|15th United States Secretary of the Navy|
February 19, 1844 –February 28, 1844
|Preceded by||David Henshaw|
|Succeeded by||John Y. Mason|
|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from Virginia's 5th district
March 4, 1843 –February 16, 1844
|Preceded by||Edmund W. Hubard|
|Succeeded by||William L. Goggin|
|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from Virginia's 12th district
March 4, 1841 –March 3, 1843
|Preceded by||James Garland|
|Succeeded by||Augustus A. Chapman|
|28th Governor of Virginia|
March 31, 1840 –March 20, 1841
|Preceded by||David Campbell|
|Succeeded by||James McDowell|
|18th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates|
|Preceded by||Linn Banks|
|Succeeded by||Valentine W. Southall|
Thomas Walker Gilmer
April 6, 1802
Albemarle County, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||February 28, 1844 41) (aged|
Potomac River, Maryland, U.S.
|Political party|| Whig (Before 1842)|
Thomas Walker Gilmer (April 6, 1802 – February 28, 1844) was an American statesman. He served in a number of political positions in Virginia, including election as the 28th Governor of Virginia. Gilmer's final political office was as the 15th Secretary of the Navy, but he died in an accident ten days after assuming that position.
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.
In 1829, Gilmer purchased Israel Jefferson, a former slave of Thomas Jefferson, who is best known for claiming that Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson's concubine. Gilmer later agreed to let Israel pay his own purchase price for his freedom after Gilmer's election to congress, as Israel desired to stay with his wife, a free woman.
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 10th President John Tyler's vetoes (partially because of party differences resulting from the unique situation having a "split ticket" of the Election of 1840 in which the President and Vice Presidents were from different political parties). Tyler had just succeeded to the office after the death of elderly 9th President William Henry Harrison, (who was a member of the opposing Whig Party) only one month after his inauguration on March 4, 1841, where he fell sick from reading one of the longest addresses on record without a coat and hat in the bitter cold. Tyler had very little support in the Party and eventually served just the rest of the term. Gilmer however 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 John 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 the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and resigned his seat in the Congress the next day to enter on the duties of the office; but, 10 days later, he was killed by the bursting of a bow gun on board USS Princeton while on a tour of the Potomac River below Washington. His death meant the loss of a valuable ally for Tyler and some historians suggest that it may have delayed the Texas Annexation effort.
1842; Gilmer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 50.21% of the vote, defeating William Leftwich Goggin.
Gilmer is buried at Mount Air Cemetery in Gilbert, Virginia. A year after his death, Gilmer County, Virginia was named in his honor; Princeton explosion in February 1844 on board the naval ship on the Potomac River, below Washingtonit is now part of West Virginia. The city of Gilmer, Texas, is also named for him. (Gilmer is the county seat of surrounding Upshur County, Texas, named after Abel Parker Upshur, (1790–1844), another victim of the USS
Two ships of the United States Navy over the years have been named USS Gilmer in his honor.
The Texas annexation was the 1845 annexation of the Republic of Texas into the United States of America, which was admitted to the Union as the 28th state on December 29, 1845.
Abel Parker Upshur was a lawyer, planter, slaveowner, judge and politician from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Active in Virginia state politics for decades, with a brother and a nephew who became distinguished U.S. Navy officers, Judge Upshur left the Virginia bench to become the Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of State during the administration of President John Tyler, a fellow Virginian. He negotiated the treaty that led to the 1845 annexation of the Republic of Texas to the United States and helped ensure that it was admitted as a slave state. Upshur died on February 28, 1844, when a gun on the warship USS Princeton exploded during a demonstration.
Wilson Cary Nicholas was an American politician who served in the U.S. Senate from 1799 to 1804 and was the 19th Governor of Virginia from 1814 to 1816.
John Winston Jones was an American politician and lawyer.
John Letcher was an American lawyer, journalist, and politician. He served as a Representative in the United States Congress, was the 34th Governor of Virginia during the American Civil War, and later served in the Virginia General Assembly. He was also active on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Military Institute.
The first USS Princeton was a screw steam warship in the United States Navy. Commanded by Captain Robert F. Stockton, Princeton was launched on September 5, 1843.
Shadwell is a census-designated place (CDP) in Albemarle County, Virginia, United States, located by the Rivanna River near Charlottesville. The birthplace of Thomas Jefferson, it was named for the Shadwell parish in London by his father, Peter Jefferson, a colonist and planter in central Virginia. Shadwell is the parish where his wife Jane Randolph had been christened. Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph had six children, among them Thomas, who would become the third president of the United States. Active in county meetings Peter was appointed Justice of the Peace of Albemarle county, taking his oath in September 1744. The following month he was appointed lieutenant colonel to the Albemarle county militia.
William Leftwich Goggin was a nineteenth-century politician and lawyer from Virginia.
Shelton Farrar Leake was a nineteenth-century politician, lawyer and teacher from Virginia.
William Osborne Goode was a nineteenth-century American politician and lawyer from Virginia.
Richard Thomas Walker Duke Sr. was a nineteenth-century congressman and lawyer from Virginia.
Samuel Lewis Hays was a nineteenth-century farmer and Democratic politician in the part of Virginia that became West Virginia after he left for Minnesota. Hays served multiple terms in the Virginia House of Delegates and one term as in the U.S. House of Representatives in a district that was eliminated as Virginia lost residents.
Joel Holleman was an American politician and lawyer from Virginia. A Democrat, he served in the United States House of Representatives and as Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
The presidency of John Tyler began on April 4, 1841, when John Tyler became President of the United States upon the death of President William Henry Harrison, and ended on March 4, 1845. He had been Vice President of the United States for only 31 days when he assumed the presidency. The tenth United States president, he was the first to succeed to the office intra-term without being elected to it. To forestall constitutional uncertainty, Tyler took the presidential oath of office on April 6, moved into the White House, and assumed full presidential powers, a precedent that would govern future extraordinary successions and eventually become codified in the Twenty-fifth Amendment.
John Young Mason was a United States Representative from Virginia, the 16th and 18th United States Secretary of the Navy, the 18th Attorney General of the United States, United States Minister to France and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Events from the year 1844 in the United States.
Israel Jefferson, known as Israel Gillette before 1844, was born a slave at Monticello, the plantation estate of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. He worked as a domestic servant close to Jefferson for years, and also rode with his brothers as a postilion for the landau carriage.
Valentine Wood Southall was a Virginia lawyer and politician. He represented Albemarle County in the Virginia House of Delegates, and served as that body's Speaker 1840–1842 and 1844–1845. Albemarle County voters also elected him to serve in the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, where he voted with the majority, initially against secession but changing his vote to secede.
The 1844 United States elections elected the members of the 29th United States Congress, and took place during the Second Party System in the midst of the debate over whether to annex Texas. Texas and Iowa joined the union during the 29th Congress. Democrats retained control of the House and took back control of the Presidency and the Senate, re-establishing the dominant position the party had lost in the 1840 election.
Beverley Kennon was a career officer in the United States Navy who attained the rank of captain as head of the Bureau of Construction and Repair. He died as a result of the explosion aboard the USS Princeton.
| Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates |
Valentine W. Southall
| Governor of Virginia |
March 31, 1840 – March 20, 1841
John M. Patton
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Virginia's 12th congressional district
March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1843
Augustus A. Chapman
Edmund W. Hubard
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from Virginia's 5th congressional district
March 4, 1843 – February 16, 1844
William L. Goggin
| United States Secretary of the Navy |
February 19, 1844 – February 24, 1844
John Y. Mason