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Mystery Woman

A Woman is the full circle.
Within her is the
power to create,
and transform.”

... Diane Marie Child



Ancestry of Lillian Gilkey

Written by
Diane Hitchcock-Owens


I never knew my mother’s mother, Lillian Gilkey-Hansell. My mother told me her mother died when she (my mother) was thirteen years old. When I was nineteen years old I visited my grandparents gravesite in San Francisco and noticed that Lillian’s death date was 1941...not 1931. Why my mother told me differently is one of many mysteries about Lillian. What has been rather spooky is how I have come to find her family and “story” in spite of all the family secrets.

One “spooky” story occured about a year ago (2001) when I went to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, with a friend who wanted to research his family’s name. I had a vague memory that Mt. Sterling had been mentioned in some family history but did not have a real clear idea who or how. I was suffering from allergies and was sitting in the car while my friend “walked” the Macapelah Cemetery...the first cemetery we came to as we drove into Mt. Sterling. I felt like getting out of the car and find a place to sit and look out over the the town of Mt. Sterling as it was a beautiful setting. As I was looking for a spot to sit down I turned to a large monument that looked like a good place to sit. When I looked at the name on the monument I just about fell over. It was GILKEY. I somehow had walked right to my Gilkey family plot without a clue they were even buried in the cemetery. This was a great help in getting me started in putting the pieces of the Gilkey puzzle together. I have no idea what led me not only to Mt. Sterling, much less the very cemetery they are buried. I just say “thank you.”

I have since come to find out that her relatives wondered what happened to her as they lost contact with her. Whatever her reasons were are known only to her but she did deny her children and grandchildren the opportunity to know their family. It’s been wonderful finding this family and learning of their history.

Lillian’s family originated in Scotland but migrated to northern Ireland before going to America in the mid 1700’s.

Much of my information has come from descendants of Lillian’s father and the book[The Gilkeys: A History of the Early American Gilkeys and Their Descendants, 1950< MCGILEKEYR/GILKEY HISTORY

The Gilkey name was originally McGilekeyr, a Scottish name that is part of the Campbell Clan.

The first written mention of Campbell in history is Gillespie, in 1263. The Clans early name was Clan O'Duines which was latter changed to Clan Diarmid from a connection with a great Celtic hero, Diarmid the Boar. The original seat of the Clan was either Innischonnel Castle on Loch Awe or Caisteal na Nigheann Ruaidhe on Loch Avich. At first the Clan was under the domination of the MacDougal Lords of Lorne, this was reversed in time by Sir Neil, a staunch ally and companion of Robert the Bruce, by whom he was given extensive lands forfeited by the Lords of Lorne and and other enemies of Argyll. Sir Neil married the king’s sister which resulted in a son, John, who was created Earl of Atholl, he was killed at the battle of Halidon hill in 1333 and with no heir the lands and titles fell out of Campbell hands. The Campbells supported the crown in the 15th century when the royal influence was under severe pressure from the rival crown of Norway and then from descendants of Somerled, former Lord of the Isles. The Lordship of the Isles was broken by the end of the 15th century leaving the Campbells the main power in the area. This struggle for supremacy may be the real cause for the ancient enmity between the Campbells and MacDonalds. In 1445 Sir Duncan Campbell of Loch Awe became Lord Campbell. In 1457 his grandson and heir was created Earl of Argyll. He married one of the daughters of Stewart Lord of Lorne, which brought the Lordship of Lorne to the Campbells. The Campbell family held other earldoms in the north and south of the country; Earl of Breadablane, Earl of Loudoun, Earl of Cawdor. However, internal rivalry for the chiefship threatened to split the Clan, when in 1592 Campbell of Cawdor was murdered during a conspiracy which threatened the life of the young Earl of Argyll and his brother. In 1607 Archibald 7th Earl of Argyll was granted former MacDonald lands in Kintyre and in 1615 Campbell of Cawdor was allowed to purchase Islay and most of Jura which previously belonged to the MacLeans of Duart. In 1645 the Clan suffered its biggest defeat at Inverlochy at the hands of the Irish MacDonalds.

