, in 1806, and his mother, nee Dorcas Fillebrown, is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. As captain of a large train, J. R. Gilbert came across the plains to California in 1849. He located in Shasta County and engaged in mercantile business. In 1852 he returned East for his wife and their little son, the subject of this sketch. His store in Shasta was in the California Exchange, a building which cost $30,000. Two weeks after his return to this state that building and contents were burned to the ground, without insurance. This left Mr. Gilbert in greatly reduced circumstances and out of business. He was then elected and served the county two terms as Treasurer, after which he was enabled from his earnings and sale of remaining property to build a brick store and residence and engage again in the mercantile business. He continued there until 1868, when the depreciation of business and property at Shasta induced him to seek new fields of operation. He then turned his attention to fruit farming, but afterward sold out and engaged in the hardware business in Redding. His death occurred in 1883.

After the death of his father, Mr. S. J. R. Gilbert purchased the interest of the other heirs and the firm of Gilbert, Miller & Eaton was formed. In 1883 Gilbert, Miller & Eaton had erected a brick building on California Street, 51 x 140 feet, in which the Gilbert Hardware Company, successors to Gilbert, Miller & Eaton, now have a large stock of hardware. They do tinning and plumbing and some wholesale business. Theirs is the pioneer hardware store of Redding. In 1887 Mr. Gilbert built a comfortable and attractive home at the corner of East and North Streets. January 1, 1866, he wedded Miss Elizabeth Wilhelm, a native of New York and of German ancestry, her parents arriving from Germany a short time before her birth. Their union has been blessed with seven children, six of whom are living: Mary W., wife of Mr. J. P. Eaton, a member and vice-president of the Gilbert Hardware Company; George W., their book-keeper; Fred S., who is working in the shop; Walter F.; Stella M.; and J. R., Jr. Mr. Gilbert has the honor of having been grandfather at the age of thirty-seven years, and now at forty-three has three grandchildren. The family are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Gilbert is a member of the A. O. U. W. and the Masonic fraternity. He cast his first vote for General Grant and has continued in the ranks of the Republican party ever since.

Source: Memorial & Biographical History of Northern California, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1891
Transcribed by: Wendy Sandino

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