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Joseph David Gilbert, Sr., a prominent farmer near San Bernardino, is a native of Cattaraugus County, New York, born in 1827. His grandfather ran away from London, England, and was a soldier in the French and Indian war, also in the Revolution. His father, Truman Gilbert, married Rebecca Fay, a native of England, and immediately after his marriage he moved to the Western Reserve in Ohio, where he remained until 1842, when he moved to the Mississippi river, and from there to Montana, where he died in 1882.
The subject of this sketch kept a ferry at Montrose, across the Mississippi river, for some two years. In 1850 he started across the plains to California. He tarried in Salt Lake City one year. There were twenty-two men and five women in the company, and they had five ox teams and fourteen horse teams. They took turns guarding their stock at night and their rule was to travel from 6 o’clock A. M. to 6 o’clock P. M. each day. They left Springville March 14, 1850, and arrived here May 31, of the same year. He arrived here when there was but one house in San Bernardino, and worked on some twenty-three adobe buildings. He has dealt considerably in land. Where his neat residence stands today on his well improved and fruitful farm, there stood at the time he bought it but a single cottonwood tree to break the monotony of the barren plain.
He was married at Provo, Utah, January 1, 1854, to Margaret M. Barney, a native of Illinois. Her father, Charles Barney, was from Vermont, and died in the Utah valley. They have five children, viz.: Joseph D., Jr., Ellen, now Mrs. Frank Mecham; Emmerme, now Mrs. Oscar Weece; Anna B. and Hattie. Mr. Gilbert is a straight-out Republican and an intelligent worker for his party’s interests.