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York, and arrested in Virginia. Governor Gilmer refused to comply with the demand until the demand of Virginia for the surrender of the slave stealers, as above, should have been complied with. Thus was the issue joined between North and South, but the Legislature of Virginia receded from its bold position, and failed to sustain Governor Gilmer. Debate ensued, and modified resolutions were passed and communicated to the Governor on the 18th instant. On the same day he sent to the Assembly a m e in which he ably vindicated his course, and resigned his office. The resignation of Governor Gilmer was a complete surprise to the Legislature. Much heated discussion ensued, and party spirit ran high. The passions of his opponents led them to extreme measures. It was proposed to supply his place by a new election, and the commencement of the gubernatorial term was changed by enactment to the 1st of January; but the Legislature were unable to agree to elect a successor, and adjourned, leaving the office of Governor to be filled . by the senior Councillor of State for the yearly term of such precedence, as provided by law. He was thus succeeded until the 31st of March following by John Mercer Patton. As soon as the resignation of Governor Gilmer became known he was solicited to declare himself a candidate for Congress from the Albemarle district. He accordingly did so, and was elected by a handsome majority, and took his seat, on the 31st of May, in the Congress which had been convened by the proclamation of President Harrison, dated the 17th of March. In the meanwhile, the death of President Harrison, which occurred on the 4th of April, just one month after his inauguration, had devolved the Executive office on John Tyler, the Vice-President. There was a Whig majority in both branches of Congress. John White, of Kentucky, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. Gilmer entered actively on the work of reform in Congress. He proposed the entire separation of the political press from the patronage of the Government, and that the Executive should be required to report to the Senate his reasons for all removals from office. These were capital reforms, but failed. Mr. Gilmer labored, too, through the medium of a *. committee, of which he was chairman, for retrenchment. He served also as a member of the important Standing Committee of Ways and Means. On the 17th of June he offered a resolution for the appointment of a committee to examine into the number of the officers or agents of the Government, modes of transacting business, and expenditures, to report at the next session if any reduction in the expenses of the civil #. or in the number of persons employed, might be effected. The resolution was adopted, and Mr. Gilmer placed at the head of the committee. President Harrison, in removing to Washington to assume his office, had incurred much expense, which had considerably embarrassed his estate. A proposition to give to his family $25,000, the Presidential salary for one year, so enlisted the feelings and sympathies of all, that few men could be found of the opposite party, much less of those who had voted for him, bold enough to oppose it. Every impulse of Mr. Gilmer led him to vote for the bill, but they were controlled by his sense of duty as a Representative. In a brief speech he insisted that Congress ought not to vote it in their representative capacity out of the
ublic funds, but privately from their own personal resources. They
ad no right to be generous with the money of the people. He also ably opposed the distribution among the States of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands. He voted against the United States Bank in every form in which it was presented. The extra session of Congress adjourned on the 13th of September, after a session of about one hundred days. At the regular session, which began on the first Monday of December, 1841, Mr. Gilmer was transferred from the Committee of Ways and Means to that of Foreign Relations, of which John Quincy Adams was chairman. The action of Mr. Adams in presenting, January 24, 1842, a petition from Haverhill, Massachusetts, for an immediate dissolution of the Union, the debate which resulted from a resolution to censure him therefor, and the singular conduct of Mr. Adams in the committee, so disgusted Mr. Gilmer and four other members of it that they refused to serve any longer on it with Mr. Adams, and they were excused by the House. In the debate on the general appropriation bill, Mr. Gilmer, in a speech of great ability, advocated striking out all the contingent expenses. He zealously supported President Tyler in the independent course which the latter pursued. Mr. Gilmer was re-elected to Congress, in 1843, over William L. Goggin, after a warm canvass. When Congress assembled December 2, 1843, the majority in the House of Representatives was changed, and was now largely Democratic. John Winston Jones, of Virginia, was elected Speaker. The Cabinet of President Tyler having resigned, as detailed in the preceding sketch of his career, on the 15th of February, 1844, he nominated Mr. Gilmer to the Senate to be Secretary of the Navy. The nomination was at once unanimously confirmed. Mr. Gilmer immediately entered upon the discharge of the duties of his post with the avowed determination to carry into execution the reforms which he had advocated in Congress, but an All-wise Providence intervened, and by a most afflicting dispensation removed him from his sphere of human usefulness. He was, as has been narrated, one of the victims of the awful catastrophe on the steamer “Princeton” on the 28th of February, 1844. Thus died Thomas Walker Gilmer, in the forty-second year of his age, stricken down on the very harvest-field of his faithful labors, and with the sheaves of gathered honors standing thick around him. He left issue four sons and two daughters: i, John, died unmarried; ii. Elizabeth, married Colonel St. George Tucker, Confed. erate States Cavalry, soldier, poet, and novelist; iii. Rev. George Hudson, a minister of the Presbyterian Church; iv. Rev. Thomas Walker, of the faith of his brother, married Miss Minor; v. James B., a member of the bar of Texas, married Mrs. Elizabeth Ford; vi. Juliet. An excellent portrait of Governor Gilmer is in the State Library at Richmond. A marble slab marks his remains at “Mt. Air,” Albemarle County, Virginia. JOHN MERCER PATTON.
