If you could go back in time or forward to the future, which would it be?
For me, that’s an easy choice. I’d choose the simple life of the past — a time when people lived off the land, ate hearty meals made from scratch, gathered on front porches or at their local Post Office, were patriotic, went steady, were neighborly, left doors unlocked at night and spent Sundays in church and relaxing with the family.
That was the life of my namesake, great-great-grandfather David Gilmore, born March 28, 1867.
Tall and lanky with a happy demeanor, David was the son of Eli and Louisa “Ida” (Mauck) Gilmore and the sixth of eight children — Joseph, Frederick, Sara, Alice, Cora, Samuel and Lorra.
He grew up in Harrison County, Indiana, where he met his future wife Neva Windell.
Hoping to start a new life further west, David and Neva went to Missouri and then headed towards Nebraska. On the way they passed through a community where a tornado had just struck. When they saw about 20 pines boxes lined up, they decided it wasn’t where they were supposed to live and returned to Indiana.
David and Neva had four daughters — Rose, Ruth, Zelma and Louisa — before finally having a son — Nelson.
When David’s brother Sam died, he willed his estate to his brothers and sisters. David bought out his siblings and moved his family to Sam’s farm where he made a living as a farmer. On his 100-acres he grew vegetables and raised cattle, pigs and chickens. He also had a mean donkey that liked to kick! At one time, he owned 200-acres but donated half of his property to the Harrison County Forestry. Ironically, my great-grandfather’s family (Snapp), who lived on the other side of the forest, donated 100 acres as well.
My mother remembers visiting the farm as a little girl. Her family would usually visit the Gilmore farm on Sundays after church; Granny Gilmore would always have a cake and biscuits made. The house was your typical 1800s farmhouse with the bedrooms upstairs, water supplied from a cistern and cast iron wood burning stoves for heating. During these visits David played the fiddle and had a pump organ in his living room that he also played. (Now I know where I get my musical traits!)
David loved people visiting his farm to shoot their guns. He also enjoyed alcohol and made his own moonshine. He was one of those happy-go-lucky people who liked to have fun (another me trait!). According to my mother, life was entertaining for him.
When he died November 30, 1951, he left behind a mystery. During the Great Depression David lost complete trust in banks and, it is said, he buried his money on his farm. My mother remembers his son, Nelson, and grandson, Howard, joking about how gramps would dig holes and hide his money.
David Gilmore is buried in the Heidelberg Church Cemetery, just down the road from his beloved farm, next to his beloved wife Neva. His legacy is his love for life; family and farming.
Until next time…