Trails to the Past-ND-Billings Co-biographies


Trails to the Past

Billings County Biographies

Compendium of History and Biography
of North Dakota

Published by George A. Ogle & CO. in 1900



EDGAR S. FOLEY. Among the younger representative stock men of Billings county a prominent place is accorded the gentleman whose name heads this review. He and his father, James W. Foley, were among the first settlers of the county, and have followed stock raising near Medora and have prospered bv faithful and honest efforts.

Our subject was born in Shackleford county, Texas, December 15, 1870. His father was a native of Belair, Maryland, and spent twenty years in the United States army. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a native of Ireland and the grandmother was of English descent. The mother of our, subject was of German and New England descent.

Mr. Foley was the oldest in a family of seven children, and when he was three years of age removed with his parents to St. Louis. Missouri, where he received his early schooling, and in October, 1878, went to Bismarck. North Dakota. His father was commissary sergeant four years at Fort Lincoln, during which time our subject was sent to the public schools and the preparatory department of the Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He then came back to North Dakota, and then went to Vermillion, South Dakota, where he attended the State University. He went to Medora, North Dakota, in 1889, where his father had located, and in 1890 they entered into stock raising on a small scale, and have continued to see their efforts bring success, and now conduct cattle raising on a larger scale. They went to the state without means and have built up a good business and are now well to do.

Mr. Foley was married March 22, 1899, to Lillian McCoy, a native of Ohio . Mrs. Foley is of Scotch-Irish descent, and was raised on a farm. She was a daughter of Thomas McCoy, a farmer by occupation. Mr. Foley was elected county auditor of Billings county in the fall of 1892, and re-elected three times by the Republican party. He is an efficient and faithful officer and popular with the people. He has also served as clerk of the school board for several years.

HENRY GILBERT, the popular postmaster of Sentinel Butte, Billings county. North Dakota, is one of the pioneers of western North Dakota, coming to the county in 1882.

Mr. Gilbert was born in Cornwall, England, on the estate of Lord Vivian, in 1842. His father, William Gilbert, was a surveyor of public roads, and his grandfather, William Gilbert, served all his active life in the English navy, during the reign of King George III. The mother of our subject was Rachel Chapman, and her people were farmers in England.

Mr. Gilbert was the eldest of a family of three children, and was reared and educated in his native village, and attended high school form the age of eleven to fifteen years. At the age of fifteen he entered the government marine engine works, at Devonport, England, as an apprentice. He learned the trade and worked altogether fourteen years there. During this time he was a member of the Southdown Volunteer Artillery for a period of ten years, and he served one year as supernumerary engine room artificer in the British navy.

In the spring of 1870 Mr. Gilbert came to America, landing in the spring of 1870 Mr. Gilbert came to America, landing in Canada, at Quebec, and going thence to London, followed his trade in the latter place for live years. In 1882 he came to North Dakota and located at Sentinel Butte. He had worked at railroading in Canada, and for the first two years in North Dakota he worked for the Northern Pacific road, and part of the time conducted a boarding house for the construction crews on the railroad, which proved a success. In 1885 he settled on his present ranch and. engaged in stock raising, and he has made a great success of this undertaking, though a previous experiment in the same line had proved disastrous. He now raises Hereford and Durham cattle and has a herd of two hundred cows. When he arrived at Sentinel Butte there were no buildings, and his was the first erected in the place. He was appointed postmaster in 1885 and has held the place continuously since.

Mr. Gilbert was married, in England, in 1868, to Miss Jane Runnels, and to this union three children were born, viz: Harry, Fred and James. Mrs. Gilbert died in Canada. In 1880 Mr. Gilbert was married, in London, Canada, to Miss Caroline Woods. Mrs. Gilbert was born in Canada, the daughter of Henry Woods, a farmer of Irish descent, lo this union a family of eight children has been born: William J., Charles, James, Lewis, Edward, Albert, Mabel and Maud.

Mr. Gilbert is a Republican and has been active in the interests of his party since coming to Dakota. He is justice of the peace, school director, chairman of the Republican county central committee and of the sixth judicial district state committee, and has attended numerous county and state conventions of his party. He was appointed a census enumerator for 1900.


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