Shelby County


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Samuel I. Gamble

"History of Shelby County, Ohio"
by A.B.C. Hitchcock; Sidney, Ohio; 1913
Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co.; Chicago, IL.
Page 411

     the subject of this sketch, is among the oldest if not the oldest native born citizen of Sidney. He was a son of Samuel and Mary Gamble and became one of the lights of their household, November 18, 1828. The humble domicile stood on the site of James Crozier's carriage factory on Ohio avenue. At that time all north of North street and south of South street was a forest. The streets were ungraveled, the side walks but little better, and no artificial lights penetrated the gloom of night or annoyed
strolling lovers. When Samuel junior was three years old Samuel senior bought 220 acres of land in Salem township for $5 an acre and which now is comprised in the farms of Joseph P. and John Thomas Staleys farms. When old enough Samuel entered the freshman class-in a log school house from which he graduated in due time. completing his education in the edifice with the bark on.
     In 1846 he went to Sidney to learn the cabinet makers trade of James Irwin, Sr., but in two years left for a clerkship in the store of James and Samuel McCullough on the site of Clemens Amann's drug store. The 1849 gold fever raged worse than ever in 1850 and attacked Samuel, his brother William, his father and sixty-one others. Five persons usually accompanied one wagon. Equipped with a wagon made upon honor by the late Jacob Piper, and a yoke of oxen they started for Cincinnati, March 26, 1850, bought provisions there, good bacon, at $2.50 a hundred pounds, took a boat for St. Joseph, Mo., and arrived there April 12. Mr. Gamble, Sr., took sick on the river and died in two days after reaching St. Joseph, where he was buried. The party stayed there for four weeks waiting for grass to start. Two yoke of steers and a yoke of cows were bought when the long journey was commenced. They knew that the land before them did not abound in milk and honey so the cows were bought and furnished them with lacteal fluid but they did not buy a swarm of bees so had to forego the honey. The California trail, beaten by the immense tide of emigration, was a good road over which they averaged about twenty miles a day. The Indians were very friendly giving them no annoyance, but they saw but few buffalo or game of any kind as they did not take kindly to the stream of civilization" across their domain.
     They arrived in California, September 11, losing but one out of their teams, a cow while crossing a desert 40 miles wide. It was estimated that 125,000 people crossed the plains in 1850. Oxen stood the tramp better than horses. Samuel and his brother William, followed placer mining with fair success for thirteen months when they sold their claims, which subsequently proved to be very rich and after staying in the Golden state two years they took a sail vessel on the Pacific for Panama, landing at San Juan and crossed the isthmus where the canal is now being excavated, then took one of Commodore Vanderbilt's sailing vessels for New York, where they arrived just six hours less than a three month's trip and as soon as his sea legs had resumed their normal condition and became land worthy, started for Sidney, finding the burg very much the same as he left it two years before, for the city had not then begun to tear off the moss and stir with growing pains and more modern ideas.
    He bought a half interest in the drug store of his brother-in-law, Benjamin Haggott, situated where Dickensheets grocery on Main avenue now is, then moved to the room now occupied by the Elk saloon, in Poplar street. He soon bought out Mr. Haggot and rented one half the room to S. N. Todd for a book store and after nine years in the business sold out to Todd and Vandegrift. Being of horticultural taste, he engaged in fruit and vegetable raising on his little farm northeast of Sidney and followed it for several years, then moved to Sidney to the double lot near Benjamin's D. Handle factory, where he has lived for thirty years and where he indulges in the luxury of small fruits grown in this climate and which he richly enjoys.
     In March, 1855, he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Cunningham on the farm north of Sidney, latterly known as the Joseph Fry farm. Three sons were born, Wallace, now first steward of the insane asylum at Logansport, Indiana; William, now of Sidney; and John, who lately with his wife returned from a home visit to Sitka, Alaska, where he has lived about twenty years. John went there as teacher employed by the Presbyterian church industrial school, but is now engaged in mining in Chickagoff island, forty miles from Sitka.
     In 1864 Mr. Gamble enlisted in the army and was at Petersburg, Virginia, during the long bombardment of that city, but escaped unharmed.
     Mr. Gamble belonged to the United Presbyterian church here as an active member for forty years and then joined the First Presbyterian church. He has been identified with the Sunday school for more than seventy years and as teacher for fifty years. In politics he has always been a stalwart Republican since the organization, with the outspoken courage of his convictions.
     Such, in brief, is a biography of Mr. Gamble, who for eighty-four years has been identified with Sidney and close vicinity as one of its most esteemed citizens.

Owner/SourceSubmitted by: Diana (Souders) Smith
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