Doll small in size, big in history


WILMINGTON — The Clinton County History Center’s new addition may be small in size, but it has big history behind it.

On Monday, the History Center received a ceramic doll version of Gilbert Van Zandt, of Port William, — aka “Little Gib.” The doll was donated by the Port William-Lumberton Senior Center and was delivered by Jane Armstrong.

Van Zandt became a drummer in the Union Army during the American Civil War at 10-years-old. He also served as a courier in the army until the war ended. Van Zandt was one of the youngest people to be mustered into the army from Ohio and was one of the longest-living veterans of the Civil War, according to the History Center.

Van Zandt would later die at the age of 92 in 1944 in Kansas City, Missouri.

According to the donation paperwork provided by Shelby Boatman, director of the History Center, the doll was made by Phyllis Geichman and given to the Port William Senior Center.

“Phyllis won first place with the ‘Little Gib’ doll in an art show held at Dayton Hara Arena,” the donation paperwork states.

Mike Geichman, son of Phyllis, told the News Journal his mother was very humble and didn’t think she would win. But when they went to get the doll from the art show, they discovered it was gone. It was only after snooping around that they found out it had won first place and was located at the winner’s table.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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