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Eli B. Gilbert Family Collection (DeKalb)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Oversize Drawer 13

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Eli B. Gilbert Family Collection (DeKalb), 1844-1996 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Eli B. Gilbert Family Collection (DeKalb), 1844-1996

ID: RHC/RC/277

Extent: 5.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The collection is arranged chronologically within family groupings, and by type of record.

Date Acquired: 01/25/2007

Subjects: Banks and banking - Illinois - DeKalb - History, Blackman Family, Cooley Family, DeKalb (Ill.), DeKalb Township High School, Gilbert, Lois A., Gilbert Family, Great Fire, Chicago, Ill., 1871, Huntly Family, International Order of Good Templars, International Organization of Good Templars, Jackson Family, Lawyers, Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865., Montgomery Family, Music, Needham Cemetery, Needham Family, Northern Illinois State Normal School, Orr, John S., Simonds, Merritt J., Superior Steel and Wire Company, Trowbridge Family, United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865, United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondence, Wagon trains

Forms of Material: Carte de Visite Photographs, Photographs, Poetry

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Eli B. Gilbert Family Collection spans five generations, all of whom have resided at 210 N. 1st Street in DeKalb.  Materials in this collection date from the 1830's to the 1990's, although the bulk of the collection dates from the 1860's through the mid-1940's. About half the collection consists of photographic materials including ambrotypes, cartes-de-visite, and glass plate negatives.  Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, correspondence, a large number of legal documents, and genealogical information relating to the Eli B. Gilbert family, their descendants and ancestors, make up the remainder of the collection.Also included in the collection is information on Lyman H. Needham, brother of Lois A. Needham Gilbert, who died in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War.

Collection Historical Note

Eli B. Gilbert was born April 12, 1822 in Laurens, New York, the son of Abner and Betsy (Balcom) Gilbert.  After completing his education at Norwich Academy, Eli taught school for six years, the last three in Sycamore, Illinois where he had moved in 1847.  He learned the carpenter’s trade in 1850 and built homes in the area, and on the side he studied law.  1856 was an important year for Mr. Gilbert.  He was admitted to the bar and opened his office in DeKalb in April, was elected Justice of the Peace (an office he held until shortly before his death), and it was also the year he moved his family to DeKalb.  Eli had married Lois Annie Needham (1830-1910) on December 25, 1851, and they eventually had three daughters, Josephine Lodica, Viola May, and Jessie Luella.  The Gilbert’s built their home at 210 N. 1st Street, ca. 1865.  In 1860 he was editor of the DeKalb Leader, and was strongly pro-Lincoln.  Gilbert’s political leanings are also shown by his membership in the Union League, and the Spartan Band.  Among his other activities he was elected President of the Village Board in 1866, was a notary public, served on the school board, and was a member of a number of organizations including the DeKalb Masonic Lodge.  Eli B. Gilbert died at his home on August 30, 1895.       

  Josephine “Fena” Gilbert (1853-1928) married Austin B. Blackman on April 23, 1873, and they had one son, Gilbert Needham Blackman.  Following their divorce in 1876 she married John S. Orr (1853-1915) in October 1883.  Orr, a former school teacher, was a salesman for Excelsior Glove factory at the time of their marriage.  He later became police magistrate, a lawyer, and a justice of the peace in DeKalb.     

Gilbert N. Blackman was born April 8, 1875.  Following his graduation from DeKalb High School in 1895, he studied business at the Chicago College of Commerce.  He married Myrtle Montgomery (1882-1957) of Sycamore, in June 1905.  Their only child,  Alice was born in 1915.  Gilbert Blackman held various bookkeeping and accounting positions throughout his lifetime, among them chief clerk of the DeKalb-Sycamore Electric Company.  He was elected DeKalb city clerk in 1912, a position he held for 20 years.  He died May 3, 1968 in the family home. 

Alice Blackman married Curtis Elwyn Jackson in January of 1938.  They were the parents of two children, Richard and Elaine Jackson.  As of 2007 Elaine Jackson Cozort and her husband Dale reside in the family home on North 1st Street.

Subject/Index Terms

Banks and banking - Illinois - DeKalb - History
Blackman Family
Cooley Family
DeKalb (Ill.)
DeKalb Township High School
Gilbert, Lois A.
Gilbert Family
Great Fire, Chicago, Ill., 1871
Huntly Family
International Order of Good Templars
International Organization of Good Templars
Jackson Family
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Montgomery Family
Needham Cemetery
Needham Family
Northern Illinois State Normal School
Orr, John S.
Simonds, Merritt J.
Superior Steel and Wire Company
Trowbridge Family
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Correspondence
Wagon trains

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Elaine Jackson Cozort and Richard G. Jackson

Acquisition Method: Elaine Jackson Cozort and Richard G. Jackson, of DeKalb and Elk Grove, Illinois respectively, donated materials of the Eli B. Gilbert Family and descendants to the Regional History Center on January 25, 2007.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Box 9],
[Oversize Drawer 13],

Box 8
Item 1: Clipping books (3), [all contain clippings of  marriages, obituaries, poems, stories, recipes, etc.].  #1 [in phase box, fragile], includes Civil War related stories and articles, and women's issues, probably compiled by Lois Annie Needham Gilbert; #2, "Ledger" on front, "Mrs. Josephine L. Orr" written inside; #3, "Day Book" on the spine, probably by Josephine Orr, circas 1851-1867; 1881-1888; 1888-1889

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],
[Box 6],
[Box 7],
[Box 8],
[Box 9],
[Oversize Drawer 13],

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