Leigh Robinson Gignilliat, Sr. (1875 - 1952)

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Birthplace: Savannah, Chatham, Georgia
Death: Died in Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Managed by: Judith "Judi" Elaine (McKee) Burns
Last Updated:

About Leigh Robinson Gignilliat, Sr.

WILLIAM ROBERT GIGNILLIAT...The subject of this sketch was survived by six sons and one daughter, and the tenor of their lives is only one of many instances in point...

Leigh Robinson Gignilliat, born at Savannah, Georgia, July 4, 1875, more nearly resembles his father than any of the sons, and has the same faculty for making friends and winning his way along paths calling for talent of a rare order. He graduated with distinction successively from the Emerson Institute at Washington, D. C., and from the Virginia Military Academy. At the latter institute he was private secretary to the superintendent, captain of one of the companies, president of the literary society, editor of the college publication and valedictorian of his class.
His first service in active life was with the corps of United States engineers engaged in road work and bridge building in Yellowstone National park. Returning to the family home in Georgia, he spent a few months there before accepting the position of commandant of the Culver Military Academy, at Culver, Indiana, an institution then but newly founded. He spent considerable time in architectural study while in Washington, and on the house drainage system for the city of Savannah, and other practical work while in Georgia. This Varied experience, as well as the positions held by him at the military academy in Virginia, stood him in good stead at Culver in directing the laying off of the grounds, the erection of larger and finer buildings as the school developed, as well as in the higher work of discipline and organization. It was his good fortune at the outset of his career at Culver to be thrown in close contact and intimate companionship with Col. A. E. Fleet, a Virginia gentleman of the old school and of the highest type of southern manhood, as well as one of the most prominent educators of his day. Their combined efforts placed the Culver Military Academy second only to the United States Military Academy at "West Point. Mr. Gignilliat, upon Colonel Fleet's retirement, became superintendent of the institution, and has carried forward the work with great ardor and success, the annual enrollment numbering many hundreds of scholars and the equipment being now unsurpased. Not content with the regular work, almost herculean, of the Culver Military Academy, his energy and mental activity have found expression from time to time in writing for the leading magazines and periodicals, as well as in the establishment, in connection with his brother, Thomas Heyward Gignilliat, of the Culver Summer Naval school.
So much has been said and written in current publications of the Culver schools and of the active spirit that controls and directs them, that further elaboration in a sketch of this kind is unnecessary...
The wife of William Robert Gignilliat was Hattie W. Heyward,...
General Gignilliat was CMA Superintendent from 1910 - 1939 and was also a member of the board of directors.
He was promoted to Brigadier General, U.S. Army Reserve, effective November 4, 1936.
Contemporary news reports indicated place of died:as either Maywood, IL or Hines, IL. Both are in Cook County. 
Thursday, October 30, 1952 Rochester Sentinel:

1952 - Culver, Ind., Oct. 30. (INS) -- Word was received in Culver today of the died:of Brig. Gen. Leigh R. GIGNILLIAT, former Commander of the Indiana American Legion department and former Culver Military Academy superintendent, in a hospital in Maywood, Ill., last night. Gen Gignilliat, who was 77 years old, was born in Savannah, Ga., and held degrees from Emerson Institute, Trinity College and Kenyon College. He was Legion Commander in 1920-21.

Saturday, November 1, 1952 Rochester Sentinel:

Final rites for Brigadier General Leigh R. GIGNILLIAT, 77, former head of the Culver Military Academy, were held in Academy's Memorial Chapel at 2 p.m. today. Gen Gignilliat passed away Thursday in the Hines Veterans Hospital, Hines, Ill. Burial was made in the Culver Masonic cemetery.

Culver Alumnus 1953 
'Gignilliat hall' To Eternize Memory of "The General" 

back in the fall of 1897, three years before the turn of the century and just three years after hennery Harrison culver had established the school bearing his name, a tall soldierly young man, Leigh Robinson Gignilliat, accepted an appointment to the culver staff, then headed by. col. A. f. fleet

the youthful Virginia Military institute engineering graduate was 21 years of age and had just finished a survey assignment in Yellowstone park. At the time he joined culver his plans were to stay for a brief time only, it has been said. the record shows that he had an active role in the development of culver. in fact, 'the General's life was culver and for more than 40 years he gave the school everything he had.
Brig. General Gignilliat passed away on October 30, 1952 at the age of 77. his leadership and achievements, first as commandant, later as Superintendent, and still later as president of the board of directors of the culver Educational foundation, are widely remembered by alumni, educators and the public-at-large....
Logansport Pharos-Tribune Oct 31 1952 Oct 31 1952 

