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Favorable or Unfavorable #331: Thomas W Gilmer


Favorable or Unfavorable #331: Thomas W Gilmer  

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  1. 1. Did you read my first comment?

  2. 2. Favorable or Unfavorable #331: Thomas W Gilmer

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Thomas W Gilmer of VA was a close ally of fellow VA Whig John Tyler. Gilmer, like Tyler, would have probably joined the Democrats had the USS Princeton disaster not occurred. His appointment as Sec of Navy was probably so that Gilmer could advise Tyler more often than he could have as a US Rep. Gilmer had previously been Gov of VA. Some argue his death delayed TX annexation. 

Regarding Israel Jefferson, Gilmer had purchases hundreds of people enslaved by Thomas Jefferson. Israel Jefferson was not related to Sally Hemings, but he was close to Hemings's children, who were about the same age as Israel. While Israel was a slave, he was married to a free woman. I'm not sure how common this was or how this even worked, but shortly before Gilmer's death, Gilmer allowed Israel Jefferson to purchase his own freedom since he happened to be married to a free woman. It's possible the marriage happened as a means to get free and then Gilmer didn't want the attention for enslaving the husband of a free woman. It wasn't until the 1870s when Israel Jefferson wrote the books about Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Prior to the book, it was all rumor without details. This book gave details, showing that Sally was a kind of concubine. It wasn't until somewhat recently that DNA analysis proved their connection true. 

His actions:

Gilmer, Thomas W 1829 Purchases Israel Jefferson, a former slave of Thomas Jefferson, who would later write a memoir about the Sally Hemings-Thomas Jefferson relationship
Gilmer, Thomas W 1842 close adviser to Tyler, especially on TX Annexation groundwork and in vetoing bills by fellow Whigs
Gilmer, Thomas W 1843 Plays a leading role in Texas Annexation
Gilmer, Thomas W 1844 Confirmed Sec of Navy after Henshaw is blocked by Congress
Gilmer, Thomas W 1844 Killed in USS Princeton explosion, only 10 days after being named Sec of Navy
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