The Gilkey family were in co. Donegal, Ireland ,where three sons of James Gillkie of Duns (Dunse) Scotland ( c. 1625/1630 - 1653). In 1665, James had moved his family to co. Donegal because of religious persecution in Scotland. His three sons later moved to Londonary and then on to America with the Protestant Scot-Irish migration.

One son went to New England where he became the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachuetts. He had a doctorate degree and did historical and religious research.

Robert Gilkey went to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. His children moved to Leesburg and then to West Middlesex.

The third brother went to South Carolina where he owned a plantation. A town was named after him.

I suspect Lillian’s family went first to Pennsylvania and then south to the Carolinas before moving westward into Kentucky where they were among the first settlers of Montgomery County, Kentucky.


(Ca 1740-1818)

The first Gilkey on my “tree” found thus far is Charles Gilkey, born about 1740 in co., Donegal, Ireland. At this point it is not known from which of the three Gilkey brothers Charles is a descendant. He may be descended from the brother who went south as he married Elizabeth Ferguson in North Carolina. She may have been the daughter of Robert and Sara (Sims) Ferguson. Robert Ferguson came to America in 1750 with his wife and at least two sons. The family settled near Ft. Pitt (presently Pittsburg) Pennsylvania and remained in the area for ten years. In 1762 the family moved to York County, North Carolina.

Prior to the American Revolutionary War the Fergusons moved to North Carolina, and settled in the extreme western mountainous section of this Lincoln County.(Gaston County).

Elizabeth’s brother, Robert, Jr moved in 1777 and bought land and settled on the headwaters of Long Creek and Little Long Creek. Col. Ferguson followed in 1779 and bought or secured by grants some 500 acres on the headwaters of the middle fork of Crowders Creek and settled at the foot of the south slope of Kings Mountain, "the nearest farm to the Kings Mountain Battlefield." Theh farm became known as the "Old Ferguson Home Place." Andrew Sr. in 1783 bought 200 acres of adjoining that of the "Old Home Place" up on Crowders Creek. Here these three Fergusons families lived the rest of their lives.

For more on the Battle at King's Mountain go to:

Battle of King's Mountain

Robert died in 1794. He bequeathed to three of his sons his green coat, corduroy britches and velvet tucket and all his books and to each of his daughters her individual pony, saddle and bridle, bed and bed clothes, and spinning wheel. To his wife Sarah (his second wife) the "Plantation" and arranged for the bringing up and schooling of his two youngest sons: Thomas (born 1780) and Andrew, Jr. half-brothers of Robert Jr. and Andrew, Sr."

The Gilkey family may have been part of the same migration from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas. According to family tradition our branch of the “tree” went first first to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then to North Carolina. From the Carolinas Charles and Elizabeth migrated to Kentucky where they were among the first families to settle Montgomery County. Charles died December 04, 1818 in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.

The tax list of 1790 for Fayette Co., Kentucky, shows a Charles Gilkey. LDS records show a John Gilkey residing in Caldwell, Kentucky in 1795. He had a son, William, born 13 May 1795.

Charles and Elizabeth had ten children:

i. ANDREW GILKEY, b. Abt. 1775.

ii. ELIZABETH GILKEY, b. Abt. 1775.

iii. REBECCA GILKEY, b. Abt. 1775. iv. SALLY GILKEY, b. Abt. 1775.

v. THOMAS STEWART GILKEY, b. March 17, 1777, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY; d. July 20, 1843, Carmago, Montgomery Co., KY.

vi. WILLIAM M. GILKEY, b. 1783, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY; d. July 1864.

vii. JOHN FERGUSON GILKEY, b. April 19, 1795, Putnam Co. IN; d. February 03, 1863, Putnam Co., IN.

