Norman S. Gilson, Fond du Lac, Wis., was born in Middlefield, Geauga Co., Ohio, March 23rd, 1839. He came to Wisconsin in 1860 and began the study of law with his uncle, Hon. L. F. Frisby at West Bend. Sept. 17th, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company D, 12th Wisconsin Infantry and was promoted to Sergeant of the company and Sergeant Major of the regiment during a part of 1862, the regiment was in Missouri and Kansas, but in June of that year, joined the Army of the Tennessee at Columbus, Ky. Soon after this he was ordered on detached duty with the staff of General Robert B. Mitchell and was with the Army of the Ohio until after the battle of Perryville; rejoining General Grant's army at La Grange in the fall of 1862, He remained in that command until the surrender of Jackson, Miss., in July 1863. In August, 1863, he was promoted to the 1st Leutenantcy of Company H, 58th Regiment, U. S. C. Infantry, afterward to Adjutant and finally to the position of Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment and he participated in the battles of Perryville, Vicksburg, Jackson and some lesser engagements; he served as Judge Advocate of the district of Natchez on the Staff of Major General Davidson and in 1865-6 was Judge Advocate of the Department of the Mississippi on the staff of General P. J. Osterhaus and General Thomas J. Wood commanding that department.
He was Judge Advocate of the court martial convened for the trial of Captain Frederic Speed on the charge of criminal carelessness in overloading the steamer Sultana, whereby it was claimed the lives of over 1,100 paroled prisoners of war were lost oil the Mississippi River by an explosion of the steamers' boilers just above Memphis in April, 1865. On June 12th, 1866 he was mustered out of the service and was brevetted Colonel of U. S. volunteers by the president. Graduating at the Albany Law School, he settled at Fond du Lac in 1868 and continued in the active practice of the law until elected Judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit in 1880. He was reelected to that position in l886. Col. Gilson is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the Society of the Army of the Tennessee and Edwin A. Brown Post No. 130.