Thomas Walker Gilmer, Governor

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Thomas Walker Gilmer, Governor

Birthdate: (41)
Birthplace: Albemarle Co, VA
Death: February 6, 1844 (41)
Aboard the USS Princeton
Immediate Family:

Son of George Gilmer and Elizabeth Anderson Hudson
Husband of Anne E. Gilmer
Father of Elizabeth Anderson Gilmer; John Baker Gilmer; Juliet Ann Gilmer; Ellen Tapscott Gilmer; Thomas Walker Gilmer and 4 others
Brother of Sarah Eliza Tompkins; John Harmer Gilmer; George Christopher Gilmer; Lucy E. Gilmer; Ann Gilmer and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Walker Gilmer, Governor

Thomas Walker Gilmer From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas W. Gilmer

15th United States Secretary of the Navy In office February 19, 1844 – February 28, 1844 Preceded by David Henshaw Succeeded by John Y. Mason Personal details Born April 6, 1802 Albemarle County, Virginia, United States Died February 28, 1844 (aged 41) Aboard USS Princeton, Potomac River, Maryland, United States Political party Whig, Democrat Spouse(s) Anne Elizabeth Baker Children George Hudson Gilmer Profession Politician, Lawyer Thomas Walker Gilmer (April 6, 1802 – February 28, 1844) was an American statesman.

Personal life

Gilmer was born to George and Eliza Gilmer at their farm, "Gilmerton", in Albemarle County, Virginia. He was taught by private tutors in Charlottesville and Staunton, and studied law in Liberty (now Bedford), Virginia.

Gilmer practiced law in Charlottesville. He was, briefly, editor of the Virginia Advocate, a Charlottesville newspaper.

On May 23, 1826, Gilmer married Anne Elizabeth Baker of Shepherdstown, now in West Virginia. Her late father, John Baker, had been a member of the United States House of Representatives. They had a son, George Hudson Gilmer, a Presbyterian minister.

Political career

Gilmer first served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1829-36, representing Albemarle County. He returned in 1839-40 and was named Speaker.

On February 14, 1840, Gilmer was elected the 28th Governor of Virginia. While in office, he had a disagreement with the Virginia General Assembly over the extradition of slave stealers, which played a part in his running for Congress the following winter.

In March 1841 he entered the 27th Congress, and although he had been elected as a Whig, voted to sustain Democratic President John Tyler's vetoes. He was re-elected to the 28th Congress as a Democrat in 1842 by a close vote. His competitor, William L. Goggin, contested the result without success.

As one of President Tyler's close Virginia allies in Washington, Gilmer was involved in the effort by the Tyler Administration to make the annexation of Texas the basis for his failed bid for reelection in 1844. On February 15, 1844, he was appointed by Tyler to be U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and resigned his seat in Congress on February 18 to enter on the duties of the office, but 10 days later was killed by the bursting of a gun on board USS Princeton while on a tour of the Potomac River. His death meant the loss of a valuable ally for Tyler and some historians suggest that it may have delayed the Texas annexation effort.


Gilmer is buried at Mount Air Cemetery in Gilbert, Virginia.[4] A year after his death, Gilmer County, Virginia was named in his honor; it is now part of West Virginia. The city of Gilmer, Texas is also named for him. (Gilmer is the county seat of Upshur County, Texas, named after Abel Parker Upshur, another victim of the USS Princeton explosion.)

Two ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Gilmer in his honor.


^ a b c d e Jamerson, p. 61 ^ a b c d e Lewis, p. 686 ^ Markham, Thomas A.. "A Bit of Town History: A Bit of History of "Old" Liberty/Bedford, Virginia". Retrieved 2008-10-27. ^ "Thomas Walker Gilmer". Find a Grave. 2003-02-28. Retrieved 2008-10-27.


Thomas Walker Gilmer at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

Jamerson, Bruce F., Clerk of the House of Delegates, supervising (2007).

Speakers and Clerks of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1776-2007. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia House of Delegates.

Lewis, Virgil Anson (1887). History of West Virginia. Hubbard Brothers, Philadelphia. Retrieved 2008-10-27.

External links

A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841 at The Library of Virginia

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Thomas Walker Gilmer, Governor's Timeline

April 6, 1802
Albemarle Co, VA
April 3, 1827
Age 24
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
November 21, 1828
Age 26
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
November 29, 1830
Age 28
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
November 6, 1832
Age 30
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
July 25, 1834
Age 32
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
July 31, 1836
Age 34
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
July 29, 1838
Age 36
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA
May 31, 1840
Age 38
Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA, USA