J. S. GILLIS, a leading merchant and enterprising citizen of Shelbyville, was born April 12, 1840, in New York State. He was the younger of two children born to the marriage of James Gillis and Isabella Stalker, natives of Scotland. His parents removed to Canada from New York, and he was reared there, receiving a common school education.
In 1859 he went to Trenton, Ky., and engaged in the pursuit of farming till 1871. He then removed to Shelbyville and opened his merchandising establishment, which he has continued very successfully. He now carries a stock of about $20,000 and does an annual business of about $35,000 to $40,000.
He was married September 25, 1864, to Eliza Bradley, the result of this union is one son – George D. Mr. Gillis is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and has been superintendent of the Sunday schools for about twelve years. His wife is also a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Gillis is of old-line Whig ancestry, but he is now a Democrat. He is one of the leading citizens of Shelbyville, and bears the highest esteem of his fellow citizens.
Transcribed by Kathryn Hopkins
Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford & Marshall Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Reminescences [Sic], Observations, Etc., Etc. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1988.