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This article is about Johnathan Gilbert, a character from the past. You may be looking for John Gilbert, a character from the present.

I knew I was about to die. You cannot run from a vampire. I recognized the monster that killed me. It was Stefan Salvatore.
Johnathan in The Dinner Party

Johnathan Gilbert lived in Mystic Falls in the year 1864 and was part of the Town Council. He is said to be a mad scientist, as he invented the Gilbert device, the Gilbert rings, and the Gilbert compass. In reality, Emily Bennett spelled all of his inventions with magic.

Johnathan Gilbert was a member of the Gilbert Family.

Early History

Johnathan and Pearl.

Johnathan was a member of one of the Founding Families that hunted vampires along with Giuseppe Salvatore. He fancied a woman named Pearl, Pearl seemed to share a mutual attraction to Johnathan as well. However, he shoots her after discovering she was a vampire. He was in possession of a mysterious compass that can find vampires. Sometime later on Pearl comes into possession of the compass. He died more than century ago of a drunken binge according to John Gilbert. However, in his own journal as read by his descendant Elena Gilbert in the episode The Dinner Party, he mentions that he was killed by a vampire. The vampire that killed him was Stefan Salvatore. However it is most certain that Johnathan was wearing his "Gilbert Ring" when he was killed as he survived and went on to do extensive research on the vampire race including their origins.

Johnathan Gilbert looking for vampires.

He was the only Founding Family member to know that Emily Bennett was a witch as Damon said in The House Guest. Damon concludes it was Katherine who betrayed Emily to the Founders because he read in the journals that Johnathan protected Emily. It is possible that Emily offered to enchant the inventions that he had failed to create so that the Founders would be able to stop the vampires in Mystic Falls, allowing Johnathan to take the credit while ensuring her and her family's protection. It is also possible that she enchanted the objects without his knowledge, and that he really believed his inventions worked.

Johnathan wrote stories in journals about his life, including the existence of vampires. His descendant Jeremy Gilbert, Elena's adoptive brother, has used the journals to write an extra credit history report for Alaric Saltzman. This eventually caused Jeremy to suspect that vampires were actually real. John Gilbert, his namesake and Jeremy's uncle, tells Jeremy that Johnathan wrote several journals.

In the casting slides for the role of Johnathan Gilbert, there were lines where he mentions his young children and his wife Margaret (Margaret Gilbert being the name of Elena's sister in the book series). These lines were never used in the TV series and it remains unclear if Johnathan Gilbert is married or not in 1864. He has at least one son, as the pocket watch/vampire compass is passed down in the Gilbert family from eldest son to the eldest son.

He died at some point before 1912 as mentioned in 1912.


He had been described as "mad" due to him inventing devices that can counter the supernatural. He did show that he was a gentleman, but when he found out that Pearl was a vampire, he developed a hatred towards her and wished to have staked her when he had the chance.

He didn't seem to hold contempt for witches, as he protected Emily from the Founders.

Physical Appearance

He had short, dark brown hair and brown eyes, with a mustache and beard. He wore a dark brown jacket and a lighter brown suit underneath. He had a tall stature and slim build.


A drawing of one of the devices

Johnathan Gilbert was a great inventor. He designed and built a series of devices which Emily secretly enchanted with magic so that they would act as anti-vampire gadgets. His inventions did not actually work without the enchantments.


The watch was in fact a compass which indicated vampires. It was composed of a watch case and a compass head. It was used back in 1864 to detect vampires, and in 2010 by Logan Fell.

The device was a system of wheels encased in a wooden box. It emits a high-pitch sound that only vampires and werewolves can hear. It was used in 2010 by John Gilbert in order to catch and kill the tomb vampires. To be activated, it required a certain cog which Pearl stole from Johnathan Gilbert back in 1864.


Season One

Season Two

Season Three

Season Eight

Stefan's Diaries

In Stefan's Diaries, he holds the Council meetings in his attic.


  • Johnathan is a common male given name meaning "God has given". It is a variant spelling of Jonathan, Jonathon, Jonothon and many others.[1]
  • Gilbert comes from English (Norman origin), French and North German: from Giselbert, which compromises of gisil "pledge", "hostage", "noble youth" + berht "bright", "famous".[2]


  • He was said to be craziest member of the council, at that time. Probably, because he invented the Gilbert Device, the Gilbert Compass, the Gilbert Ring and others.
  • He shared a great friendship with vampire Pearl, before learning that she was a vampire. It is possible that both loved each other.
  • He hated vampires so much that his love/friendship towards Pearl turned immediately to hate.
    • It's revealed by John Gilbert that he regretted so much that he didn't stake her when he discovered she was a vampire.
    • His hatred for the supernatural was not universal, as it seems that he worked with Emily, a witch, to produce his devices. Yet he did not care for vampires.
  • Alexander and Johnathan were both vampire hunters, both had special weapons to destroy vampires and both despised vampires so much to the point they betrayed their own lovers. For Johnathan it was Pearl, and for Alexander it was Rebekah.
  • With confirmation that human souls are found in the dimensions, he either found peace or went to Hell.



See also