Col. Samuel Gwin

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Samuel Gwin

Birthplace: Orange County, North Carolina, United States
Death: Died in Mississippi, United States
Cause of death: Injuries sustained in a duel with Judge Isaac Caldwell
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. James A. Gwin and Mary Adair Gwin
Brother of Nancy Elizabeth Gwin; Asa B. Gwin; Thomas Gwin; Sen. William McKendree Gwin (D-CA); Margaret Duval and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Col. Samuel Gwin

From Colonel Samuel Gwin, Written by Jay Guy Cisco

From Historic Sumner County, Tennessee, 1909

Samuel Gwin was a brother of Senator Gwin. He also located in Mississippi, where he became prominent, though less so than his brother, and less is know of him. The following letter, copied from "Claiborne's History of Mississippi," will give some idea of Colonel Gwin:

Washington, October 14, 1831 Hon. George Poindexter, United States Senator: Sir- My recent appointment, Register of the Land Office at Mount Salus, makes it my duty to explain to you why I sought the position, and to say something of my antecedents. I am a native of Tennessee; was a volunteer under Jackson in his Indian campaigns; was in Coffee's brigade in the assault and capture of Pensacola in 1814, and in all the engagements with the British below New Orleans. I lost my health by long protracted exposure, and to this day am a habitual suffer. In 1829 the Postmaster General was good enough to give me a clerkship in his department, since which time I have never been absent from my post. My beloved wife is now threatened with consumption, and I am advised that the only hope for her is to take her to a warmer climate. Under this advice, and with this hope, and for the happiness of a young family, I submitted the case to the President, and, with the noble sympathies of his nature, he conferred on me the Mount Salus appointment.

I do not apprehend that anyone will doubt my qualifications or character, but I fear my non-residence my be considered an objection. For this I must ask indulgence. I have never resided in Mississippi, but have shed my blood on her soil in her defense, as the records of our battles will attest. My venerable father and his six brothers were soldiers of the Revolution. Respectfully, your obedient servant, Sam'L Gwin

Senator Poindexter bitterly resented the appointment of Colonel Gwin, and from that time on made vigorous war on President Jackson. He succeeded in the Senate in having the nomination of Colonel Gwin rejected, and he appointed to the new Land Office at Choccchuma, a more profitable position. The Gwins succeeded in defeating Senator Poindexter for re-election. The canvass resulted in a duel between Judge Isaac Caldwell, Poindexter's law partner, and Colonel Gwin. Both parties fell. Caldwell expired in two hours. Gwin was shot through the lungs and survived a year.

From Correspondence of James K. Polk: 1835-1836

From George R. Fall [1]

Jackson [Misssissippi] Jan 20, 1836

Respected sir:

Expunging Resolutions will be passed by our legislature. The anti's elated for a short period by the success of Lynch [2] are furious about it and some of them talk of resigning. Joy go with them.

Col. S. Gwin [3] who received a desperate wound in a conflict with I. Caldwell [4] a few days since is fast recovering. The particulars of the fight have reached you ere this. Caldwell was urged on by Poindexter and paid the forfiet of his life for his subserviency.

Genl. Foot [5] will be an applicant for the station now filled by Judge Ellis [6]. He is the greatest man in our state, I mean the most talented. He has been ab initio [7] a devoted friend of democratic principles and altho he got wrong on the White question, so soon as that error was discovered he instantly abandoned him. He is a favorite of the friends of Andrew Jackson in Mississippi; has been their main pillar on the stump and with the pen; has toiled night and day for the last eight years to keep the administration star in the ascendant. He is unusually qualified for the station, and his appointment would give unusual satisfaction to the friends of the president. Will you, my dear sir, urge his claims. G. R. Fall.

Addressed to Washington.


  • 1. A prominent newspaperman, Fall was at this time editor of the Jackson Mississippian.
  • 2. Charles Lynch, a Whig who had recently been elected governor of Mississippi.
  • 3. Samuel Gwin, a son of Jackson's old friend James Gwin, had been appointed to a land office in Mississippi. He hissed Poindexter as the latter made a furious attack upon Jackson at the Lynch inaugural ball. Apparently intoxicated, Poindexter also ridiculed Gwin in his speech.
  • 4. Isaac Caldwell, friend and former law partner of Poindexter, challenged Samuel Gwin to a duel as a result of the events at the inaugural party, and in the conflict both were wounded. Caldwell died the same day and Gwin died a year later after much suffering.
  • 5. Henry S. Foote ahd founded the newspaper that Fall was editing. He practiced law in several towns of Mississippi and later became a United States senator and also governor of Mississippi.
  • 6. Powhatan Ellis, formerly a United States senator, had just resigned a federal judgeship to go on a mission to Mexico. Ellis was a strong political opponent of Poindexter.
  • 7. From the beginning.
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Col. Samuel Gwin's Timeline

Orange County, North Carolina, United States
Age 45
Mississippi, United States