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Gilman, John Jr.


Age: 18, credited to Shrewsbury, VT
Unit(s): 14th VT INF
Service: enl 9/5/62, m/i 10/21/62, Pvt, Co. B, 14th VT INF, m/o 7/30/63

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: abt 1845, Shrewsbury, VT
Death: 08/01/1868

Burial: Northam Cemetery, Shrewsbury, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone photographer: Jennifer Snoots
Findagrave Memorial #: 6530331


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not Found
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Northam Cemetery, Shrewsbury, VT

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.


Desperate and Bloody Affray

One of the most shocking, deplorable and fatal affrays which it has been our province as journalists to record as occurring in this section, took place in what is known as the Cold River district in Shrewsbury, on Saturday evening last, the particulars of which, as we have been able to glean them by personal observation at the scene of the murder and from eye witnesses, are substantially as follows:

It appears that for many years a feud has existed between the Plumley and Balch families in that neighborhood, numerous lawsuits growing out of the same, and a suit being at present pending between them in the Rutland County Court.

A few days since a couple of horses owned by Isaac H. Balch broke into a field of corn owned by Ziba Plumley, doing considerable damage, and as a consequence the animals were impounded. A couple of disinterested persons were appointed to appraise the damages, which they were engaged in doing on Saturday afternoon, in company with George Butterfly, a son-in-law of Plumley, when they were approached by Balch and a man named John Gilman and his son, John Gilman, Jr. Some words took place between Balch and the Gilmans on one side and Butterfly on the other, as to the merits of the question under appraisal, which they seemed to settle, and all started toward the road, distant about 80 rods, nearing which Balch and Butterfly shook hands, the latter remarking that he was "willing to let by-gones be by-gones," and that he would "stand the drinks for the crowd." With this explanation, Butterfly started for the house of his father-in-law to get a pint of rum with which to keep good his promise. He was absent, however, for about an hour, during which the appraisers had departed, but young Gilman remained in the field within a few feet of the road, his father and Balch standing in the highway. At the expiration of the time mentioned Butterfly returned, in company with Horace R. Plumley, Frederick Plumley and Ziba, their father. Horace immediately approached Gilman, pointing a load shot gun at him and ordered him out of the field, with which request Gilman expressed his willingness to comply, but the gun being in what he evidently regarded as to too close proximity to him, he seized hold of the barrel of the same and attempted unsuccessfully to wrench it from the hands of Plumley. At this juncture Frederick Plumley approached Gilman and threatened to stab him with a pitchfork, with which he was armed, unless he quitted the field. Gilman turned to ward off the blow of the fork, and in doing so loosed his hold on the shot gun in the hands of Horace, when the latter deliberately fired at him, the charge of shot taking effect in the region of the heart, making a hole about two inches in diameter, passing entirely through the body, and killing him instantly.

A couple of workmen in the employ of Balch, named Winn and Quartier, then came up, when cross-firing ensued between the belligerent parties, during which several volleys were discharged, resulting in inflicting a severe wound in the left leg of John Gilman, Sr., and a flesh wound in the right leg, as well as a scalp wound, on the person of Horace R. Plumley, who fired the first shot.

Deputy Sheriff Allen Sanderson, who happened to be in the immediate vicinity of the strife, approached the combatants, and effected the arrest of Horace Plumley, taking him, at his own request, to his (P's) house, where he proposed to change his clothing, after which he would accompany the officer. While there, however, and upon a temporary parole of honor, he attempted to escape to the woods adjacent, and thought at the time a ball was lodged in his thigh, he led this officer a vigorous chase of some thirty or forty rods, when he was again taken into custody by Mr. Sanderson, and carefully watched until lodged safely in jail at this place at an early hour on Sunday morning. Mr. Sanderson, before leaving, cared for the body of young Gilman and delivered it to his friends, while, assisted by Mr. Elam A. Clark, one of the appraisers in the dispute, heretofore mentioned, he succeeded in disarming the combatants and quieting the disturbance, and with Mr. B. B. Aldrich, first constable of the town, arrested, in addition to Horace R. Plumley, Ziba Plumley, his father and Abraham Winn and Napoleon Quartier the two latter being the workmen of Balch who participated in the affray, and lodging them in the County Jail at this place.

Immediately after the conclusion of the affray, two of the participants, George Butterfly and Frederick Plumley, fled to the woods, but yesterday morning, Butterfly came out and was arrested by Mr. Sanderson, and, with his relatives, confined in the jail here. Fred has not, up to the present writing, been taken, but we understand his brothers have said that they would reveal his hiding place this morning and deliver him to the officers of justice.

A coroner's jury was organized on Saturday evening, under the direction of E. W. Aldrich, Esq., a justice of the peace of the town, and an inquest held upon the remains of the murdered man, resulting in a verdict being rendered "that the deceased, John Gilman, Jr., came to his death from the effects of a charge of shot, discharged from a weapon in the hands of some person to the jury unknown.

This verdict was rendered, not, as we understand, that there was any doubt in the minds of the jury as to who was the murderer, but that Horace Plumley may receive the benefit of doubts in the case, he claiming that he acted in self-defense, or that the discharge of the weapon was accidental. The names of the gentlemen composing the jury are: Nathaniel Lord, one of the selectmen of the town, foreman, and ten others, as follows: Walter Wilmarth, Elam A. Clark, Newell Green, Austin Aldrich, Amherst Sumner, Josiah Parker, Pearl Parker, Martin Flanagan, Edwin Pierce and Henry Wilcox.

The affair, in all its bearings is a sad one, and peculiarly so, as the murdered man was universally respected and beloved in the community where the tragedy occurred, and, by his own confession, by none more than he who so hurriedly dispatched his soul to the presence of the Maker.

Young Gilman was a resident of Little Falls, N. Y., and was but temporarily at Shrewsbury, to help his father through haying and harvesting. He was about 22 years of age. His father was a witness on behalf of Balch in the long-pending litigation between the two families, who were principals in the affray, and it is conjectured that his presence on the fatal ground was brought about solely by the interest which, on this account, he took in the quarrel.

Both the Plumley's and Balch's sustain anything but a favorable reputation in the community. That serious difficulty was apprehended or intended by both parties, there can be no doubt, as they rallied their forces to the scene of the conflict, and subsequent investigation proved that they were to a man armed with deadly weapons. The preliminary investigation of the case will take place today or tomorrow.

Source: Rutland Daily Herald, August 3, 1868.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.