Gillham is located on much
of what was originally the Silver Hill community. Silver Hill prospered
during the first of the county’s mining booms about 1874. Even though no
silver or other precious minerals were found, the town grew.
In 1897 a new town on the
Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad was laid out about one and a quarter
miles southeast of Silver Hill. It was named for Robert Gillham, chief
engineer of the railroad. The town was incorporated in 1902 with an
estimated population of four hundred. The timber mill at Silver Hill and
the proximity of the Bellah and Antimony Mines provided prosperity for the area
until the Great Depression.