Through varying scenes of adversity and prosperity, through alternations of hope and fear, through effort and vicissitude, Jesse T. Gilliam, of Plateau valley, Mesa county, living near Collbran, has come to his present estate of worldly comfort and success, and having been tried by both extremes of fortune and never overcome by either, he has all the more enjoyment in his prosperity of today through recollecting the trials by which he secured it. He was born in Clay county, Missouri, in 1837, and is the son of John and Eliza (Clark) Gilliam, the father a native of North Carolina and the mother of Tennessee. The father accompanied his parents from his native state to Missouri when he was but three years old, and there passed the rest of his days, dying in 1867, at the age of fifty-four. The mother lived to the age of seventy-nine, dying in 1894. They were the parents of nine children, Jesse being the oldest. His boyhood and youth were passed in his native county and at Savannah, Andrew county, whither the family moved in his childhood. He remained at home until he was twenty-one, and afterward managed his father’s farm until the beginning of the Civil war. In 1861 he enlisted in the Missouri Home Guards, and in 1862 in Company G, Fourth Missouri Cavalry. In this command he served until the end of his term of three years, and after his discharge re-enlisted as a member of Company H, Thirteenth Missouri Cavalry. He was finally discharged on May 13, 1866, and returned home where he remained until 1872, engaged in farming and raising stock. He then moved to Kansas and continued his operations in these lines of industry in that state for five years. From 1876 to 1884 he lived in the Indian Territory, and the next three years was again in Kansas. In 1887 he came to where he now resides on Kansas mesa, Plateau valley, in Mesa county, having nothing when he settled there but the clothes he wore, his blankets and fifty cents in money. On February 24, 1903, he was married to Mrs. Susan E. Campbell, who has been of material assistance in building up his fortunes and making his home comfortable. Both are highly respected.
Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.