Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Gilman’

Joe Gilman Part II

December 2, 2009

How long Joe Gilman stayed in Minneapolis isn’t known nor is exactly what he did during this time period. Perhaps his Carlisle student file would shed a bit of light on it. We know that he eventually showed up at Carlisle because his name began to appear in the school’s newspaper. His first mention was for playing tackle in the first game of the 1913 football season against Albright College. He didn’t get further mention during the football season, probably because a more experienced player returned from summer break. Even though several star players left the team after each of the 1911 and 1912 seasons, the Indians sustained only one loss in each season from 1911-13. Joe Gilman was contending against some strong players.

 In December, he was listed as being in the receiving line with Mary Bailey at a reception held by the Susan Longstreth Society. Joe had either been at school for several years without receiving prior mention or had some education, particularly with English, prior to coming to Carlisle. Because he doesn’t seem to be listed on the 1910 Federal Census as being enrolled at Carlisle at that time, Joe probably hadn’t arrived many years before 1913.

 The Carlisle Arrow listed him as placing third in both 220-yard and 440-yard dashes in the handicap track meet held among students as part of 1914 Commencement activities during which Joe Gilman received an industrial certificate in blacksmithing. This implies that he was at Carlisle for at least two years prior to this. So, he likely came to Carlisle in 1911. However, he wasn’t finished yet.

Joe returned for the 1914-15 school year and was promoted to the Freshman class. He also played football but, again, wasn’t a starter. He did get into the Penn game and probably more but the line-ups weren’t generally included in the school paper’s coverage of that year’s games.

Joe Gilman was to be the starting center for the Freshman basketball team that winter but an opportunity in Detroit was of higher priority.

End of Part II

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End of Carlisle-Detroit Connection

October 21, 2008

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of meeting Marcia and Sheldon Cohen, the wife and son of the late Gus Cohen, at Lone Star Dietz’s induction ceremony, but more on that in a later blog. Mrs. Cohen related that her mother left the Triangle Shirtwaist factory two weeks before the infamous fire in 1911. At the time she was making $2.50 a week. She made that much because she had the skill necessary to sew lace collars onto shirts. This puts Henry Ford’s pay increase into better perspective for me. $2.50 per week increased to $5.00 per day and the workday was shortened from 9 hours to 8. That was a ten-fold increase. However, autoworkers were already making more than many other workers. But still, this raise more than doubled their income if they met Ford’s criteria. No wonder the other industrialists were flummoxed.

Not every Ford worker qualified, starting with women. Ford believed that women rightfully should be married and taking care of their families, so he didn’t increase their wages. Worker’s under 22 were not qualified unless they had dependents. To further determine who was worthy, the company’s Sociological Department was expanded. The staff of 150 visited employees’ homes and asked them about everything from marital status to savings, health, hobbies, and child care. Excessive drinking, gambling, buying on credit, a dirty home, and an unwholesome diet were all grounds for probation; if a worker hadn’t cleaned up his act in six months, not only did he not get the $5 a day wage, he was fired.

The Carlisle students at Ford worked hard to qualify. In December 1915, 25 Carlisle boys were working at Ford. Three of the first to go to Detroit (Joseph Gilman, Everett Ranco, and Norman Thompson) had already qualified for the $5 a day wage and six others (Clement Hill, William Hall, Leslie James, Francis Kettle, Fred Skenandore and Benjamin Skenandore) expected to attain that status soon. Joseph Gilman, Chippewa, expected to be transferred to Ford’s Minneapolis plant soon. That move would return him to his home state.

In May 1916, The Arrow reported that, in 1916 alone, the school had received checks from Ford to be deposited in 25 students’ accounts $1,988.60, an amount that equals 25% of their earnings during this period, $7,954.40. Most were able to live on the 75% of their pay that they received directly but some withdrew money from their school accounts for living expenses.

While living and working in Detroit the boys formed their own football team, the Detroit Carlisles, and competed with the independent or semi-pro teams along the Great Lakes. By June 1918, a total of 68 Carlisle boys had worked at the Ford plant of which more than completed the student course. Twenty-five had enlisted in the armed forces by this time. The Ford-Carlisle was impacted first by the declaration of War in 1917 and finally by the closing of Carlisle Indian School in 1918.