"William Larabee Lee Gilkey writes that: "The Gilkey and Ray family were above the average and were classed with the aristocracy in Kentucky, being slave owners." In another letter, he writes, "My father, John Ferguson Gilkey, was a large man about 250 lbs., large limbed, and as fine a speciman of manhood as you could see anywhere, not overdone nor underdone in any point, a fine appearing man, a pleasant face, smooth shaven, except for his side whiskers before his ears, always neat in appearance, even in his working clothes. He would put on a clean shirt and shave to go to the mill or the blacksmith shop. He was a very mild spoken man, never heard him use any profance language or smutty talk. Never struck one of his children and never saw him strike a dumb animal. He always seemed to have a kind of hidden smile on his face when about his work, not quarrelsome or abusive, but would not take an insult from any man, would slap his face or knock him down and walk away just as though nothing had happened. My mother, familiarly known as Aunt Sally, got a receipt for a liniment from her cousin and took it to Dr. Cook to be filled, It is known as Aunt Sally's Liniment throughout Putnam County to this day." [The Gilkeys: A History of the Early American Gilkeys and Their Descendants, 1950]

viii. ROBERT GILKEY, b. June 28, 1799, Clark Co., KY; d. 1847, Montgomery Co., KY.

ix. CHARLES P. GILKEY, b. 1808.




Thomas Stewart Gilkey, son of Charles and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Gilkey, was born in Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky, on March 17, 1777. Thomas married Grace Foreman, daughter of Benjamin Foreman.

The Foreman family migrated from Monmouth County, New Jersy, to Hampshire County, West Virginia. Grace’s grandfather, Benjaim Foreman built Fort Forman which was located along the South Branch..

Thomas and Grace resided in the nearby town of Carmago on Brush Creek. Grace died on November 19, 1798 in Mt. Sterling. Thomas died July 20 1843 in Carmago. Thomas and Grace had seven children. His son Charles remained in the area although other members of the family moved westward.

i. MARY B. GILKEY, b. October 31, 1799.

ii. CHARLES GILKEY, b. January 10, 1802, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY; d. March 10, 1880, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY.

iii. JOSEPH ALLEN GILKEY, b. January 16, 1807, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY; d. August 12, 1876, Indianola, Vermilion Co., ILL.

iv. MARTHA B. GILKEY, b. January 16, 1807.

v. BENJAMIN FOREMAN GILKEY, b. September 10, 1807.

vi. WILLIAM OSBORN GILKEY, b. June 12, 1811, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co, KY; d. November 26, 1881, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery Co., KY

vii. DAVIS THOMPSON GILKEY, b. December 02, 1814.



Joseph was born January 16, 1807 in Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky. He married Lucinda Herriot in Mt. Sterling. They moved to Vermilion County, Illinois where Lucinda died on January 31, 1847. Joseph then married Cythianne Sullinger on October 28, 1847. Following her death he married a third time, Alma Lewis, on September 14, 1854. Joseph died on August 12, 1876 in Vermilion County, Illinois. Joseph had a total of thirteen children by this three wives.

His children by Lucinda were:

i. THOMAS EPHRIAM GILKEY, b. June 18, 1828, Ill.

ii. ELSIE ANN GILKEY, b. March 11, 1830.

iii. HARRIET ELEANOR GILKEY, b. October 25, 1831, Vermilion, Ill.

iv. LUCINDA GILKEY, b. February 25, 1837, Vermilion, Ill.

v. CHARLES FORMAN GILKEY, b. September 15, 1837, Vermilion, Ill; d. February 28, 1863.

vi. JOSEPH ALLEN GILKEY, b. December 16, 1839, Vermilion, Ill; d. June 01, 1918, Eugene, Lane, OR.

vii. WILLIAM THOMPSON GILKEY, b. November 25, 1840, Vermilion, Ill.

viii. JAMES SILAS GILKEY, b. September 16, 1843, Vermilion, Ill.

ix. MARY E. GILKEY, b. February 25, 1845, Vermilion, Ill.


x. CAROLINE GILKEY, b. February 07, 1849, Vermilion, Ill.

xi. BENJAMIN GILKEY, b. September 19, 1850.

