Brig. General Gilbert S. Meem (Virginia Militia)

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Gilbert Simerall Meem

Birthdate: (84)
Death: 1908 (84)
Immediate Family:

Son of John Gaw Meem and Eliza Campbell Russell

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Brig. General Gilbert S. Meem (Virginia Militia)

Gilbert Simrall Meem (October 5, 1824 – June 10, 1908) was a brigadier general in the Virginia militia, who served along with the Confederate States Army in northwestern Virginia at various times during 1861 and early 1862 in the American Civil War. Meem's men participated in Stonewall Jackson's attacks on the towns of Romney and Bath, later Berkeley Springs, now in West Virginia in early January 1862. After the brigade went into winter quarters in Martinsburg, now West Virginia, Meem resigned his commission on February 1, 1862, apparently under pressure. He served in the government in Shenandoah County, Virginia during the war.

Meem served two years in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1852 to 1854 and four years in the Virginia Senate between 1871 and 1875. He was a noted breeder of livestock before and after the war. In 1892, he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he was appointed postmaster by President Grover Cleveland.[1][2][3]



Early life[edit]

Gilbert S. Meem was born in Abingdon, Virginia on October 5, 1824.[1][2] His parents were John Gaw Meem, a Lynchburg, Virginia banker, and Eliza (Russell) Meem.[1]

Gilbert Meem attended Edgehill Seminary, a prep school for Princeton University, but quit school to manage the Steenbergen estate near Mount Airy, Virginia, which his father had purchased in 1841.[1] He became an accomplished lifestock breeder as well as a planter.[1][2] He married Nannie Rose Garland, which resulted in future Confederate States Army Brigadier General Samuel Garland and Lieutenant General James Longstreet becoming relatives.[1] Meem served in the Virginia House of Delegates as a Democrat in 1852–1854.[1][2]

American Civil War service[edit]

Gilbert S. Meem was a brigadier general of the 7th Brigade in the 3rd Division of Brigadier General James Harvey Carson in the Virginia militia at the outbreak of the Civil War.[1][2] Along with Carson's men, Meem's brigade was part of the garrison at Harpers Ferry after it was captured by the pro-Confederate Virginia force in April 1861.[1] Meem's brigade guarded Winchester, Virginia when then Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston's men moved to support Confederate forces at the First Battle of Bull Run.[1] At least part of Meem's brigade remained on duty throughout 1861.[1]

In November 1861, Meem's men were called by Stonewall Jackson for training at Winchester, Virginia and duty in the Valley District.[1][2] In early January, Jackson moved against the Union held towns of Romney and Bath (Berkeley Springs) and occupied those towns.[1] Meem's men advanced with Jackson's main body.[1] They performed poorly at Bath, falling back under fire and failing to block the Union force's route of retreat as Jackson drove them out of town from the other side.[4] After Jackson took possession of the two main towns in the area, which overextended him and which he could not maintain after a few weeks, Meem's men were sent south and east to Martinsburg, Virginia, now West Virginia, to guard the rear of Jackson's army and to go into winter quarters.[1][4]

On February 1, 1862, Meem resigned his commission.[1][2] The resignation appears to have been under pressure after General Robert E. Lee received reports that Meem's habits and daily condition, apparently alcohol abuse, made him unfit for command.[1] Meem returned to his estate and also held various positions in the Shenandoah County, Virginia government for the remainder of the war.[1]

Later life[edit]

After the war, Meem continued to manage his estate in the Mount Airy area of Shenandoah County, Virginia.[1] He received recognition for his breeding operations which helped introduce and improve fine cattle and sheep into the Shenandoah Valley.[1] Meem served in the Virginia State Senate from 1871 to 1875.[1] He published a booklet titled: Catalogue of short horned cattle, on exhibition and for sale at the National Fair, Washington, D.C. New Market, Henkel and Co., printers, 1888, OCLC 5953903.[5]

In 1892, Meem sold his Mount Airy property and moved to Seattle, Washington.[1][3] President Grover Cleveland appointed him postmaster of Seattle after his move.[2][6] Meem served in that office until 1899,[3] becoming a well-known citizen of the city.[2][6]

Gilbert S. Meem died on June 10, 1908 at Seattle, Washington.[2][6] He is buried in Lake View Cemetery at Seattle.[2][6] His son, Gilbert S. Meem, Jr., had died no later than May 29, 1909 and was buried in the same cemetery.[

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Brig. General Gilbert S. Meem (Virginia Militia)'s Timeline

Age 84