John Mercer Patton was worthily descended. His father, Robert Patton, a native of Scotland, emigrated thence to America” some time before the Revolution, landing at Charleston, South Carolina, where he lived for awhile, but soon removed to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he established himself as a merchant. He was very successful, and acquired a competent fortune. He was a high-spirited man, and in full sympathy with the struggle of his adopted countrymen for freedom, as a well-authenticated incident, which has been transmitted, emphatically evidenced:
Being a non-combatant, he was on terms of social intercourse with the invading Britons. On one occasion, whilst dining with some officers of Tarleton's legion, one of them took upon himself to denounce in unmeasured terms the people he had come to subdue. He was very free in the use of the terms “rebels,” “rebellion,” etc., which he finally coupled with abusive terms with the names of certain officers of the patriot army. This, Robert Patton (who had been an indignant listener, but had curbed his feelings) could not allow to go unrebuked. He calmly but decidedly told the officer that he felt it to be right to inform him that some of those whom he had just named were his friends. This warning being disregarded by the officer, Patton threw a glass of wine in his face. This produced a storm of fury from the insulted officer, when Patton said the affair must be then and there settled; and going to the door, locked it and put the key in his pocket. They fought with pistols across the table, and the officer was killed.
Robert Patton married, October 16, 1792, Ann Gordon, daughter of the gallant General Hugh Mercer, who fell, mortally wounded, at the battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777, and who died nine days afterwards, and is buried in Christ Church, Philadelphia. Robert Patton died November 3, 1828, and his wife May 12, 1832. They had issue:
i. Hugh Mercer, born November 22, 1793; died in the autumn of 1844.
ii. Robert, born September 11, 1795; member of the House of Deletes, 1821; died September 13, 1830.
iii. John Mercer, born August 10, 1797; died October 28, 1858; mar
* He was accompanied by a brother, who also settled in Virginia, and whose descendants in Fairfax County have intermarried with the Mason and other prominent Virginia families.
ried, January 8, 1824, P French (born 1804; died Septem* 14, 1873), daughter o }. Williams,t of Culpeper County, 1rolnla. iv. Io Gordon, born October 21, 1799; died November 3, 1804. v. William Fairlie, M. D., Surgeon United States and Confederate States Navies, born June 15, 1802; resides with his son-in-law, General John R. Cooke, late Confederate States Army, at Richmond, Virginia. vi. George Weedon, born March 8, 1804; died October 29, 1804. vii. Eleanor Ann, born September 13, 1805; married John Chew, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and has issue. viii. Margaretta Patton, born November 1, 1807; died July 2, 1852; married Hon. John M. Herndon, sometime Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, son of Dabney and Elizabeth Herndon, and a brother of the gallant Lieutenant William Lewis Herndon, United States Navy, who went down with the ill-fated “Central America” off the South Atlantic coast; of the late Hon. Charles Herndon; of Dr. Dabney Herndon, who died a few years ago at his post of duty, during the yellow fever visitation of Mobile, Alabama; of Dr. Brodie Herndon, of Savannah, Georgia; of the widow of the late Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury; and of Miss Mary Herndon, of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
John Mercer Patton, the third son of Robert and Anna Gordon (Mercer) Patton, as above, was liberally educated, and, adopting the poon of the law, commenced practice in his native city, Frederic sburg. He soon attained honorable distinction at the bar, and, embarking in politics, he was elected to Congress in 1830, and continued to serve in that body with conspicuous ability until 1838, when he removed to Richmond, and was elected a member of the Council of State; and as the senior Councillor, on the resignation, March 18, 1841, of Governor Thomas Walker Gilmer, succeeded him as Acting Governor of Virginia, serving as such until the expiration of his yearly term as senior Councillor, on the 31st of March, when he was succeeded by senior Councillor John Rutherfoord. In learning and ability the rank of
fThree brothers of the family of Peere Williams, sergeant-at-law, London, and famous reporter–John, William, and Otho Williams—migrated to America early in the eighteenth century. John settled in South Carolina, William in Virginia, and Otho in Maryland. From the last was descended General Otho H. Williams of the Revolution. William Williams had issue two sons, John and William, who owned large tracts of land near Culpeper Court House, Virginia. The last was the father of John Williams of the text. f His sister Flora married the late Major-General J. E. B. Stuart, Confederate States Army.
