REST IN PEACE..
MEMORIAL TO THE FIVE DOCTORS WHO DIED WHILE COMBATING YELLOW FEVER IN DECATUR.
Obituary, The Alabama Enquirer, November 22, 1888
With feeling of profound sorrow, I announce the death of my old and well tried friend, Dr. Wm. G. Gill, of Decatur, Ala., a victim of yellow fever. He was born in Middle Tennessee, on the 24th of April 1819. His death occurred on the 5th day of October, 1888, while in the active discharge of his professional duties to the sick and the dying of that unfortunate city. My old friend was not alone in his heroic devotion to his plague-smitten fellow citizens but, he was among the few who remained to meet the terrors of the pestilence and to give both professional and Christian aid and comfort to the distressed and the suffering. All honor and praise be to those who remained unfaltering at the post of duty and danger. Embalmed be the names and memory of those who fell! Dr. Gill could have fled—being alone, but he would not. He resolved to give his life if need be, rather than abandon those around him, who needed medical aid and comfort. Once before, in 1878, he braved the terrors of the scourge in that city and escaped unharmed, but his faithful wife fell by his side, a victim of that fearful malady. Ten years passed away and the faithful and devoted Christian physician, called to meet another invasion of disease and death, has fallen at the post of duty and gone to join the land of loved ones gone before, for he had buried nearly all of his family. I have no means of learning anything of the last days of my friend, and brother, yet, an intimate knowledge of he man and his life, enables me to speak hopefully and cheerfully of his future state. Forty-five years ago, our acquaintance began in Somerville, Ala., both of us, then young physicians. Our acquaintance soon ripened into an intimacy, which lasted to the end of his life. Dr. Gill, soon acquired a fine professional reputation and a large and lucrative practice. No man stood higher in the medical profession, in all the region than he. He was a student and he was successful.
In 1845, he was happily married to Miss Catherine Kolb, as estimable young lady of the vicinity, who died April 1st, 1857. On the eleventh of December, eighteen hundred and fifty seven, he was married a second time, to Miss Elizabeth Evans of Kentucky, who died as already stated in 1878. Dr. Gill removed to Decatur in 1872 to pursue the practice of his profession. Less than a year ago, he retired from the active duties of a professional life. The coming of the yellow fever called him from retirement. He was a member of the Methodist Church when I first knew him in 1843; and filled the office of class-leader and Stuard, for many years, faithfully and efficiently. He was an earnest, devoted Christian, always contributing liberally and unstintingly to the support of the church out of his abundance. The War left him greatly reduced in fortune, but not in zest and devotion. The manner of his life and his devotion to principle, will be seen from an extract taken from a letter to his brother, Dr. J. L. Gill, of Somerville, Ala., written Sep't 1st, 1888.
"I do not neglect reading my Bible. I have read the Old and New Testaments through carefully, since January. I wish to read them twice this year. The Bible is the Book of books, a precious treasure to those who love to study the will of their Heavenly Father. The older I get, the more I love to read it. It gives me sweet comfort in my saddest, loneliest hours; and I love to become more and more submissive to my blessed Savior. The promise is "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life". So I make my Bible, in my solitary hours, my dearest companion, I engage my mind in trying to live so that I may always look upon death as only a pass-port from a world of trial to the rest that remains to the people of God."
A man who lived thus, was bound to die right, and I rejoice in the prospect of meeting my brother again in the eternal home on high. I could say much and desire to say much of my old friend and brother, but must forbear. I loved him in life, I mourn him in death, and in my heart he shall live while I live. My tears flow with the children and brother of the dear departed. May God cheer and sustain them.-----H. M. Welch, Fayetteville, Ark.
He married first to Rachel Catherine Kolb, 1845.
He married second to Elizabeth J. Evans, 1857.
NOTE. HEADSTONE HAS DEATH DATE OCT 15, 1888 AND OBIT SAID OCT 5, 1888.