Tom Wilson: State oratorical champ wrote GHS school song

From the Register-Mail:

On Nov. 15, 1909, a century ago, Knox County student Reuben Johan Erickson won the Illinois Oratorical contest held on the campus of Monmouth College. As a result of his feat, witnessed by more than 300 Knox students and local residents, Erickson became eligible to represent Illinois in the Interstate Contest in Omaha, Neb…..

Before he entered Galesburg High School the structure at Broad and Tompkins Streets was destroyed by a tragic fire. Erickson was a member of the first class to graduate from the newly built school at the same location. He proclaimed on the first page of the first ever known GHS Yearbook that the school colors would be “Silver and Gold.”

Erickson’s greatest contribution to Galesburg High School and its citizens was the first ever school song entitled “The Silver & The Gold”…..

Reuben Johan Erickson, upon departing from GHS, would graduate from Knox College and John Hopkins University. He was a lieutenant in the medical corps during World War I. He practiced medicine in Albany, N.Y., before retiring to Santa Fe, N.M.

Reuben Erickson lived as long as his song was sung at Dear Old Galesburg High School. He passed away on June 5, 1959, following an automobile accident in New Mexico. This coincendentally was the last day of classes at the downtown GHS school site prior to the opening of the current facility on West Fremont Street. Reuben lived as long as his old school.