Joe Gilman Last Installment

Joe Gilman was still in Minneapolis in 1917 when he registered for the draft on June 5. He and his family lived at 3218 Bryant Street and he worked as a salesman for Minneapolis Auto Laundry Company. He gave his date and place of birth as February 8, 1892 in Emily, Minnesota. He registered as an Indian but claimed no exemptions from the draft. Under prior military service, he claimed 4 years as an infantry 1st Sergeant at Carlysle [sic]. It may be that he was trying to get drafted. It seems unlikely that he did because his second child, Isabelle, was born in 1918 in Minnesota.

Although Minneapolis Auto Laundry Company is an odd name for a company that sells automobiles, it might have been who Joe was working for when he wrote Carlisle in November 1916.

The 1920 census listed Joe Gilman as working for Ford Motor Company in Minneapolis as a salesman. It might be that his work ended when the 300-car contract was finished, causing him to return to the Ford branch. Family lore has it that he owned a Ford dealership, Gilman Motors Company, in Minneapolis that went bankrupt in 1922. He could have started that right after the 1920 census.

According to family lore, after his bankruptcy Joe Gilman moved his family back to Detroit where he again worked for Ford as a salesman. At least for a time. The 1930 federal census listed him as living in Detroit but working for an unnamed soap company. His position was illegible but might have been salesman but probably wasn’t. The 1937 tribal role listed him as still living in Detroit.

He left his family in 1943 and his daughter, Roberta, never saw him again after her wedding day. Needless to say, his grandchildren never saw him. He died in 1960 while in an Addicted Adult Program, which probably meant that he suffered from alcoholism.

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4 Responses to “Joe Gilman Last Installment”

  1. Pamela Guenzel Says:

    I am Joe Gilman’s granddaughter–his daughter Roberta’s child. I am planning a trip to Carlisle PA mid May and am interested in finding out more about Joe, as I never met him. Any suggestions you have would be welcome. Thank you for all the research you have done. I understand you have been communicating some with my daughter Robin.

    • tombenjey Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pamela. When you’re in Carlisle, you will definitely want to go to the Cumberland County Historical Society as they have a lot of artifacts from the Indian school. Also, Richard Tritt, the photocurator has numerous photos. Also in Carlisle is the Military History Institute which has some documents and a number of photos due to the Indian school having been located on Carlisle Barracks.

      In the meantime, you could contact the National Archives in Washington, DC and ask for a copy of Joe Gilman’s Carlisle Indian School Student File. His records should be found in File #4290 Box #98.

      I hope this helps a bit.


      • Pamela Guenzel Says:

        Thank you for such a prompt reply. I have written to the Archives to request the student file. And I plan to follow up on your other suggestions. Did you ever hear more from Veronica Pasfield, who wrote you after going to Ford Motor Company records?–Pam

  2. tombenjey Says:

    Robin and I communicated in November 2009. I don’t know if she had been to Ford before then or not.

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