A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841 Gilmer, Thomas W., Executive Papers of Governor, 1840-1841 43419

A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 43419


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© 2007 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Craig S. Moore

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Accession Number
43419
Title
Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841
Extent
2.33 cubic feet (5 boxes)
Creator
Virginia Governor (1840-1841 : Gilmer)
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Virginia. Governor's Office. Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841 (bulk 1840). Accession 43419. State Records Collection, The Library of Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Acquired prior to 1905


Biographical Information

Thomas Walker Gilmer was born in Gilmerton, Albemarle County, on 6 April 1802, to George and Elizabeth (Hudson) Gilmer. Gilmer studied law and was admitted to the bar in Albemarle County. He practiced law in Charlottesville and briefly acted as editor of the Virginia Advocate. Gilmer married Anne E. Baker, daughter of Congressman John Baker, of Shepherdstown, Virginia, on 23 May 1826. Elected to the House of Delegates to represent Albemarle County for the session of 1829 to 1830, Gilmer served intermittently until 1840, performing the duties as speaker of the House of Delegates for his final two sessions. While in the Legislature, Gilmer opposed the re-chartering of the state banks and fought to prosecute Virginia's Revolutionary War claims against the federal government. A member of the Whig Party, Gilmer was elected as governor of Virginia on 14 February 1840. Gilmer, however, only served one year out of his three-year term as governor resigning on 20 March 1841. His resignation came about as a result of a dispute with the General Assembly following a controversy between Gilmer and William H. Seward, Governor of New York. In 1840, Seward refused to extradite three men charged with stealing a slave in Virginia. When Seward demanded the extradition of a fugitive shortly thereafter, Gilmer refused, but the General Assembly passed a resolution compelling Gilmer to acquiesce. Subsequently, on 31 May 1841, Gilmer was elected to the Twenty-Seventh Congress, serving until 16 February 1844. A loyal proponent of President John Tyler and the annexation of Texas, Gilmer resigned from Congress on 16 February 1844 to accept President Tyler's appointment of him as Secretary of the Navy. Gilmer's time as Secretary of the Navy was short-lived, however, following an explosion while on board the U.S.S. Princeton on 28 February 1844. He was interred at Mount Air Cemetery in Albemarle County. Gilmer County, West Virginia, was named in his honor in 1845.

Scope and Content

Thomas Walker Gilmer's Executive Papers primarily consist of incoming correspondence during his term as governor from 31 March 1840 until his resignation on 20 March 1841. Also included is correspondence and other documents received by Lieutenant Governor John M. Patton as a member of the Council of State acting as governor until 31 March 1841. The correspondence in this collection relates to a variety of topics including appointments & recommendations for state positions; the Virginia Penitentiary; the Virginia Military Institute; arms and ammunition; the militia; Revolutionary War bounty land claims; banks and banking; resignations; extraditions; state expenses & revenue; elections; and others. In addition to correspondence, there are resolutions from the Virginia Senate & House of Delegates; accounts; oaths; contracts; pardons; proposals; receipts; election returns & certificates; qualifications; lists; proclamations; petitions; reports; appointments; resignations; bonds; commissions; orders; proceedings; opinions; and other sundry items.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series:

I. Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841

Related Material

Separated Material

Oversized materials have been separated to boxes 4-5.


Adjunct Descriptive Data

Bibliography

Flournoy, H. W., CALENDAR OF VIRGINIA STATE PAPERS, January 1, 1836-April 15, 1869, VOL. XI, Richmond: James E. Goode, Printer, 1893.

Bibliography

Flournoy, H. W., CALENDAR OF VIRGINIA STATE PAPERS, January 1, 1836-April 15, 1869, VOL. XI, Richmond: James E. Goode, Printer, 1893.

Contents List

Boxes 1-5
Executive Papers of Governor Thomas W. Gilmer, 1840-1841.
Extent: 5 boxes.

The Governor received correspondence from three main sources: the Federal government, Virginia State government, and Governors from other states. Federal government correspondents include John Forsyth, Secretary of State; J. L. Martin, Acting Secretary of State; Levi Woodbury, Secretary of the Treasury; Asbury Dickens & William Hickey, Secretary & Clerk of the Senate; & Hugh A. Garland, Clerk of the House of Representatives.

