WILLIAM H. GILBERT
The glory of our republic is in the perpetuation of individuality and in the according of the utmost scope for individual accomplishment. Fostered under the most auspicious of surroundings that can encompass one who has the will to dare and to do, our nation has almost spontaneously produced men of finest mental calibre, of true virile strength and vigorous purpose. The cradle has not ever been one of pampered luxury, but the modest couch of infancy has often rocked future greatness. American biography thus becomes, perhaps, one of more perfect individuality, in the general as well as the specific case, than does that of any other nation of the globe. Of America is the self-made man a product, and the record of accomplishments in this individual sense is the record which the true and loyal American holds in deepest regard and highest honor. In tracing the career of the subject of this review we are enabled to gain a recognition of this sort of a record, for he is a man of broadest intellectuality and one who has attained to distinguished honors. For this reason there is a particular interest attaching to the points which mark his progress in life and in this sketch is amply justified. Mr. Gilbert is still a young man. He was born on a farm near Gettysburg, in Darke county, Ohio, on the 28th of December, 1863, his parents being Henry and Mary (Harry) Gilbert. The father came with his parents from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and settled on a farm two miles west of Covington, near Croft's Mill. He married Mary E. Harry, who came to Miami county in her early girlhood with her parents. The wedding was celebrated January 4, 1863, and they began their domestic life near Gettysburg, Darke county, whence they afterward removed to Miami county. They became the parents of seven children and all are yet living, with the exception of the youngest, who died in childhood. The parents are now residents of Pleasant Hill, this county.
William Harry Gilbert is the eldest son of the family. He was reared on his father's farm, and acquired his preliminary education in the common schools of Ohio. He afterward spent a short time as a student in the Normal school at Portland, in 1884, and was a student in the School at Ada, Ohio, in 1885. He is now a man of scholarly attainments, his knowledge, however, having been acquired principally through a systematic course of study at home. He began reading law in the office of Meeker & Bowman, in Greenville, Ohio, in the spring of 1886, and there remained until November of that year, when he was appointed librarian of the Greenville law library and special court bailiff. He continued his studies in the law library under the direction of the firm of Meeker & Bowman until October 4, 1888, when he was admitted to practice by the supreme court of Ohio. He has since devoted his energies to the profession, and his large clientage attests the public's recognition of his ability.
On the 19th of November, 1890, Mr. Gilbert was united in marriage to Miss Virginia G. Meeker, the accomplished daughter of Judge D. C. Meeker, of Greenville, Ohio. He practiced law in Greenville with fair success until October, 1892, when he removed to Troy and entered into partner-ship with A. R. Byrkett, then one of the leading attorneys of the Miami county bar. That connection was continued until July, 1895, after which Mr. Gilbert was alone in practice until April, 1899, when he was admitted to partnership Leonard H. Shipman, who had formerly been a student in his office. He has devoted his attention exclusively to his law practice. During the eight years of his residence in Troy he has secured a large clientele and has been very successful in winning his cases both before the court and jury. One who knew him well has said of him, "Mr. Gilbert is a hard working, skillful lawyer of sterling qualities. In a modern, well-equipped office he carefully starts his cases, and develops and thoroughly prepares every case step by step, and when he goes into the court room it is with confidence and a well prepared plan of attack and defense. Seldom surprised, and never exhibiting surprise or feeling, he carefully tries his case with coolness, ability and adroitness. He has superior natural abilities, thoroughly believes in his cause, stands by his convictions and ceases to fight only after there is nothing to fight for, and is an aggressive, interminable combatant, often turning defeat into victory by his unswerving loyalty to his cause. One of his best and strongest qualities is his faith in what he undertakes and his ceaseless fidelity to his client, whether rich or poor, or whether for a lucrative fee or merely for the love of his work, and his satisfaction in aiding some helpless person to obtain justice. In a trial he skillfully develops his case in the most favorable light. His addresses to juries are earnest, thrilling and persuasive, and to the court, clear, logical and convincing. Needless to say he is an all-round, successful lawyer, enjoying the confidence and respect of the bench and bar, and is favored with a large portion of the best civil business. As a citizen he is an interested student of politics, and well informed upon all leading issues. He is an earnest Republican, but with no political ambitions. His only ambition being to excel in the broad field of the law.
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