William H. Gasque, retired probate judge and business man of Baldwin county, and residing at Daphne, Ala., was born in the town of Saint Stephens, Washington county, December, 6, 1811, but at the age of two-years was taken by his parents to Monroe county, Ala., where he grew to manhood. In 1831, he settled in Baldwin county, where, in 1835, he was elected clerk of circuit court and clerk of county court, served four years, and then was re-elected; just before the expiration of his second term he was elected to the state legislature, and served through the term of 1842-3. In 1852 he was appointed as an assistant in the sheriff’s office, and served until 1854, when he was appointed an assistant in the United States marshal’s office at Mobile. In, 1858 he was made mailing clerk at Mobile, which position he held until the close of the Civil war when, in the spring of 1865, he was appointed one of the revenue assessors of the port of Mobile, of which office he was relieved in 1868. In the fall of the same year he was appointed judge of probate of Baldwin county, and filled that office to the entire satisfaction of the citizens until November 3, 1892, when he retired to private life. During Mr. Gasque’s twenty-four-years’ incumbency of the probate judgeship he witnessed many changes for the better in Baldwin county. When he took his seat the county was in debt $5,500, to which was to be added the liabilities of two successive defaulting sheriffs. The people of the county were poor, and during court term the jurors were compelled to use their certificates as collateral. This the judge resolved to obviate by borrowing $1,000 on his personal account and applying the amount to the relief of the more pressing wants of these indigent jurors. In 1888, a movement was made toward building a new court house, and through the strenuous exertions of the judge the project was carried out at an expense of $10,000. On the completion of the edifice, so much needed, the county found itself in debt to the amount of $2,800, and again the judge used his personal responsibility to secure the amount. The county is now, however, free from debt. While in office the judge was successful in securing many pensions for the survivors of the war of 1812, and freely gave of his own means toward the building of church and school edifices and the maintenance of charitable institutions.
Judge Gasque is a son of Samuel and Mary (Godbold) Gasque. Samuel Gasque, of Huguenot descent, was born in Marion district, S. C. In 1810 he came to Alabama and passed two years at Saint Stephens in Washington county, where he died in April, 1812. Mrs. Mary (Godbold) Gasque was also born in Marion district, S. C., was married in her nineteenth year, and bore Mr. Gasque two children. In 1815 she was joined in marriage with Silas Morgan, to whom she bore five children, and died in 1832. Judge Gasque has never married, and is the last survivor of his family. He is now eighty-two years of age, and although he has twice had the yellow fever and once had the confluent smallpox, he is well preserved and full of vigor, bearing the appearance of a man of fifty. He recalls many incidents of pioneer life and some of quite a thrilling character. He was living at Saint Stephens when the Indian massacre at Fort Mims took place, in 1813, in which many settlers lost their lives and during which the parents of the judge were obliged to conceal themselves in the forest for several days and nights. Baldwin county has reached its present development under his eyes, and much of its advancement is due to his personal exertion. The judge was made a Mason in 1844, when he entered Mobile lodge, No. 40. He is a dyed-in-the-wool democrat and cast his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson and his last for Grover Cleveland.