« 上一頁繼續 »
successfully combined the vocations of physician, surgeon, and druggist for quite fifty years, dying January 15, 1757, widely loved and esteemed in the colony. #. was three times married: first, to a daughter of Dr. Ridgway o partner in early life), by whom he had no issue; secondly, May 13, 1732, to Mary Peachy (died October 1, 1745), daughter of Thomas and Susan (Peachy) Walker, of King and Queen County, Virginia, and sister of Dr. Thomas Walker, the patriot and early explorer of Kentucky; thirdly. December, 11; 1745, to Harrison (died November 1, 1755), daughter of Dr. Archibald Blair, of Williamsburg, Virginia, a sister of Hon. John Blair, President of Virginia Council and Acting Governor of Virginia, and a niece of Commissary James Blair, President of William and Mary College. By his second marriage, Dr. George Gilmer had issue four sons: i. Peachy Ridgway, born March 6, 1737–8, married Mary Meriwether, settled at “Lethe,” Rockingham County (and had issue: i. Thomas Meriwether, married Elizabeth Lewis, and removed to Georgia, settling on Broad River. He was the father of a o family, among them Hon. George Rockingham Gilmer, member of Congress, Governor of Georgia, and author of “The Georgians;" ii. George; iii. Mary Peachy; iv. Elizabeth Thornton, married Major Robert Grattan; v. Lucy; vi. Frances Walker, married Richard Taliaferro); ii. George, born January 19, 1742–3, studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Thomas Walker, and graduated at Edinburgh, Scotland. The issue of Dr. George Gilmer by his third marriage was: iii. John, born April 26, 1748; an officer under Lafayette in the Revolution; married Mildred Meriwether, and died, in 1790, at his seat on Broad River, in the State of Georgia; iv. William, born May 22, 1753, died May 30, 1753.
Dr. George Gilmer, the second of the name, returning to Virginia after graduating, succeeded to the practice of his father in Williamsburg, but after a time removed to Albemarle County, where he married his first cousin Lucy (born May 5, 1751), daughter of Dr. Thomas Walker %. first marriage with Mildred (nee Thornton), widow of Nicholas Meriwether. He settled at “ Pen Park,” and soon attained a lucrative practice in his profession. The friend and intimate associate of Thomas Jefferson, he was an ardent patriot from the beginning to the end of the struggle for Independence. He served Albemarle in the House of Burgesses, and, as early as 1774, offered a resolution in that body on the subject of the Crown Lands, which was seconded by William Henry. He was gifted as an orator, and, when Lord Dunmore seized the powder of the colony, Dr. Gilmer harangued the citizens of Albemarle with such eloquence, that a company was immediately formed to march to Williamsburg to demand redress. Of this company Charles Lewis was chosen captain, and Dr. George Gilmer lieutenant. The company marched to Williamsburg, but their patriotic mission was anticipated by Patrick Henry. In the Convention of 1775, which met at Williamsburg, Dr. Gilmer was returned by Albemarle County as the alternate of Thomas Jefferson. His wife was a worthy mate to such a patriot. During the early days of the struggle for Independence, the patriots in different sections of the country found great difficulty in corresponding with each other, and it became necessary to establish a secret means of intercommunication by private letter-carriers. Mr. Jefferson, during a visit to his friend Dr. Gilmer at this period, in conversation with him, deplored the want of funds to defray the expense of such correspondence. Mrs. Gilmer, who was present, immediately left the room, and speedily returning with her personal jewels, of much value, handed them to Mr. Jefferson, and, with tearful eyes, asked him to use them in the cause of her country. Nor was she less a heroine than a patriot. When the British troops, under the command of Tarleton, entered Charlottesville in pursuit of the Assembly, as has been detailed in a preceding sketch, Mr. A., a friend of Dr. Gilmer, was a guest of Mrs. Gilmer, her husband being absent professionally. Mr. A., mounting his horse, attempted to escape, but was shot down, and carried off by the enemy. Mrs. Gilmer, learning that he was still alive, determined to succor him; and, accompanied by a maiden sister only, made her way perilously through the village, filled with drunken and disorderly troopers, to the presence of Tarleton himself, on her errand of mercy. He was so filled with admiration at the courage displayed by Mrs. Gilmer, that he not only delivered to her the helpless and insensible form of her friend, but sent his own surgeon to attend him until Dr. Gilmer returned. Mr. A. happily recovered, to gallantly serve his country, and to bequeath to his descendants a debt of gratitude to the worthy couple of “Pen Park.”
