During the winter of 1887-1888, while the former residents of the river town were busy with new beginnings, the encouraging word of hope for a brighter future because of the railroad spread. It could claim among its citizens an increasing number of those who had arrived from neighboring communities to share in a new way of life.
Among the newcomers who had arrived by the spring of 1888, one man in particular was destined to make an impact upon his adopted town, which would be unmatched and would sow seeds of generosity whose harvest would be a perpetual blessing. Ellie Davison Gilmore was a thirty-three year old bachelor when he and his brother, Thomas Jefferson Gilmore, moved to Amory from their home at Miston, a small community in the southeastern corner of Itawamba County, about eight miles northeast of Smithville.
Dr. William A. Evans wrote: “His contribution to his community was energy, courage, business sense, and foresight. Any shrewd man possessed of foresight, business judgment, and touched with the right amount of imagination might have duplicated Ellie Gilmore’s business success. But that which made him different was his sense of obligation to the community which had given him opportunity.” Another observation, expressed in a newspaper editorial, concluded, “One resource he possessed that quickened his philanthropic endeavors was a wife who inspired his splendid benevolences and encouraged his investment of money where it would be a blessing to others.”
Ellie Davison and Virginia Bolding Gilmore left businesses and buildings behind them which are material memorials, but a closer look at the quality of their lives pushes aside worldly success and illuminates the eternal fulfillment which they found in “serving humanity”.
Over 100 years after its founding, Gilmore Foundation continues the legacy of our namesake.