Posts Tagged ‘Roberta Gilman’

Joe Gilman Last Installment

December 17, 2009

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.

Joe Gilman Part V

December 14, 2009

Joe Gilman was apparently transferred to Minneapolis by Ford because his daughter, Roberta Carlysle, was born there and his wife, Lydia, was from Michigan. The November 3, 1916 issue of The Carlisle Arrow contained this item about Joe:

End of Part V

Joe Gilman Part IV

December 10, 2009

In July, The Carlisle Arrow announced that Joe Gilman and 18 other boys were receiving excellent reports for their work at Ford. On Sept 11 1915, Joe married Lydia Douglas 1 week before Lydia’s 17th birthday. In November the school reported on his marriage, stating the young couple, “..is getting on very well. Joseph has an excellent record at Carlisle, and great success is wished him by his friends.” The fact that this item appeared in the Alumni Department Notes column implied that Joe was no longer a Carlisle student. Lydia was a white girl who was born in Michigan to a father from Canada and a mother from Michigan.

The December 3 edition told of Joe’s promotion and transfer:

Joseph Gilman, Everett Ranco, and Norman Thompson, who went to Detroit last January, were promoted in July and are now receiving $5.00 a day.…Joseph Gilman expects to be transferred to Minneapolis, Minn., before long to do the same kind of work in the Ford plant there.

In January 1916, The Arrow reprinted an article from the Philadelphia Public Ledger titled “Indian Youths Set Records in Factory.” The lead paragraph featured Joe:

Out of the score of nations represented in an automobile factory in Detroit it remained for an Indian, Joseph Gilman, a Chippewa, whose home is in Minnesota and who is at present enrolled at the Carlisle Indian School, to set the world’s record for assembling a car of that make. He had the machine ready for the road in two hours and fifty minutes after beginning work. The previous record was three hours.

Roberta Carlisle Gilman was born on March 3, 1916 in Minnesota.

End of Part IV