Ira O. Oliphant, the oldest person living in Gilman City, observed his 90th birthday (circa 1920) with a dinner at the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Buell Oliphant, reports the Trenton Republican-Times. Mr. Oliphant has been in business in Gilman City for many years and still has an office which he works every day, health permitting.
He has seen Gilman City grow from a corn field to the town it is today and was mayor of Gilman City for 22 year. He was mayor in 1924 and instrumental in the town having its first electricity in 1914. Mr. Oliphant was a member of the Gilman school board for 25 years and a member when the present school house was built in 1924. He has been a member of the IOOF Lodge for 50 years and a member of the Rebekah Lodge. He is a Primitive Baptist.
Mr. Oliphant was born in Indiana and came to Maryville when seven years old. He attended school in Stanberry and also attended the Normal there. He recalled how he cut wood every Saturday and sold it to pay school expenses. Lack of money did not stop him from attending Normal school, but he said measles did, when they settled in his eyes and he could not attend for two years, but he finished later.
He told of renting land in 1895, 40 acres for corn for $3 cash rent, raising 1,800 bushels. He hired it shelled for two cents a bushel and sold it for 14 cents a bushel.
He moved to Bancroft in 1897 where he farmed and owned a general store in Bancroft. He was married to Ada Ray, and they were the parents of one son, Buell. He told of moving to Gilman City when Gilman was a new thriving town and working in the Gilman Mercantile Store, which employed 13 men. The Mercantile employees worked from daylight unto dark installing windmills on farms in the area. They also did all the tin work in Gilman. So much building was going on at one time, that nails and implements were ordered by the car load, he said.
For many years Mr. Oliphant was assistant cashier of the Citizens Bank of Gilman, later establishing his own business of Real Estate, Farm Loans and Insurance, which he operates with his son, Buell Oliphant.
— written and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO
Note: This newspaper article for this post was written in the 1920s and was saved in a scrapbook which was purchased at an auction.