Contributed by Charlene Holland

Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas
The Southern Publishing Company, Chicago and Nashville, 1891.


      No name is justly entitled to a more enviable place in the history of Scott County, Ark., than the one which heads this sketch, for it is borne by a man who has been usefully and honorably identified with the interests of this county, and with its advancement in every worthy particular. He owes his nativity to Johnson County, Ark., where he was born on October 30, 1827, being the eighth of twelve children born to Hugh and Rachel (McKinzie) Gilbreath, both of whom were born in Illinois, and came to Arkansas about 1825, locating on a large tract of land in Johnson County, where the father died after about twenty years. He was a large landowner; made many improvements on his property, but a short time prior to his death he moved across Spadra Creek and there on a farm, passed from life. The subject of this sketch was reared to a farm life, but received but few educational advantages in his youth. In 1848 he was married to Miss Catherine James, a native of Arkansas, and daughter of Joseph James, a pioneer of this region from Kentucky. After his marriage Mr. Gilbreath moved to the Fourche River in Scott County, and entered 120 acres of land on which he lived for eight years, making, in the meantime, many valuable improvements. After serving as justice of the peace for some time he was, in 1858, elected county clerk and moved to Waldron to take charge of the office, being continuously re-elected thereafter until 1874, when he resigned. During the war he took the county books and records to Sedalia, Mo., for safety, returning after the war and serving until the above-mentioned date. He was nominated by acclamation by both parties for representative, was elected in the fall of 1873 and served with faithfulness and ability for two sessions. He has served with distinction in other capacities, but for some time has been living in retirement. In 1873 he was admitted to the Polk County bar, while on a visit to that county, and was actively engaged in the practice of law for many years, but is now doing only a small business in the probate court of the county. After his return from the Legislature in 1874 he was elected attorney of Scott County, and during his four years' service in this capacity he was instrumental in the advancement of the value of county scrip. In 1887 he erected a pleasant cottage, three-quarters of a mile south of Waldron, it being on a valuable tract of land comprising 1,000 acres of which he is the owner. In 1884 he joined the Church of Christ, end soon after began preaching in that church. In 1888 he erected a church in Waldron, at a cost of $1,000, and paid $110 for a good bell. He has always been a progressive, public-spirited citizen, and would give life to any community in which he might settle. In addition to the other responsible offices he has filled, he was elected mayor of Waldron in 1885, being the first one of the place.

Return to Scott County Biographies
Copyright 2003-2009 by Delaine Edwards.
All rights reserved.