Ex-Superintendent Of Culver Academy Claimed bv Death

CULVER, Ind., Oct. 31—Brig. Gen. Leigh H. Gignilliat, 77, superintendent of Culver Military Academy from 1910 until his retirement in 1939, died yesterday in Hines General hospital, Hines, Ill,
A native of Savannah, Ga., the deceased during World War I was an instructor at the first Officers Candidate School at Fort Benjamin Harrison and later was assigned to the 84th division and
served on the American Expeditionary Force general staff. He was appointed a. consultant to the secretary of War in 1941 and was an American representative on the Inter-Allied Military Commission.
Survivors are three sons, Leigh R., Jr.. Chicago; Frederick Fleet, Fort Worth, and Henry Culver, of Delafield, Wis. The body is being brought to the academy for final rites and burial
The Salt Lake Tribune Oct 31 1952 Salt Lake City, Utah

Death Claims Ex-Officer

Chicago Tribune Service CHICAGO, Oct. 30—Brig. Gen. Leigh R. Gignilliat, 77, who served as superintendent of Culver Military Academy, Culver, Ind., from 1910 until his retirement in 1939, died Thursday in Hines Hospital here. 
Gen. Gignilliat was appointed; as consultant by the secretary of war in 1941 and was an American representative on the inter-allied military commission. 
His wife, Mrs. Mary Gignilliat, died last March. She was the daughter of Col. Alexander Frederick Fleet, first superintendent of the Culver Academy
Waukesha Daily Freeman Nov 6 1952 Waukesha, Wisconsin

Gen. Leigh Gignilliat

DELAFIELD -(Special)- Gen Leigh Gignilliat died in Chicago Oct. 26. He had been an invalid for several years. His wife died six months ago. He was the father of Capt. Henry Gignilliat of the St John's staff, and was president, or John's staff, and was president, or academy, Culver, Ind., for 29 years.
Burial was in Culver on Saturday. Two other sons, in Chicago and Ft. Worth sirvive him, and six grandchildren. 
He had an interesting life. His son in Delafield has been engaged for several years in writing the history of his fathers life
Kokomo Tribune Oct 30 1952 Kokomo, Indiana

Gen. Gignilliai, Retired Culver Director, Dies

CULVER, Ind. (AP) — Brig. Gen. Leigh R. Gignilliat, who served 29 years as superintendent of Culver Military Academy, died today in Bines General Hospital at Hines, Ill. He was 77 years old. Gen. Gignilliat was Culver superintendent from 1910 until his retirement in 1939. 
He was a native of Savannah, Ga.
During World War I he was an instructor at the first Officers Candidate School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., and later was assigned to the 84th Division and served on the American Expeditionary Force general staff.
In 1941, he was appointed as a consultant by the Secretary of War and was an American representative on the Inter-Allies Military Commission.
His wife died last march. Three sons survive. They are Leigh R. Jr., Chicago, Frederick of Fort Worth, Tex., and Henry of Delafield, Wis.
His body will be brought to the academy
1897 - Leigh Robinson Gignilliat became commandant/superintendent on a snowy night of 13 January, he arrived at the Marmont Depot. West barracks was erected
1880; Census Place: Darien, McIntosh, Georgia; Roll: 156; Family History Film: 1254156; Page: 520B; Enumeration District: 100; 
  • Name: Leigh R. Gignilliat
  • Home in 1880: Darien, McIntosh, Georgia
  • Age: 5
  • Estimated born: year: abt 1875
  • Born:place: Georgia
  • Relation to head-of-household: Son
  • Father's name: W. Robert Gignilliat
  • Father's born:place: Georgia
  • Mother's born:place: Georgia
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Race: White
  • Gender: Male
Year: 1900; Census Place: Union, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: T623_392; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 82.
  • Alexander F Fleet 56
  • Belle S Fleet 48
  • Mary S Gignilliat 26
  • John S Fleet 22
  • Henry W Fleet 20
  • William A Fleet 16
  • Charles P Fleet 12
  • Reginald S Fleet 4
  • Leigh R Gignilliat 1
  • Leigh R Gignilliat 26
  • Mary A Seddon 72
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  • Name: Leigh Robinson Gignilliat
  • Born: Date: 4 Jul 1875
  • Born: Place: Savannah, Georgia
  • Gender: Male
  • Residence: Culver, Indiana
  • Passport Issue Date: 10 Aug 1909
  • Spouse Name: Mary Fleet Gignilliat
  • Passport Includes a Photo: N
  • Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490)