The issue of Dr. George and Lucy (Walker) Gilmer was: i. Francis Walker, an accomplished scholar and writer, the first professor of law of the University of Virginia, and who selected in Europe the remaining six professors with which that institution* was organized in 1825; ii. Peachy R.; iii. Mildred, the first wife of the eminent William Wirt; iv. George, married Eliza, daughter of Captain Christopher Hudson, a gallant patriot of the Revolution. Of their issue, Thomas Walker, the subject of this sketch, was born at “Gilmerton,” his father's seat, in Albemarle County, April 6, 1802. He early exhibited studious habits, and, at the age of fourteen, was sent to live with his uncle, Mr. Peter Minor, at “Ridgway,” for private tuition in his family. The tutor, a meek and quiet young man, was but a few years older than young Walker Gilmer, and occupied the same room with him and a cousin of the same age, William Gilmer. The mischievous boys often made the mild teacher the victim of their pranks, one of which was to crawl under his bed after he was asleep and to slowly raise themselves under him until he would roll out upon the floor. Before he would recover from his surprise, they would be snoring in their pallet. The beset pedagogue was at a loss to what to ascribe his nocturnal visitations, and quite believed himself haunted by evil spirits. He reported his troubles to Mr. Minor, who immediately suspected the true offenders, and soon detected them. The following morning the lads were aroused from their slumbers by an unusual tread upon the stairway, and soon had reason to tremble at the stern presence of their uncle Peter, accompanied by a negro man, “Pudding,” bearing a plentiful supply of birchen rods. The order was given to “horse Walker,” and, in a twinkle, he was hoisted upon “Pudding's" back, and the birch uplifted over him. Walker begged a parley, and forthwith commenced an extemporaneous plea of apologies, entreaties, and promises of amendment, which arrested the impending rod, and finally prevailed upon his uncle to pardon him. To §. too, who stood by in quaking suspense, mercy was also extended; and long after, in mature years, when the reputation of his fellow delinquent was established as an orator, he would often jocularly recall this early occasion of peril, and say to Gov. Gilmer that he had heard all his great speeches, but never one so powerful and impressive as the pathetic effort from the back of “Pudding.” From “ É. young Walker Gilmer was sent to school to Dr. Frank Carr, an excellent classical scholar, and a gentleman of extensive learning and much literary taste. The friend and companion of William Wirt, he is reported to have assisted him in the preparation of “The Old Bachelor.” Here young Gilmer's talents were fitly nurtured. He was thoroughly grounded in classic lore, and acquired a thirst for letters which was invaluable to him in his subsequent career. He remained two years under the care of Dr. Carr, and then continued his scholastic course under Mr. John Robertson, a Scotchman, of whom it is said that he “taught more clever men than any other single teacher ever did in Virginia, and whose classical knowledge was such that he would often hear a recitation in Homer without reference to the book.” From the school of Mr. Robertson, young Gilmer was sent to that of a Mr. Stack, in Charlottesville. Whilst here, as a member of a Thespian Society, he exhibited fine histrionic talents. Young Gilmer com|. his studies in Staunton, the pecuniary embarrassment of his father ringing them to an abrupt termination. He now entered the office of his uncle, Peachy R. Gilmer, at Liberty, Bedford County, Virginia, as a student of law. This gentleman was an eminent lawyer, a fine classical scholar, and possessed extraordinary conversational powers. Some of his letters were pronounced, by his friend and brother-in-law, William Wirt, as “inimitable specimens of epistolary style.” Whilst at Liberty, and, indeed, for some years previously, young Walker Gilmer was much aided and stimulated in his studies by correspondence with his uncle, Francis W. Gilmer, then a member of the bar of Winchester, Virginia. He was a close and assiduous student, and in less than a year applied for and obtained a license to practice law, and located himself in Scottsville, Albemarle County, within a few miles of “Mt. Air,” the residence of Captain Hudson, his maternal grandfather; but, tempted by the wide field offered in the new western country, he removed in a short time to St. Louis, Missouri. Very flattering prospects of success dawned upon him in that thriving city, but he was induced to abandon them and return to Virginia from a desire to aid his father in the management of his affairs and in the care of a large family. A striking instance of his magnanimity and generosity at this period is given. Always a favorite with his grandfather, Mr. Hudson, the latter had made a will constituting him his sole heir. When Walker Gilmer heard this, he insisted successfully that Mr. Hudson should alter the provisions of the will, and divide the estate equally among his brothers and sisters, after having first secured a