Gillick Family


Notes from the files of Joseph A. Kenny

How is Joe Kenny related?

New as of December 2005, you can search various Gillick Census records here.

 Anna Kenny Gillick allegedly appearing to people?  Fact or fiction? Read the story here.

Phillip Gillick was in Door County for fifty-six years right before his death.  He married Anna Kenny around 1870.  

I had an opportunity to visit a grandchild of Phillip Gillick and Ann Kenny in April, 2002 named Bob Pabst.  He was a very interesting and intelligent man.  Bob for many years, was a instructor/teacher at the Indiana State University.  He had many stories to share about the Gillicks that he remembered and some that were passed down from his mother, Agnes Gillick.  Bob recalled a story about his uncle Tom, who was one of the oldest boys of the  Gillick kids.  Tom went to work in the irons mines in Michigan.  Meanwhile, Phillip Gillick had fallen behind on some payments and defaulted with the mortgage on the Gillick farm, in Sawyer, Door County, Wisconsin, and the sheriff came out and told them that they had to get off the land.  Phillip had thought ahead and had a small piece of land where he had built a small cabin and he and his wife, Anne Kenny Gillick, went down to that cabin and they were sitting at the table there with a kerosene lamp, and Anne brewed up some tea, and Phillip was very worried because the next day, the sheriff was coming out to their land to have a sale of the farm equipment, house, land and all the possessions, to who ever wanted to bid on it.  While they were sitting there, Anne looked up and through the window she saw a face  and said, "There is somebody outside" .  So Phillip took a lantern and went out to look.  He went out one side of the house to look.  Well, he went around one side of the house and who ever was out there, came around from the other side, and came into the house.  Anne looked at him and said, "Who are you?  He replied, "I am your son, Tom".   She hadn't seen him for years and he had changed, with a mustache and so on.  She hugged him and meanwhile, Phillip came around and found out it was his son, Tom.   To make a long story short, when the sheriff came out the next day to sell the property, Tom had saved enough money that he was able to meet the bills that were due, to save the farm.   This is how they were able to keep the farm in the family. 

Phillips obituary was in the Door Co. Advocate on Oct. 13th, 1921
The heading said, "Phillip Gillick, oldest Citizen of the city called Tuesday. Will be buried Saturday".

His Obituary read:
"In the death of Phillip Gillick on Saturday evening, the town of Nasewaupee lost one of its oldest resident, both in point or age and in residence.
At the time of his death, Mr. Gillick had reached the advanced age of 92 years, having been born in Ireland on October 15, 1829. At the age of 8 years, he came with his parents to Canada. It was a long about 1865 when he came to this county and located in the town of Nasewaupee. Here he was married in 1869 and although 40 years old when he took a wife partner, there were 17 children born to this union of whom 10 survived. The mother passed away about 7 years ago.
The surviving children were James, of this city; Thomas, Kenosha; Mrs. Edward Ackermann, this city; Edward, Ipswich, South Dakota; Phillip Jr., at home; Mrs. Edward Pabst, Kenosha; Richard, Bowman, North Dakota; Mrs. Leo Graf, Kanosha; Joseph, Nasewaupee; Mrs. Frank Graf, Nasewaupee.
Mr. Gillick made his home with his youngest daughter, Mrs. Frank Graf on the old homestead.
Up to a year or so ago he was in the best health and exceptionally spry for one of his age, being active in walking with a gait that bellied his ears.
During the past year he began to fail and about the middle of August was obliged to take to his bed, from which he never arose.
Mr. Gillick was a very progressive citizen and well and favorably known in the southern part of the township. He came here when the county was a wilderness and helped to make it what it is today. The funeral was held on Wednesday morning at 9:30 at St. Mary's Church, Maplewood, Rev. Max Oswald officiating at the mass. There were a large number of neighbors, former friends and relatives in attendance.
Mesdames Edward Pabst and Leo Graf came here from Kenosha to attend the obsequies."

Phillip and Anna had 17 children. He was a farmer.
Place of residence at death Sawyer, Sturgeon Bay, WI, Rt.3
According to the 1900 census, he came to US in 1864.
On the 1905 population schedule it showed his dwelling is a farm, owned, but with mortgage.
The Door Co. Who's Who showed he was born in Ireland, 1835 and married in 1870.
The obituary in the Door Co. Advocate showed his birth year as 1829.
The Door County court house death certificate shows death was on Oct 5th, 1921. This must be incorrect, for two reasons. One, the headstone at cemetery shows the 8th of Oct., Two, the article below, dated on the 13th of October, states "last Saturday evening", which the 5th of Oct. would be more than 8 days past.

