Bios of People of Scots Descent Biography of Arthur Merryman GILBERT
This biography was submitted by Valerie Crook,
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
ARTHUR MERRYMAN GILBERT is one of the veteran business men of Martinsburg, where he has been a druggist
over forty years and where his judgment has been enlisted in the service of several other substantial institutions. He
has been a public-spirited citizen as well, and a brief account of his career and of his family merits a place in
He was born on a farm bordering on Opequan Creek, one
mile from Middleway, in Jefferson County, Virginia, now West Virginia. His father, Jacob Gilbert, was born at
Middleway in 1801. His grandfather, Henry Gilbert, was born in Scotland, learned the trade of weaver, and on
coming to the American colonies settled in Jefferson County, at
Middleway. Here he put up his hand loom and did a thriving business greatly needed in a community whose
people still depended upon the home art of manufacturing cloth from the wool grown on sheep and the cotton raised
in the fields of that locality. He reared three sons, Bernard, Henry and Jacob.
Jacob Gilbert spent his early life as a farmer. His
first wife was Mrs. Walter Burrell, of Jefferson County, owner of two plantations, upon which they continued to live
and at her death he succeeded to the ownership of the property, together with many slaves. At the breaking out
of the Civil war he freed the slaves and moved to Middleway, where he owned a large stone house set amidst pleasant
surroundings, and remained there until his death at the age of seventy-eight. For his second wife Jacob Gilbert
married Sarah Harvey Merryman, who was born at Tomonium, Baltimore County, Maryland, daughter of Nicholas and
Rebecca (Harvey) Merryman. The Merrymans and Harveys were well known old families of Maryland, and Doctor
Ridgley, of Baltimore, has compiled a history of the family. Nicholas Merryman was a farmer and breeder of
thoroughbred race horses, and was well known on the turf. Mrs. Sarah Gilbert died in 1879, at the age of thirty-seven. She
was the mother of five children: William H., who died at Middleway in 1906; Arthur Merryman; Mary Elizabeth,
of Middleway; Roberta, who married T. A. Milton, a lawyer of Kansas City, Missouri; and Sarah M., who married Dr.
D. P. Fry, of Hedgesville.
Arthur Merryman Gilbert attended private schools at
Middleway, and soon after completing his education, in 1876, he came to Martinsburg and began an apprenticeship
in the drug store of William Dorsey. It was in 1883 that he established himself in the drug business, and for many
years had conducted one of the best drug stores in the Eastern Panhandle.
In 1893 Mr. Gilbert married Mabel Rodrick, a native of
Frederick County, Maryland, daughter of Daniel W. and Mary Priscilla Rodrick. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert have two
sons, Arthur M., Jr., and Webster Rodrick. The son Arthur is a graduate of the Martinsburg High School, spent two
years in Washington and Lee University, and in 1918 joined the service at Camp Lee at Lexington, Virginia, and
remained there until the signing of the armistice. He is now a teller in the Old National Bank at Martinsburg. Webster,
the younger son, is a sophomore in the Martinsburg High School.
Arthur M. Gilbert was a member of the city council at
Martinsburg from 1892 to 1894 and was city treasurer in 1913-16. He cast his first presidential vote for Grover
Cleveland, and has been active in the interest of the democratic party. He has been a director of the Martinsburg
National Bank and its successor, the Old National Bank, for a quarter of a century, is affiliated with Equality Lodge
No. 44, A. F. and A. M., and for upwards of thirty years has been a member of Trinity Episcopal Church.
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