The earliest known origin of the Gilbert family dates back as far as 1814. It was at that time that George Gilbert, Sr., was born to parents that were slave. It is unknown as to where his exact birth place was. George grew to manhood and married Kelline, an Indian. Slaves were permitted at the time to marry into Indian tribes. This union produced a total of 15 children: George Jr., Wesley, Lawrence, Cornelius, Jonath, Ellis, Lewis, Willie, Cas, Jake and Ben (eleven boys), and (four girls) Alice, Ann, Mandy, and Ida. It was customary during this period for slave families or individual family members to be sold or traded to other slave masters. However, George Sr., and his family escaped the slave trade market and remained together.
Later, George Gilbert Sr., and his family were brought to Texas by the way of Atlanta, Georgia. All available information revealed that George and the family settled in south central Texas, in a town called Bedias. Bedias is located in Grimes county approximately 12 miles south of Madisonville on Texas Highway 90 and 30 miles west of Huntsville. Most of the family members remained and raised families in a surrounding community which was called Salem.
George Gilbert Sr., was a religious man. His spiritual inspiration and good standing in the community led to the formation of Salem A.M.E. Church. The church was attended by family members and other residents. Some of the more senior family members indicted that "due to the rapid growth of the Gilbert families and the need to pass through the Gilberts homestead to reach the community church, that passage way came to be known as Gilbert's Gap.
During this long life span, George Gilbert Sr., remained in good health and excellent physical condition. It was noted that at the age 105, he was still able to walk the long distance to the church and participate in physical activities. It was also at this age that he was attacked by a wild cow and because of his physical condition he was able to wrestle and pin the cow to the ground until help arrived. After the attack, George Sr., slowly weakened and left this life in April 1924 at the age of 107. He was truly a tower of strength and a source of inspiration for all generations of GILBERTS. ( Information collected by John Gilbert Jr., 1994).
Source: The Gilbert's Humble Beginnings, https://sites.google.com/site/gilbertfamily2012/