1910; Census Place: Union, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: T624_370; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 114;
* Leigh R Gignilliat 34 
  • Minnie S Gignilliat 35
  • Lee R Gignilliat Jr 11
  • Fred Gignilliat 9
  • Bertha Byrd 25 servant
  • Anna Byrd 26 servant
1920;Census Place: Union, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: T625_456; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 182;
  • Leigh R Gignilliat 46
  • Mary S Gignilliat 42
  • Leigh Gignilliat 20
  • Fred F Gignilliat 18
  • Henry C Gignilliat 8
U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  • Name: Leigh Robinson Gignilliat
  • Born: Date: 4 Jul 1875
  • Born: Place: Savannah, Georgia
  • Residence: Culver, Indiana
  • Passport Issue Date: 1 Jul 1920
  • Father Name: Wm Robt Gignilliat
  • Father's Born: Location: Busdens Bluff, Georgia, USA
  • Father's Residence: Dead Nov 1885
  • Passport Includes a Photo: Y
  • Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490

)

Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
* Name: Mary Seddon Gignilliat 
  • Born: Date: 28 Jan 1874
  • Born: Place: Liberty, Missouri
  • Gender: Female
  • Residence: Culver, Indiana
  • Passport Issue Date: 2 Jul 1920
  • Spouse Name: Leigh Robinson Gignilliat
  • Spouse Born: Place: Savannah, GA
  • Passport Includes a Photo: Y
  • Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490

)

U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
* Name: Leigh R Gignilliat  
  • Born: Date: 4 Jul 1875
  • Born: Place: Savannah, Georgia
  • Residence: Culver, Indiana
  • Passport Issue Date: 3 Aug 1923
  • Father Name: Wm Robert
  • Father's Born: Location: Bansdina Bluff, GA
  • Father's Residence: Deceased
  • Passport Includes a Photo: Y
  • Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925 (M1490
Year: 1925; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: T715_3731; Line: 5; Page Number: 26.
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
* Name: Leigh Gignilliat  
  • Arrival Date: 3 Oct 1925
  • Born: Year: 1875
  • Born: Location: Georgia
  • Born: Location Other: Savannah
  • Age: 50
  • Gender: Male
  • Port of Departure: Cherbourg, France
  • Port of Arrival: New York, New York
  • Ship Name: Pittsburgh
Year: 1928; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: T715_4362; Line: 25; Page Number: 21.  New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 
* Name: Leigh R Gignilliat 
  • Arrival Date: 12 Oct 1928
  • Born: Year: 1875
  • Born: Location: Georgia
  • Born: Location Other: Savannah
  • Age: 53
  • Gender: Male
  • Port of Departure: Cherbourg, France
  • Port of Arrival: New York, New York
  • Ship Name: Washington

Name: Leigh Robinson Gignilliat 
Born: - Death: 1875-1952 
Source Citation: 
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 2: August, 1949-August, 1952. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1953. (BioIn 2)
  • Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 3: September, 1952-August, 1955. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1956. (BioIn 3)
Name: Leigh Robinson Gignilliat 
Born: - Death: 1875- 
Source Citation: 
  • Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1816-1916. Biographical sketches of authors who published during the first century of Indiana statehood with lists of their books. Compiled by R.E. Banta. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1949. (IndAu 1949)
  • Who Was Who in America. Volume 5, 1969-1973. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1973. (Who Am 5)


      
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Leigh Robinson Gignilliat, Sr.'s Timeline

1875
July 4, 1875
Savannah, Chatham, Georgia
1898
1898
Age 22
Culver, IN, United States
1899
May 12, 1899
Age 23
Culver Marshall County Indiana
1901
March 4, 1901
Age 25
Culver Marshall County Indiana
1911
December 23, 1911
Age 36
Marshall County Indiana
1952
October 30, 1952
Age 77
Chicago, Cook, Illinois