When wagons carrying Quakers from Pennsylvania reached north central Ohio back in 1818, one stopped to stay in what was then a relatively new Richland County.
Two hundred years later, the legacy of that family is being celebrated in that same location – which, since 1845, is now part of a different county.
When the family of David and Catherine Gill arrived in what is now Galion, they were only the second family of original colonists to do so. They found a camp of Wyandot Indians settled near the Olentangy River; they must have befriended the Native Americans as the Gills also chose to build just north of the river. David Gill became Galion’s first schoolteacher.
Over the next two centuries, the Gill Family became interconnected with well-known figures of local and national history. Relatives and descendants included the Oscar winning playwright of The Philadelphia Story (Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart) and other movies, and also the US Postmaster General who implemented the zip code system. Family friends included notables such as Thomas Alva Edison and his wife, as well as Henry Ford, all of whom visited with the Gills.
The family would build four homes over the next 110 years, three of which still stand. The Gill House on Harding Way West was the largest of these, and this Saturday evening will host “GILL200,” a celebration of both the family and of Galion’s pioneer past. The house at 342 Harding Way West (Galion’s main street) is an architectural landmark in its own right.
From 5 to 8 PM, readers will periodically share stories from the community’s earliest days, and food, music, and abbreviated house tours will be available. The Galion Community Band will perform at 7:00 PM.
The entire event is free of charge, with donations accepted.