WILLIAM B. GILBERT, lawyer, Cairo, Ill., is a son of Hon. Miles A. Gilbert, whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume, and Ann Eliza (Baker) Gilbert. He was born September 24, 1837, in Kaskaskia, Ill.; obtained a classical education in Shurtleff College, of Upper Alton, and began the study of law in the office of his grandfather, Judge David J. Baker, Sr. At the age of twenty, he became a student in the law office of Krum & Harding, of St. Louis, continuing his reading with them for one year. In May, 1859, he was admitted to practice, and soon after entered the senior class in the Law Department of Harvard University, graduating therefrom, with the degree of LL.B., in July, 1860. In the summer of 1861, he took the degree of A. M. from St. Paul's College, Mo. He began the practice of his profession in Genevieve, Mo., associated with Hon John Scott, one of the most eminent and able lawyers of Missouri. In the spring of 1862, owing to the suspension of the Missouri courts, he removed to Illinois, and located at Alton, forming a partnership with his uncle, H. S. Baker, which continued until March, 1865, when he came to Cairo, and associated himself with Gen. I. N. Haynie and B. F. Marshall. By reason of Mr. Haynie's appointment to the office of Adjutant General of Illinois, Mr. Gilbert became the leading member of the firm, and continued in the chief control of its immense and important business until May, 1867, when, by the withdrawal of Haynie and Marshall, he was left in the possession of a practice second to none in Southern Illinois. In June, 1867, he formed a partnership with Judge William H. Green, and still continues an active member of the firm of Green & Gilbert, which includes a junior partner in the person of his brother, Miles F. Gilbert. They have charge of the legal business of the Illinois Central, New Orleans, St. Louis & Chicago, and the Cairo & St. Louis Railroad Companies, the Cairo City Property Company, City National Bank and other corporations. Mr. Gilbert was admitted to practice in the Federal courts in 1865, and to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1873, and in that court represented his firm as counsel for Phillips in the case of the Grand Tower M. M. & T. Co. v. Phillips and St. John, involving a judgment of $200,000. He was married, in 1866, to Miss Kate Barry, daughter of A. S. Barry, and has a famf three sons, viz.: Miles S., William C. and Barry Gilbert. The genealogy of the Gilbert family traces back to some of the most distinguished characters in English history, and was first represented in the United States by five brothers, who settled in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut, the father of our subject being a descendant of the Connecticut branch. Mr. Gilbert is an influential member and a Vestryman in the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 17-18.
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