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Keeping historic farm in family 22 year old youth
buys Callaway county place by Great-Grandfather, 111 Years ago
Going--going--all done--gone. Sold to Jimmy Gill for six thousand six hundred dollars. So Edgewod Farm, historic Callaway County estate of the Gill family, held by three generations for 111 years, is still in the family, now owned by James William Gill of the fourth generation, great-grandson of the conversed wagon pioneer who settled upon it in 1831. Jimmy, 22 hears old, saved it when it was put up at partition sale at the courthouse door, as his last act of devotion before being inducted into the Army. In keeping it out of the hands of strangers he brought an end to a bitter family feud that had lasted many years. Out of Fairfax County, Virginia, in that year of 1831, came Daniel Gill and his wife, Matilda, with an immigrant train, and homesteaded a quarter section on a ridge in what, 10 years before, a county had been formed and named Callaway.
In the following year, having built a log house and complied with other requirements, he received a land grant signed by President Andrew Jackson. In the nearly half a century that he lived there Daniel Gill increased his holdings to about 640 acres. He died Jan. 26, 188. His funeral was held at Union Methodist Church, built on the farm, the first in the community, and buried in the family graveyard. One of his sons, James, who had gone to St. Louis and prospered there in the box-making industry and had married Julia Frances Poorman, with whose father he was associated in business, bought out the other heirs and maintained Edgewood Farm as a country estate while still occupying a home in the city. One of James’ sons was James ray, called Ray, who had great skill as a cabinetmaker and who was expected by his father to succeed him in business, but he was a farmer at heart and persuaded his father to let him take over the operation of the Callaway County estate. So when he was only 21 years old he became the master of Edgewood Farm.
As farmer and stock raiser he prospered. The log house was moved from the knoll on which it stood and a frame house built. There his parents spent as much time as his father could spare from his business until he retired, to spend their remaining days on the farm. in preparation for their coming Ray doubled the spice of the house, with 14 rooms in the east and west wings. Ornate mantels and other important interior woodwork were wrought by him. At the same time at about the turn of the century, he built a large barn with a smoothly floored loft.
When it was finished he dedicated it with a barn dance what was the talk of the countryside and of the St. Louis social circles in which the Gills and the Poormans moved. There were many guests from St. Louis, who went by rail or boat to Portland on the Missouri River and were met there and taken in farm vehicles the seven miles to the farm, east of Readsville, where some of them enjoyed the hospitality of the Gills for days. The invitation to the people of the country was general and hundreds came.