Biography of Gilbert B. Neighbor

The late Gilbert B. Neighbor of Snelling, Merced County, was one of the pioneer merchants of that village and he was one of the foremost upbuilders of his adopted State. He was born in German Valley, Morris County, N. J., September 14, 1836, a son of Jacob Weise and Mary Ann (Trimmer) Neighbor, both born in that same state. His paternal great-grandfather, Leonard Neighbor, and the grandfather, also named Leonard, served in the War of the Revolution. The latter lived to be ninety-one years old. In 1855 Jacob Neighbor moved to Princeton, Ill., and there both himself and his wife died.

Our subject received a common school education and was nineteen when the family located in Illinois. In 1859 he came on to California, via Panama, and arriving in San Francisco he went at once to Tuolumne County where he farmed seven years, then for the next seven years he was a clerk in a general store. In 1873 the came to Snelling with his experience and embarked in the general merchandise business that he followed until his death. He was interested in sheep raising and in farming, owning 120 acres, besides some town property. As one interested in the upbuilding of the county he served as justice of the peace four years and in every way possible gave of his time and means to advance the interests of the people and the county.

Mr. Neighbor married Matilda H. Smith, born in Augusta, Me., the daughter of P. B. Smith, who came around the Horn to California in 1850 and lived for many years in Jamestown, Cal. Of this union eight children were born: Charles G., a rancher in Merced County; Marjorie A., married William C. Richards; May N., became the wife of Fred G. Robinson; Ada Grace, married R. H. Allen; Pearl, deceased; Josie; Melvin, postmaster at Snelling; and Ethel. Mr. Neighbor died February 20, 1922, aged eighty-six years, and is survived by his wife, who lives in Snelling. He was faithful to every trust reposed in him, as was attested by his serving the Wells Fargo Express Company for almost forty years. He is missed by a wide circle of friends who appreciated his noble qualities of mind and heart.

Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.

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