Mr. Patton was acknowledged as second to none practicing in the higher courts of Virginia in his day, and which included an array of legal talent which has been scarcely su ed at any period or in any section of the United States. In 1849 . was associated with the late eminent jurisconsult Conway Robinson in a revision of the Code of Virginia. Mr. Patton died at Richmond, October 28, 1858, and is buried in Shockoe Hill Cemetery there. A handsome fluted column of white marble, emblematically capped with several volumes, marks his resting-place. The tomb of his wife is nearby. They had issue:
i. Robert W., who died in 1877; Hugh, Philip, Lucy Ann, all died in infancy; ii. John Mercer, a distinguished practitioner of law; Captain of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues (organized in 1793– the oldest company in the State), 1852–55 and in 1859–60; Reporter, with Roscoe B. Heath, of “Cases decided in a Special Court of Appeals,” and General Index to Gratton's Reports (volumes 2 to 11 inclusive; published at Richmond in two volumes, 8vo, 1856, '57); Colonel, 1861–2, of the 21st Regiment Virginia Volunteers, and for a time in command of the 2d Brigade (composed of the 21st, 42d and 48th Virginia Infantry, and the Irish Battalion), Stonewall Jackson's division; author of several theological works, among them. The Death of Deaths; married Sarah, daughter of Alexander and Mildred C. (Lindsay) Taylor,” and has issue; now resides at Ashland, Virginia; iii. Isaac W., married Miss Merritt; Colonel of Louisiana Infantry, severely wounded and made prisoner at the fall of Wicksburg, and afterwards commanded one of the forts in Mobile Bay to the end of the late war; iv. George S., married Susan S., daughter of Andrew and Susan (Thornton) Glassell; † Colonel of 22d Virginia Infantry; wounded twice in previous battles; and then at 2d Manassas; killed by a shell while commanding a brigade at the battle of Winchester, in 1864; v. W. Tazewell, Colonel of 7th Yo, Infantry; killed whilst leading his regiment in the memorable charge of Pickett's division on the heights of Gettysburg, in 1863; vi. Hugh Mercer, Lieutenant Confederate States Army; wounded at the second battle of Manassas; married Miss Bull, of Orange County, Virginia; vii. James F., Lieutenant Confederate States Army; wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor; made Judge of Court of Appeals of West Vir§. married a daughter of Hon. Allen T. Caperton, United States
enator; died in March, 1882; viii. William M., married Miss Jordan, of Rockbridge County, Virginia; ix. Eliza W., married John Gilmer, of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
* Alexander Taylor was descended in the fourth generation from James Taylor, from Carlisle in England, who settled on the Chesapeake Bay, and died in 1698. President Zachary Taylor was also of his lineage, and other descendants have intermarried with the Pendleton, Penn, Hopkins, Lewis, Lee, Chew, Gibson, Morton, Glassell, Taliaferro, Conway, Ashby, Battaile, and other well known families of Virginia.
#The Glassells of Virginia are connections of the Duke of Argyll; and his son the Marquis of Lorne, during his visit to Virginia, cordially greeted his Virginia cousins. T -