This site utilizes JavaScript to enhance the user interface and productivity for users. Ensure you have Java Script enabled in your browser to take full advantage. Thomas Walker Gilmer

Governor Thomas Walker Gilmer

- +

Office Dates:  Mar 31, 1840 - Mar 20, 1841


Born:  Apr 06, 1802

Passed:  Feb 28, 1844

Birth State:  Virginia

Party:  Whig

Family:  Married Anne E. Baker; six children

National Office(s) Served:  Representative, Cabinet secretary

THOMAS WALKER GILMER was born at Gilmerton in Albermarle County, Virginia. Privately educated, he studied law under his uncle and practiced law in Charlottesville. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, serving from 1829 to 1836. He was also Speaker of two sessions of the House of Delegates in 1839 and 1840. Elected governor by the state legislature, Gilmer inspected state roads, schools, canals, railways, and other facilities at his own expense. After one year in office, he resigned in protest of the legislature's failure to support his demand that Governor Seward of New York return fugitive slaves in exchange for a New York felon being held in Virginia. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1841 to 1844, resigning to accept appointment as Secretary of the Navy. But just weeks after being confirmed, he was killed in an explosion aboard the U.S.S. Princeton.


The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. New York: James T. White & Company.

Salmon, Emily and Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. Hornbook of Virginia History. 4th ed. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1994.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress