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 Mathew Gillespie

Photo added by Bert Sitton

Mathew Gillespie

  • Birth 23 Jul 1788 Virginia, USA
  • Death 16 May 1871
  • Burial Henderson County, North Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 20551680

One of the best known makers of long rifles in Western North Carolina was Mathew Gillespie of Mills River. Mathew was born July 23, 1788, the son of John and Jane Harvey Gillespie of East Fork. Mathew Gillespie was married in 1810 to Elizabeth Sitton, daughter of Philip Sitton, founder of the Sitton Iron Forge of Mills River, and Winifred Bradley, his wife. Elizabeth was born December 31, 1788.
Mathew Gillespie had learned the gunsmith trade from his father, and he learned it well. After marring Elizabeth Sitton, Mathew set up a gun shop along side the iron works of his father-in-law. Mathew soon began turning out the famous Gillespie long rifles, and he was later joined by his five sons, who made rifles at Mills River until the Civil War.
The Gillespie rifle-gun, long of barrel, slender and graceful of stock with a good deal of drop, or crook, became a frontier legend and even created legends, not to mention a few myths. No two were identical and yet many men could spot a Gillespie rifle in wink. Many of them were often ornamented with inlays of brass, German Silver or even coin silver. Silver sights adorned some and at least one was turned out with a sight fashioned with Carolina Gold.
Mathew and Elizabeth Gillespie were both very active members of the Mills River Baptist Church. Mathew Gillespie joined the church in May of 1837 and later that year was appointed to the office of deacon, a position he held for many years. He was a delegate from Mills River to many church conventions and served his church in many ways until his death. Upon his death a memorial was published in the church records which states that he was an inoffensive man and liberal towards the support of the gospel.
Mathew and Elizabeth were the parents of twelve children. Two of their sons, Philip and Wilson, and a son-in-law, George W. Underwood, died in Tennessee, while serving with the Union Army during the Civil War.
Elizabeth Sitton Gillespie died April 11, 1858, and her husband, Mathew Gillespie died May 16, 1871. Both are buried in the Sitton-Gillespie Cemetery at Mills River.

OBITUARY

From the records of the Mills River Baptist Church

The subject of this record is Brother Mathew Gillaspie. He was Baptized into the fellowship of the church by Elder Peter Owen May 30, 1837, was ordained a deacon of the same January 27th 1858. He lived a consistant member of the same for 34 years when his membership ceased with the church Militant. We have no doubt but what he has joined in full fellow ship with the church triumphant. He departed this life May 16th 1871
He was an inoffencive man and liberal towards the support of the Gospel.



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  • Created by: Bert Sitton
  • Added: 20 Jul 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20551680
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mathew Gillespie (23 Jul 1788–16 May 1871), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20551680, citing Sitton-Gillespie Cemetery, Henderson County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Bert Sitton (contributor 46804856) .