competent provision for his father. In his new field of practice in Charlottesville, and the bar of Albemarle and the adjacent counties, Mr. Gilmer met with formidable competition in a host of legal and forensic talent, headed by Philip Pendleton Barbour, subsequently a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States; but competition only . greater exertion, and six years of unflagging devotion to his profession placed him in the front rank of the Albemarle bar. “As a lawyer, he was distinguished for acuteness of mind, adroitness in debate, clear perception of the true issue, skill in the examination of testimony, a fine grasp of the strong points of his cause, and intuitive detection of the weak ones of his opponents.” He was rather an able and skillful advocate than a profound jurist; and wielded more power over the sympathies and instincts of the jury than over the learning of the judge. . In the year 1825, the dispo. sition to amend the Constitution of Virginia began to manifest itself among the friends of reform in notable signs of a desire for concerted action. Notices were published for holding a Convention in Staunton, on the 25th of July, ...”that year, to consider the best means of effecting the common object, and meetings were held in many counties to appoint delegates to this Convention. A meeting of the citizens of Albemarle in favor of a Convention assembled in Charlottesville, in response to a call in the Central Gazette. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, the grandson of Thomas Jefferson, presided; and Thomas W. Gilmer offered a series of resolutions asserting the right of the people to change the existing defective Constitution, and recommending the appointment of delegates from the county to the Convention to be held in Staunton. The resolutions were adopted, and Thomas Mann Randolph, Valentine Wood Southall, and Thomas Walker Gilmer appointed delegates. The Convention met as appointed, and Mr. Gilmer attended. Thirty-eight counties were represented. Among the delegates were some of the most prominent men of Virginia, among whom were Charles Fenton Mercer, Judge John Scott, John R. Cooke, Callohill Minns, Daniel Sheffey, Lucas P. Thompson, Philip Doddridge, and others of like reputation and influence. The Convention remained in session for several days, and finally recommended, by a very large ..". 1. The white basis of representation; 2. The extension of the right of suffrage; 3. The abolition of the Council of State—a lingering relic of the earliest form of government of Virginia as a colony; 4. The adoption of some practical provision for future amendments; and, 5. }. adoption of a memorial to the Legislature to submit the question of a Convention to the vote of the people. Mr. Gilmer took an active part in the debates, and offered an important amendment to the resolution of the committee on the extension of suffrage, which was adopted. The speeches in the body were characterized by the Richmond Enquirer as being able and eloquent. It is noteworthy that the third and fourth measures of reform recommended were both rejected by the State Convention of 1829–30. Benjamin Watkins Leigh, by an effective speech, killed the former; and, when the Convention were about to adopt the latter, John Randolph of Roanoke gave it a summary quietus with a senseless sneer and a demonstration with his skinny forefinger. While in attendance upon the Staunton Convention, Mr. Gilmer met with Miss Ann E. Baker, the daughter of Hon. John Baker, a member of Congress from Virginia. She became his wife in the month of May following. During the political canvass which resulted in the election of General Andrew Jackson to his first term as President, Mr. Gilmer became one of the editors of the Virginia Advocate, a newspaper published in Charlottesville, and devoted to the success of the party of General Jackson. He had for several years been a constant contributor to the Central Gazette, also published in Charlottesville, by C. P. McKennie, and had acquired some reputation as a writer. His coeditor of the Advocate was John A. G. Davis, professor of law in the University of Virginia, a man of rare modesty, brilliant talents, and profound learning. The Advocate was ably edited, and did good campaign service. During the editorial career of Mr. Gilmer a controversy arose between the Virginia Advocate and the Lynchburg Virginian about the opinion of James Madison on the Bank question, which was carried on for some time with acrimony, and ended in a personal difficulty between Mr. Gilmer and Richard H. Toler, the editor of the Virginian. Mr. Gilmer went to Lynchburg and demanded an apology from Mr. Toler for some offensive language he had used towards him, and, not feeling satisfied with the result of the interview, assaulted Mr. Toler. The parties afterwards became friends, and frequently met in the State Legislature on the most amicable terms. In the spring of 1829, Mr.
*Sketches, Essays, and Translations by Francis W. Gilmer. Published, Baltimore. 1828, 12mo. He also reported “Cases decided in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1820 to 1821.” Richmond, 1821, 8vo.