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The Honorable Nicholas Gilman Jr.

by Barbara Rimkunas

This "Historically Speaking" column was published in the Exeter News-Letter on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Nicholas Gilman Jr. wasn’t college educated. He was born in Exeter in 1755 during the French and Indian War. His father, also named Nicholas Gilman, was a local merchant. When the younger Nicholas finished attending the local schools, he clerked in his father’s trading house in downtown Exeter. There he overheard his father’s talk of oppressive taxation and colonial overreach. The elder Nicholas was a leader of the local militia and a stalwart supporter of the Patriot cause. When hostilities broke out, young Nicholas joined up at the tender age of 21. He served throughout the war – rising to the rank of Captain and serving on George Washington’s staff during the dreadful winter at Valley Forge. After the war he returned to Exeter and became politically active. He served in Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1786, which convinced him that the…

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