Gilman Historical Society

Meetings are held the first Monday of the month at 7 PM at the old city hall building.

217 N. Central Street
Gilman, IL  60938

Phone:  (815) 265-4381 or (815) 265-7518

Hours:  First Saturday of the month from 10 AM - 2 PM or by calling the phone numbers listed above.

President:  Sally Legan
V. President:  Pat Short
Secretary:  Beth Zirkle
Treasurer:  Jim Schreiber

Gloria Reitz, Bob Scherer, and Ruth Orr

To read information about Gilman High School, click here.

Click on each photo to see some of US veteran memorabilia currently on display at the Gilman Historical Society. 

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William Miller
US Army, 1950's

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Budd Kohlmetz
US Navy, 1940's

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Navy White, 1940's

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Ray Perdue
US Army Air Force, 1940's

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Richard Larson
US Army Air Force

Elliott_J.jpg (140816 bytes)

John Elliott
US Army, 1960's

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George Elliott
Supreme Allied Force

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Hank Soloman
WWI, 81st Infantry

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Carl Anderson
WWI, Medical Corp

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David Schreiber
US Army Military Police, 1960's

Ishmiel.jpg (149494 bytes)

Walter "Judge" Ishmiel
4th Armored Tank Battalion

Bargmann.jpg (177505 bytes)

Sean and Nick Bargmann
Iraq, 2000's

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Matt Kreeb, 2000's
Tomb of Unknown Soldier

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Ray Perdue Family

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Miscellaneous Items

Other Displays

Historical excerpts from a special 1925 edition of 

On March 21, 1886, six Gilman school boys met in the old school building and realized the bond of loyalty and friendship they shared would soon be broken when they graduated and pursued their individual vocations.  Thus unconsciously was sown the seed from which sprung the Old Gilman Boys Association.  Following is the agreement they drew up:

1886 Agreement
Gilman, Illinois, March 21,1886

We, the undersigned, do by signing this agreement promise to each other that if alive and under circumstances that will possibly admit, we will meet together in said Gilman, Illinois, in the third week of March in the year 1896, for the purpose of visiting together and to recall old occurrences  of our school, and of our lives while together in the Gilman Public School, and of our lives while together as friends living in Gilman, Illinois.

We do also promise to each other that if any difficulty or hard feeling arises between any of us and exists at the time appointed for our reunion, that the existing hard feeling will be forgotten for the time of our appointed meeting and will in no way be considered as a cause for our breaking our written promise.

George W. Miller

Robert W. Parker

Ed C. Merritt

A. D. Thompson

H. K. Henry

F. M. Kerr

Three of the signers remained and graduated, Robert W. Parker being a member of the first class and George W. Miller and Almon D. Thompson, members of the second class that was graduated from Gilman High School.  Parker became a lawyer in Chicago.  Miller taught school for a short time in Iroquois County following his graduation, then became a Chicago lawyer and was also elected to the Illinois legislature.  Thompson went to Peoria and became a civil engineer.  Herbert K. Henry graduated from a Chicago business college. Frank M. Kerr located in Montana and Edson C. Merritt engaged in the fruit market business in California.  

On  March 20, 1896, exactly ten years after the agreement was made, four of the signers met-- Miller, Parker, Henry, and Thompson; the other two were unable to attend. They invited a number of their school day friends, as well as other residents of the town, to unite with them and all met at the Redfield Hotel and were served a banquet especially prepared for the occasion.  Title, age, and position were forgotten; all became school boys again and as they recounted the events of the past, the pranks they played on each other, their teachers and at Halloween time, on the unsuspecting citizens, their sides ached with laughter; but in the quiet of the moments that intervened between their outbursts of mirth, a sigh welled up from the hearts of all for the good old days gone by when hopes were high and life, untrammeled with care, was bright as the dew of the morning.  Following the banquet, a second agreement was drawn up and this time it was signed by a large number.  The fellows felt ten years was too long a time span for another happy reunion, so a meeting in five years was at first mentioned. But in order to bring the meeting on a decimal number from which they might continue on, the time was settled on four years, bringing it to August, 1900.  They named the organization "The Old Gilman Boys Association" and chose a chairman, secretary, and other organizing committees.

A second reunion was held in 1900 with about 75 attending (all Old Boys).  A banquet at the Redfield Hotel was again served.  The reunions of 1905 and 1910 were not confined to a banquet alone but were in the nature of the celebrations.  The Old Boys later decided to expand to include the girls, creating "The Old Boys' & Girls' Association."  The Gilman Old Boys' and Girls' song was written for the 1915 reunion.  The city of Chicago claimed many of Gilman's young people, so a Chicago branch was organized; and many of them came to the reunion by train, hence processions to begin many reunions began at the Illinois Central Depot.

Gilmanites look forward with great anticipation to celebrating this upcoming 4-day reunion in 2010 with old and new friends.  Coming home is a great feeling, and no one makes you feel more at home than the people of Gilman.  So enjoy yourself and we hope you will continue to come home to Gilman.