Bob Pabst, who is the son of Agnes (Gillick) Pabst quotes, " My mother Agnes (Gillick) Pabst kept a very good compendium of the family, and I have pictures of the farm in Nasewaupee Township and have visited the Gillick farm in Door County. According to my mother, Phillip Gillick built the farm house on that land.
My records, (Bob Pabst speaking) show that there were only 16 offspring, not 17, although this has been a bone of contention in the family for years. All of those offspring are now dead, my aunts and uncles, but I have wonderful memories of nearly all of them and have some fabulous stories about their lives."

I have some notes on only a few of Phillip and Anna Kenny Gillick's children.  See below:

Catherine Gillick   The 1880 census shows her but its confusing as they were not married until 1869 or 1870. It is possible that Catherine was a child that belonged to a brother or sister that either died or was unable to care for her, or Ann and Phillip were together in Canada, or she was married before.
Chris Surfus wrote: "I'm not sure what to think of Catherine, 14, in 1880. Years ago when I first researched this family, I had found a baptism for an Illegitimate child in Smith Falls, but I must not have copied it. It didn't give any names of parents but I think it was the right age.
Also she could be a relative of Phillip...we know nothing of Phillip Gillick's family.
I had found a Thomas Gillick in the 1888 Smith Fall records, son of Andrew and Ann (Dic)Gillick on a marriage record to a Catherine Louise McManus. This was the only mention of Gillick that I found."

James Gillick   According to the 1900 census, James was a Carpenter, not employed for 8 months. At time of marriage, in 1900, he stated he was a farmer. He married  Theresa Mura.  He lived in Algonia, WI.
In the 1920 census, it shows his parents being born in Canada. Same year he is a carpenter at Shipyards.  Bob Pabst recalls that James had a wonderful talent, he was a good musician and played a violin.  If he heard a tune once, he could play it.   He was also artistically talented. He saw a ship in a tavern window.  He went home, and rebuilt it to the finest detail.  He would use scraps of this and that to build things.  He would even build ships in bottles and sell them.  

Phillip Gillick    On the 1920 census of Nasewaupee, Door Co., Phillip was shown as head of household and a farmer and single. It showed he was 43, but not according to earlier census. he would have been Abt. 47. He owned the farm with a mortgage. No one else was listed with him.
A note written by Bob Pabst, a nephew to Philip, says:
"My mother told a story about my Uncle Phil (Phillip and Anna Gillick's eldest) that indicates he was jilted by a Long girl on the very day they were to be married, that he shut himself away in a bedroom for several days, and subsequently became an alcoholic and never married. As a kid of about 11 or 12 I remember going out on a wagon with Uncle Phil to pick up shocks of grain for threshing. Uncle Phil would stop in the barn to take a few swigs of a bottle he had hidden in the hay mow. My cousin Bob (Margaret Gillick) Graf's son found it (he was a year older than I) and drank quite a lot of it and passed out in the yard on a hot August day."

Patrick Gillick    Patrick was 18 years of age at time of death.

Richard Gillick   Moved to Bowman, North Dakota and could play a mouth harp very well.

Edward Gillick    Went to South Dakota when the opened the Homesteading around 1900.  

Helen Gillick    Ellen was single at the time of her death. She resided in Nasewaupee, Wisconsin. She was 17 years, 4 months old.

Ann Gillick     This Ann was born in 1883 but didn't live very long.  Sponsors @ her baptism were Thomas Kenny and Mary Ann Kenny.                               There was another, child Anna Gillick, that was born in 1889

Joseph Gillick    Retired Dairy farmer of Nasewaupee, WI. He retired around 1968. He lived with his daughter, Mrs. Polich  at the time of his death. Bob Pabst recalls that  Joe was always a jolly, happy-go-lucky guy, great head of black hair, and a good looking fellow.  He said all the Gillicks had a full head of hair and the baldness must have come from the Kenney side of the family. Sponsors at baptism were Joseph Mulvihill and Mary Ann Kenny. I assume before they were married.

Isabella Gillick    She was only 10 days old at time of death.


Many documents were given to Joe Kenny by Christine Surfus on this person.        Family stories were provided by Bob Pabst.