Norwich Bulletin – Historically Speaking: Bozrah man has legacy in sports

He was an American original. To own that title one must have creative juices working constantly, be imaginative, ingenious and resourceful. He decidedly fit that description and then some!

Martin (Marty) John Gilman was born in the Bozrahville section of Bozrah, one of seven children, in 1907, and was educated in a one room school house. At Norwich Free Academy, he played football and graduated in 1925. He then entered the University of Connecticut, playing football as a guard for the then “Connecticut Aggies.”

During this period, Marty was aware his “off season” practicing was hampered by the lack of a football partner. This fact motivated him to sew up a large piece of canvas, stuffing it with cotton batting waste from his father’s cotton mill. He now had a blocking dummy. In time, he added wool hair improving his innovation.