Major Elisha Gilbert was a prominent citizen in the early history of New Lebanon, the first to settle Lebanon Center and its largest landowner. He was the founder of several early businesses in New Lebanon, commanded a militia company that fought during the Revolutionary war and was later active in state and local politics.
Elisha Gilbert and his son were the original settlers of Lebanon center and prominent in the Lebanon Valley business community having built several businesses including a Grist Mill on the Wyomanock Creek and a Saw Mill in Lebanon Center.
Major Elisha Gilbert II was also a partner in the original Tilden Company along with Elam Tilden. The Gilbert & Tilden Company was started in the 1840's using the expertise gained by Elisha Gilbert in working with the Shakers using vacuum drying in their herb selling business and the business experience of Elam Tilden. The company later became The Tilden Pharmaceutical Company, one of 19th century America's largest pharmaceutical companies.
He was an early member of the Masonic, Unity Lodge no. 9, which was founded in New Lebanon in 1788, and he provided the lodge with it's meeting space for many years in the Historic Gilbert House, located on Route 20 west of New Lebanon.