Children of JOSEPH GILKEY and ALMA LEWIS are: xii. EMMA GILKEY, b. Abt. 1855; d. October 05, 1880, Vermilion, Ill.

xiii. CLEMENTINE GILKEY, b. February 26, 1869, Ill; d. February 21, 1871, Ill.



Joseph was among the first settlers in Vermilion, Co., ILL, where he purchased land in what is now Carroll Township. He was a farmer and carpenter.It is reported that he was also a "soldier." I would suspect he fought in the Civil War.

The family moved from Illinois to St. Clair County, Missouri. There he helped to build the first Methodist Church in Mt. Zion. He also built many homes. Circa 1890 Joseph and his second wife, Emily Ann Dean, moved with their three children to Lane County, Oregon.


i. MARY CATHERINE GILKEY, b. January 17, 1859.

ii. HENRY GILKEY, b. July 06, 1861, Vermilion, Ill.

iii. ALMA GILKEY, b. July 14, 1863, Vermilion, Ill.

She married H.C. NORTH.

iv. GEORGE GILKEY, b. 1865, Vermilion, Ill. Married Laura Edwards.


Hannah married OLIVER MORTON GONZER. After the death of her husband Hannah sold the farm at Princeton and her moved with daughter, Flora, then 16 years old, to Washington state where they lived with Emma, another daughter, at Farmington. They were there until Emma's youngest child, Harvey, was born. They then went to Snoqualmie and lived with Dora, another daughter, and her husband, Leon. This was in 1927. While there, they both worked in the cannery for a short time. Hannah, (Grandma), lived with Dora for a few years, then went to Longview, Washington, to stay with Murry, her son, who at that time was divorced from his wife, Ethel. Murry's brother, Ralph, also lived at Longview at this time, and Grandma was at his house helping to take care of the children when the twins, Arlene and Darlene, were born. They were seven days old when grandma, after putting Dean to bed, laid down on the bed with him, and died suddenly of a heart attack. This was October 10, 1932, and she was only 60 years old. She was taken by train to Freeze, Idaho to be laid to rest forever by her husband Oliver.

Children of JOSEPH GILKEY and EMILY DEAN are:

i.SARAH GILKEY, b. July 19, 1882, St. Clair, MO; d. October 2000. Married her cousin, Zebulan Gilkey.Sarah and Zebulan’s children:

a. ALMEDA FERN GILKEY, b. September 06, 1902.

b. RALPH VERNON GILKEY, b. April 17, 1904.


ii.JOSEPH SUMMERS GILKEY, b. September 1884, St. Clair, MO.

iii.HARRISON DEAN GILKEY, b. June 1887, St. Clair, MO; m. GERTRUDE EVERDING.d. 1925,Posser WA. “Dean” was a physcian. Died of lung cancer.

iv.LILLIAN GILKEY, b. March 19, 1891, Springfield, OR; d. July 23, 1941, San Francisco, CA.



Lillian Gilkey was the youngest daughter of Joseph Allen Gilkey and his second wife, Emily Ann Dean-Gilkey. She was born on March 19, 1891 in Springfield, Oregon, shortly after her parents and siblings moved from Lowry City, Missouri, to Land County, Oregon. She grew up in Eugene where her father had built a home. She was educated in the public schools and was the first to go to college. She earned a degree in botany from the University of California. It was there she met Harry Guthrie Hansell. They were married on June 30, 1915. Lillian and Harry resided in San Francisco where Harry was a teacher and principal in the public school system. They had two daughters, Carol Anne and Louise.

Lillian died on July 23, 1941, three months after being diagnosed with lieukemia.

For more on related families go to: My Home Page


For more on Dean family go to: Dean

 For more on my lines go to the following sites.

For more on my lines go to the following sites.

New England Ancestors

Ancestry of Emily Ann Dean

Haight Family

Silas Wright West (1846-1918)

Ancestors of Paul Robert Owens

Carothers Family of Swissvale, Pennsylvania

The Grand Dame

Ancestry of Lillian Gilkey




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