George W. Gabriel, M. D., of Parsons had his first medical experience as a hospital steward and soldier during the Civil war. He is now the oldest active medical man in the state, having practiced continuously for over forty-five years. Doctor Gabriel is one of the pioneer physicians of Parsons, and has identified himself with that community not only in a professional capacity but also as a public spirited man of affairs. He is a former state senator.
He was born in that old center of education and culture of the Ohio Valley, Athens, Ohio, on November 17, 1841. The Gabriels were French Alsatians, but settled in Pennsylvania during the colonial days. His great-grandfather Abraham Gabriel was a Pennsylvania soldier in the Revolution, and thus Doctor Gabriel is eligible to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. His grandfather Elias Gabriel was born in Pennsylvania in 1786, and as a young man went to Southeastern Ohio and settled at Athens. He saw active service in the War of 1812 and thus the Gabriel family has been represented in every important war of this country beginning with the establishment of the independence of the United States. Elias Gabriel was a stone mason and farmer and died at Athens, Ohio, in 1864. He married Susan Bane, who was born in Pennsylvania and died at Athens.
Moses Gabriel, father of Doctor Gabriel, was born at Athens, Ohio, in 1814, and spent his life as a farmer and stock raiser in that section. He died there in 1879. He was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and politically was a democrat. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Johnson, was born in 1813 in Ireland, was brought to this country when a child by her father, and lived at flrst in Muskingum County, Ohio, but afterwards in Athens. She died at Athens in 1900. Doctor Gabriel was the second in a family of six children. His older brother Ellies came to Kansas in 1868 and is now a retired farmer at Erie in this state. His younger sister Susan resides at Nevada, Missouri, the widow of James Wells, who was a farmer. Christiana married James Dixon, a retired farmer of Athens, Ohio. Elmer was a farmer and died at Athens in 1896. Emmet died while still pursuing his studies at Athens.
Educated in the public schools of Athens, Doctor Gabriel graduated from the high school at the age of fifteen, and his first twenty-one years were spent on his father’s farm. In 1862 he enlisted in the Army Hospital Corps and in that capacity was able to render efficient service at many battles. He was at the battles of Gettysburg and Antietam, to mention only two of the more important engagements, and after his honorable discharge came to Topeka in March, 1864, and enlisted in the Seventeenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry. He was with that command 100 days, and in that time fought at the battle of Westport, Missouri, against Prices Confederate troops.
After the war Doctor Gabriel lived in Topeka, and then spent two years in the Starling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio. From 1868 to 1870 he practiced at Ladore in Neosho County. Continuing his medical studies he was graduated M. D. from the Kansas Medical College in 1871. He has always been a keen student, and his studies together with his wide range of experience have qualified him in an unusual degree for successful work. He has attended clinics and lectures since his graduation at Cincinnati, at Columbus, Ohio, and in the Kansas City Medical College. Doctor Gabriel located at Parsons in 1870, when that was a small village and just at the beginning of its career as a railroad center. He has his offices and home in the Haynes Building on Main Street. Doctor Gabriel is a member of the Labette County and State Medical societies and the American Medical Association.
He has prospered in a business way, being a stockholder in the Parsons Commercial Bank, is the owner of two small farms in Labette County, and has real estate in Parsons.
In many ways he has been a civic leader. For seven terms he filled the office of mayor, and those terms marked a period of great progressiveness in municipal affairs. He was also a member of the State Legislature three times, and represented his home district in the Senate during 1901-03. Doctor Gabriel is a democrat in politics. He also served one term as county commissioner and in 1871 was appointed to a place on the school board, and thus helped to influence the early establishment of schools in the city. He is especially well known in the Masonle order, being affiliated with Parsons Lodge No. 117, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Parsons Chapter No. 39, Royal Arch Masons, Coeur de Lion Commandery No. 17, Knights Templar, at Parsons. Progress Chapter No. 49, Order Eastern Star, at Parsons, and Mirzah Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Pittsburg, Kansas. He is also a member of Camp No. 844, Modern Woodmen of America, at Parsons, and Parsons Camp No. 14, Woodmen of the World.
In 1869 at Ladore, Kansas, Doctor Gabriel married Mrs. Elizabeth (Hager) Hallowell. Mrs. Gabriel died at Parsons in 1891, leaving two children. The son, Harry E., is division superintendent of the Frisco Railway Company, with home at Willow Springs, Missouri, and is a praduate of the Parsons High School. The daughter, Mary, is the wife of Alfred Noyes, who is engaged in the insurance, real estate and musical instrument business, and resides on a farm near Parsons. Mrs. Noyes is a graduate of the Clinton Academy in Missouri. In 1894 at Parsons Doctor Gabriel married Mrs. Mary (Cassady) Brown, who died at Parsons in 1906.