Page 7 - Cass Gilbert Comes Home to the Cannon Ball House

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7
Born A Victorian
With his first breath, Cass Gilbert joined a family of
proud American strivers. Born in Zanesville, Ohio
on November 24, 1859, this middle surviving son
of Samuel and Elizabeth Gilbert bore the name of
Lewis Cass, a relative who was a prominent states-
man, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate.
In addition, the boy was the grandson of Charles
Champion Gilbert, a Connecticut native, Yale grad-
uate, attorney, and first mayor of Zanesville.
Gilbert’s father was a topographical engineer for
the US Coast Survey. In Zanesville, Samuel Gilbert
also was proprietor of a foundry located just blocks
from his home; when Cass was a few years old, the
family moved to a farm on the outskirts of town. His
formal education began at a nearby country school-
house, followed by a public school in Zanesville’s re-
portedly excellent system, where he received instruc-
tion in reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography.
We are left to speculate on how the young man spent
his hours outside the classroom. There would almost
certainly have been farmchores todo even for a small
boy, including looking after livestock, but also Vic-
torian-era diversions, many combining amusement
with physical, mental, or moral improvement.
In 1868, when Cass was eight years old, the fam-
ily left Ohio to join Samuel in St. Paul, Minnesota,
where he had resumed his occupation as a surveyor
following Civil War service. Mother and sons found