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Gillespie, Walter H.

Note: This article first appeared in the Union Banner on Thursday, April 19th, 1928 in "Who's Who In Clanton" and was reprinted in The Chiltonian, the newsletter of the Chilton County Historical Society and Archives, Inc. in Volume 29, Number 1 January 2009.

An officer who is conscientious in regard to his duty, fair minded, is one of the highest types of citizens.

In Mr. W. H. Gillespie of Clanton we find just such an officer and man. Mr. Gillespie, the son of Mr. David Gillespie and Emily Thomas Gillespie, was born at Rockford, Ala. His early schooling was received at Olive Branch church in Coosa County. When he was 14 years of age his father died and Mr. Gillespie assumed the responsibility of his mother and three sisters.

He farmed in Coosa County until 1915 when he accepted a position as chief deputy sheriff of Chilton County. Mr. Gillespie became one of the first state law enforcement officers in 1920 at the time it was organized. [sic] Mr. Connie Austin being the first state law enforcement chief [sic]. A few years later Mr. Gillespie became a special deputy for the Eureka Coal Co., at Helena in Shelby County.

In 1921 he was appointed federal prohibition agent which position he now holds.  His work in this capacity has taken him to all parts of the state, and he has done special work in New Orleans, La., Columbus, Ga., and other places. Mr. Gillespie is now posted in the middle district of Alabama, his office being in Montgomery.

In 1897 Mr. Gillespie married Miss Roxie Kelley, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph S. Kelley of Coosa County.

Mr. and Mrs. Gillespie are faithful members of the Primitive Baptist Church 3 miles south of Coopers.

Through his simple and unassuming behavior and fearlessness in the execution of his duty he has been able to handle all the difficult situations which he has encountered in following his vocation in New Orleans, Clanton, Columbus and many other cities. The very lack of work for Mr. Gillespie in Clanton, while giving proof of the character in general of the people in this section also is a proof of the effectiveness of Mr. Gillespie's methods and the fact of his fearlessness in the execution of his duty.

In spite of the arduous nature of his work he maintains a genial and pleasant personality and it is a pleasure to many, to meet and converse with him.

While Mr. Gillespie is a citizen of Clanton his duties take him away from home a great part of the time but nevertheless is a loyal citizen who in many ways means much to this town and county.

Mr. Gillespie is very enthusiastic over Clanton's future and his belief in Clanton is based on these facts:
"To its ideal location in the center of the state, 130 miles from the northern border of the state, a 122 miles from the southern border, 85 miles from the eastern border and 96 miles from the west, its splendid health concerns with a
wonderful territory conditions [sic], its prosperous business to draw from and last but not least its high type of citizens."