sketch was the oldest. His early education was such as could be imparted by the county schools and his own application; for, until he was seventeen, he worked on his father's farm in the summer, and attended school in the winter. He entered the grammar school taught by Rev. Eli W. Caruthers, who was the successor of Rev. Dr. Caldwell, where he continued for two years. His progress was rapid, and he became a good scholar in the ordinary branches of an English education, and in the higher branches of mathematics, also well versed in Latin and Greek. He went then to Laurens County, South Carolina, where he taught the Mount Vernon Grammar School for three years.
In December, 1829, he
returned home and studied law with Judge Murphey; and 1833, was licensed as
counsellor and attorney at law. With no friends to advance his fortunes, with no
capital but industry and good habits, and surrounded by such legal luminaries as
John M. Morehead, William A. Graham, Settle, Nash, Mendenhall, and others, his
prospects were gloomy and progress painful and slow. But by energy and
Fame and fortune followed his
footsteps. Because of his abilities and his genial disposition he was popular
with the people. In 1846 was elected to the legislature as senator from Guilford
County, and continued without any successful opposition to 1854. His course in
the legislature was liberal, patriotic, and
He was the advocate of the construction of the insane asylum, and as also of a liberal system of internal improvements.
In 1856, he was the whig candidate for governor, but was defeated by Governor Bragg, whose majority was over 13,000. In 1857, he was elected a member of the Thirty-fifth Congress, 1857,-'59, and re-elected to the Thirty-sixth Congress in 1859,-'61, in which he was chairman of the committee on elections. On the accession of Lincoln he was offered a seat in the cabinet as secretary of the treasury, but declined.
Although at all times opposed to the doctrine of secession, yet when the state seceded and the war came, he went with his state, and embraced the cause of the south with all his native force of character, and, like Abraham, he offered up his only son upon the altar of his country, and sent him forth to battle, his only injunction being, to discharge all the duties of a soldier with energy and fidelity; nobly did that son obey this mandate.
He succeeded James Robert McLean as a member of the confederate congress, and sat until its termination.
His son, John Alexander Gilmer, has recently been appointed one of the judges of the superior courts, and "wins golden opinions from all sorts of men," by his learning, patience, and fidelity. He was born about 1836 or 1837; graduated at the university in 1858; read law with his father, and practiced with success. Of his war record we have but little information, but we know that he was in the army and nobly did his duty; that after the war closed he returned to his practice, and on the death of Judge Kerr, (December 7th, 1879,) he was appointed by the governor judge of the superior court..
He married a daughter of Joseph H. Lindsay.
The father married on January
3d, 1832, Juliana, daughter of Reverend William Parish, and the
He died at Greensboro, on May 14th, 1868. The melancholy effects of the unhappy intestine war preyed heavily on his spirits, naturally
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