Harvey Gillingham was born 8 July 1808 in the area of Yellow Creek at Salsbury, Ohio of Thomas and Fannie (Milner) Gillingham. Harvey Gillingham was a Great Great Great Grandfather of mine who was one of the first settlers in Richland County, Wisconsin.

Harvey Gillingham lived his youth in the area around Salsbury, Ohio. His father, Thomas Gillingham, who was born in 1769 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and moved to Ohio about 1800 owned a salt works and a hotel. Thomas was also reported to be a Justice of the Peace and also served as Chairman of Yellow Creek Township.  Thomas drown in Yellow Creek on 7 July 1826. Harvey's mother was Fannie (Milner) Gillingham who was born about 1770 and died in Ohio in 1845.  Thomas and Fannie Gillingham were Quakers and are buried in the area of Yellow Creek near Salsbury, Ohio but their graves can't be found.  The Gillinghams were descended from Quakers from England.

Harvey Gillingham married Mary Ewing in Ohio on 24 April 1834.  She was born in Maryland on 28 December 1812 and moved with her parents to Ohio in 1815.  Together they had 13 children, Including my Great Great Grandfather Albert Marshall Gillingham.  After their marriage, they lived in a rented log home on Yellow Creek for nine years.  During that time, Harvey was a cooper who made barrels, tubs, churns, and other similar items and did some farming as well.  They moved to a farm in 1843 maintaining his cooper trade and farming.  In 1849, the Gillinghams  moved a short distance away to another log cabin where they lived until 1852 when they moved to Wisconsin.  Harvey never owned any land in Ohio.  He learned that he could buy very fine land in Wisconsin from the government for $1.25 an acre.

And so in fall of 1851, Harvey Gillingham in the company of two nephews, Thomas and Harvey Marshall who were sons of Harvey's eldest sister and others set out for Richland County, WI to look for and buy land.  He found and bought 160 acres in Section 12, in Marshall Township.

Harvey returned to Ohio to get his family and return to Wisconsin.  They sold their property and in the spring of 1852 they departed on their trip to their new home in Wisconsin.  They went to Wellesville, Ohio which is on the Ohio River where Harvey and his wife and mine children, two nephews John and  Simon Marshall, boarded a boat bound for Cairo, Illinois and then up the Mississippi River to Galena, Illinois where they had to wait for nearly 3 months to change to another boat to go up the Wisconsin River to the site of the future Orion, Wisconsin.  During the wait in Galena, their two oldest sons John and Thomas and the two nephews set out for Richland County, Wisconsin on foot to the home of Joseph Marshall the son of Elizabeth Gillingham, Harvey's eldest sister and her husband John Marshall.  Joseph had come to Richland County, Wisconsin in the spring of 1851.

Harvey left his family at Orion and walked twenty-four miles to Fancy Creek.  On arrival, Harvey, Joseph Marshall and others began cutting logs and put up a log cabin on Fancy Creek near the junction of two small creeks with springs.  The home was a simple log home, with split log flooring, and a shake roof.  The gaps between the wall logs were filled with mud or clay.  They completed the log home and went back to Orion to get the family in the company of a Mr. Talbot who Harvey hired to haul the families possessions from Orion to Fancy Creek with a team of horses and a wagon.  Most of the family walked to Fancy Creek.  The going was so rough that one of Mr. Talbot's horses died.  Harvey had to leave his family in the woods for two days with Mr. Talbot and go to Fancy Creek to obtain the help of a neighbor, a Mr. Tadder and his team of steers to help haul the family's goods to their new home.

They headed out for Fancy Creek up Mill Creek valley to Hoosier Hollow where they followed a ridge now known as English Ridge.  They camped for the night and arrived at their new log home on Fancy Creek the next afternoon.  The trip from Orion had taken three days.  The Gillingham family was a pioneer family trying to make a home and living from the land.

Harvey and his two older sons John and Thomas started to clear a small field for planting crops.  This involved chopping down trees and hauling them away.  Some of which were used for other buildings, fencing, and firewood.  They cleared about 5 acres and planted corn, potatoes, and other garden crops.  The field was cultivated by hand with hoes. They also planted corn in a field owned by Harvey's nephew, Joseph Marshall.  It was a good planting and harvesting year producing enough corn and other crops to feed the family and livestock.  Other goods such as flour where procured from a vendor at the landing at Orion.

Most of the clothing for the family was hand made which was made to last longer by patching holes and by passing down clothing to other members of the family.  Boots for the men were bought and the women had shoes but went barefoot in the warm months.  In the summer of 1852, Harvey purchased 4 cows with the last money he had from some settlers on the Wisconsin river which he then had to drive home on foot.  Having no coral or pasture in which to secure the cows, Harvey discovered the cows missing the next morning and found them on the same trail on which they were driven from the river, nine miles from the home.  The family made a crude fence for the cows to keep them in at night but during the day they were allowed to roam the area around the house.  One of the cows died which was a major loss to the family but another had two bull calves in the spring.  The bulls were hitched to a yoke and used for heavy hauling around the farm.  The bulls were later traded for one horse and another horse was gotten by trading two cows for it.

Wheat was planted and harvested for flour and straw. The first wheat crop of 4 or 5 acres was harvested in 1853.  The wheat was beaten or flailed from the straw stalk by hand.  Berries, nuts and other fruit were gathered from the land and members of the family fished and hunted and even trapped bear for meat.  Pumpkins which grew well in the rich soil were a popular crop as well.  Harvey and his family cleared more land for field crops.  Maple trees were tapped for syrup.

A second log cabin was built in 1853 specifically for the younger members of the family.  A third, much larger, two story log home was erected by Harvey in 1859.  Harvey also build the first wood frame barn in the area with the assistance of family and friends.  Harvey, being a cooper,  also made barrels, tubs, and pails for family use. He also made much of the furniture for the house.

In 1855, Marshall Township which had been part of Rockbridge was made a separate township and named for Joseph Marshall the first settler in the township and a nephew of Harvey Gillingham.  Harvey play a key role in the organization of Marshall Township and Richland County.  He helped set up the first schools.  The first school in Marshall was a log building about two miles from the Gillingham home.  Some of Harvey's children attended this school.  In 1857, another log school building was built less than a mile from Harvey's home.

Harvey and his wife were among the first members of the first church formed in Marshall.  It was a United Brethren Church.  At first, services were held in the homes of the members until a log church was built in 1859 next to the current day Spring Hill Cemetery which is where Harvey and his wife's graves are located.

Harvey took ill, developing pneumonia.  He was nursed back to health but died on the 24th of March of 1864.  It is believed that the town of Gillingham is named for Harvey Gillingham.

Much of this information was taken from personal accounts of relatives; a book "The Descendants of Thomas Gillingham", compiled by William Elmer Gillingham; and other sources.

Frederick Allen Osborne