There is some uncertainty about Gillespie's birthplace. The Dictionary of North Carolina Biography and some family sources state that he was born in County Monaghan, Ireland. The Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress gives his birthplace as Kenansville, North Carolina.
Gillespie pursued classical studies and served in the North Carolina militia during the American Revolutionary War. He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1776 and served in the North Carolina House of Commons (1779–1783), then in the North Carolina Senate (1784–1786), before being elected as a Democratic-Republican to the 4th and 5th U.S. Congresses (March 4, 1793 - March 3, 1799) and later to the 8th United States Congress (March 4, 1803 - January 11, 1805).
He died on January 11, 1805, shortly before completing his term in Congress. He was buried at the Presbyterian Burying Ground in Washington, D.C. By an act of Congress, his remains were removed to Congressional Cemetery in April 1892. A cenotaph at the cemetery is located at Range 31 Site 58; his remains were buried at Range 60 Site 58 in 1893.
- "To Be Removed to Congressional Cemetery". Washington Evening Star. April 8, 1892. p. 9.
- "Removed to Congressional Cemetery". Washington Evening Star. April 13, 1892. p. 4.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district