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Benjamin I. Gilman and Winthrop S. Gilman (Abolitionists)

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Washington County, Ohio Constitutional Convention Delegate

Henry Robert Burke


Benjamin Ives Gilman was well known in the fledgling community of Marietta, Northwest Territory and the state of Ohio during the period 1789 through 1812. In 1802 Gilman was elected as one of Washington County’s four delegates to the Ohio Constitutional Convention held at Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio.  Rufus Putnam, Ephraim Cutler and John McIntire were the other three delegates. Rufus Putnam, Ephraim Cutler and Benjamin I. Gilman took strong stands against slavery and voted to veto the proposal that would have legalized slavery in Ohio. John McIntire voted to legalize slavery in Ohio. Slavery in Ohio was Vetoed by a single vote.


Benjamin was the only son of the Hon. and Mrs. Joseph Gilman of Exeter, New Hampshire.  Please make note that in 1777 New Hampshire became the first State in the United States to abolished slavery. During the Revolutionary War Joseph Gilman provided a large sum of money to outfit Continental troops from New Hampshire.  Benjamin was very well educated in Exeter schools and also by his, the granddaughter of  the Hon. Robert Hale. Joseph moved his wife and son to Ohio, in 1789, to a home at Point Harmar near the established Fort.  During the Indian War they stayed in the Fort.


In February 1790, Benjamin Ives traveled back to New England and married Miss Hannah Robbins, daughter of Rev. Chandler Robbins, D.D. of Plymouth, Mass.  The young couple managed to cross the mountains in western Virginia in winter on horseback and arrived safely back to Harmar.  In 1792. Gilman opened a store at Fort Harmar and in 1801 he employed James Whitney, Esq. of Harmar as his master shipbuilder builder.  Between 1801 and 1812 the Gilman Shipyard at Harmar built seven vessels:

  1801               ship                Muskingum               230 tons

            1805               brig                 Perseverance          160 tons

            1806               ship                Rufus King               300 tons

            1807               ship                Francis                       350 tons

            1807               ship                Robert Hale               300 tons

            180[8]             schooner       Belle                           100 tons

            1812               schooner       Maria                            72 tons



The embargo of 1808, brought Gilman’s Shipyard and many other businesses nationwide to a terrible end. It can be said about Gilman that he was a well-mannered gentlemen with a fine intellect. 


In 1813, Benjamin Ives Gilman moved from Marietta to Philadelphia where he joined in partnership with Otis Ammidon and opened a new business under the name of Gilman & Ammidon, wholesale dealers in domestic goods.  While visiting his son Winthrop Sargent Gilman in Alton, IL, Gilman developed a fever and died there in 1833.  His wife Hannah Robbins Gilman died in New York in 1836.  Their marriage produced the following children:  Jane, Joseph, Arthur, Chandler, Robert Hale, Benjamin Ives, Winthrop Sargent, Rebecca, and Eliza. Jane married a Marietta man, Dudley Woolbridge, on November 28, 1807, but sadly died the following year at the age of seventeen.


Marietta Register.   


 Both Benjamin Ives Gilman and his son Winthrop Sargent Gilman died at Alton, Illinois.




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