John Forsyth, Secretary of State, writes to transmit documents of the 3rd Session of the 25th Congress (1840 Apr. 28) and acts of the 1st Session of the 26th Congress (1840 Sept. 10). Forsyth also writes regarding the census of Virginia (1841 Jan. 28). J. L. Martin, Acting Secretary of State, writes regarding outrages of citizens of the U.S. in Chippewa, Upper Canada (1840 Oct. 21). Levi Woodbury, Secretary of the Treasury, writes concerning the report on the condition of banks (1840 Nov. 30). Asbury Dickens, Secretary of the Senate, & Hugh A. Garland, Clerk of the House of Representatives, transmit three copies of the 2nd volume, 4th series, of the Documentary History of the American Revolution (1840 Sept. 22). William Hickey, Clerk of the Senate, writes requesting a printing of the complete edition of the journals of both Houses with good indexes and the subject of retrocession of part of the District of Columbia (1840 Nov. 6). Hickey also writes requesting copies of appointments, etc., from the Journal of the Council and letter books (1840 Nov. 10).

The majority of correspondence in Thomas W. Gilmer's Executive Papers originates from Virginia State government. Significant correspondents from Virginia State government include Governor Thomas W. Gilmer; Lieutenant Governor John M. Patton; Charles S. Morgan, Superintendent of the Penitentiary; Robert G. Scott, President of the Board of Directors of the Penitentiary; Sydney Smith Baxter, Attorney General; George W. Munford, Clerk of the House of Delegates; and James E. Heath, Auditor of Public Accounts.

Governor Thomas W. Gilmer writes John M. Patton, Lieutenant Governor, from his home in Charlottesville regarding the appointment of visitors of the University of Virginia (1840 June 24). Especially significant is a copy of Gilmer's letter to Governor William H. Seward, New York, regarding his refusal to surrender Peter Johnson, Edward Smith, & Isaac Gansey, free persons of color from New York who are charged with stealing a slave in Virginia (1840 Apr. 6). Lastly, Governor Gilmer writes to the General Assembly resigning his position because of his refusal to deliver a fugitive from justice to the governor of New York (1841 Mar. 20).

Lieutenant Governor John M. Patton writes, during the absence of the governor, to the Clerk of the Council regarding his advice for a demand on the Governor of Ohio for the surrender of George Dane and the bond of Rudolph Littlejohn to purchase twenty-seven convicts in the Penitentiary (1840 Sept. 19).

Charles S. Morgan, Superintendent of the Penitentiary, corresponded with Governor Gilmer regarding various issues respecting prisoners and the Virginia Penitentiary. Morgan writes regarding the following topics: the discharge of George Roush (1840 Mar. 31), an amendment of the rules which govern the officers of the Penitentiary (1840 Apr. 4), the conduct & record of Wilson Powell (1840 Apr. 1 & 9), the reprieve of Lilbourn Pleasants, a slave sentenced for sale & transportation (1840 Apr. 30), the case of James Beck, a convict in the Penitentiary (1840 May 23), a petition for the pardon of John Fisher (1840 July 9), the death of a slave named Jared (1840 Sept. 8), the discharge of Martin Kelley (1840 Nov. 10), and an allowance for Edwin Burdick who was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the U.S. Court in Richmond (1841 Feb. 28).

As President of the Board of Directors of the Penitentiary, Robert G. Scott encloses proceedings of the Board of Directors of the Penitentiary (1840 Sept. 21). Scott also encloses proceedings of the Board of Directors of the Penitentiary in the case of the Storekeeper & General Agent (1840 Nov. 2). Particularly noteworthy are statements exhibiting the fiscal operations of the Penitentiary, including accounts current and various statements of the number of prisoners confined in the Penitentiary (1840 Dec. 7).

Sidney Smith Baxter, Attorney General, provides an opinion regarding the resignation of Governor Gilmer and the failure of the Legislature to appoint another governor (1841 Mar. 30).

George W. Munford, as Clerk of the House of Delegates, transmits the following certificates of election: Richard E. Byrd to supply the vacancy in the Electoral College occasioned by the reported absence of James Gibson, William Todd to supply the vacancy of William Jones, & Archibald Atkinson to supply the vacancy of Arthur Smith (1840 Dec. 1); Samuel Shepherd as public printer (1840 Dec. 4); John J. Allen as judge of the Court of Appeals to supply the vacancy occasioned by the death of Richard E. Parker (1840 Dec. 12); Edward Johnston as judge of the General Court for the 17th Judicial Circuit (1841 Jan. 20); William C. Rives as senator in Congress (1841 Jan. 18); James E. Heath as Auditor, James Brown, Jr., as 2nd Auditor, Lawson Burfoot as Treasurer, Stafford H. Parker as Register of the Land Office, & William H. Richardson as Secretary of the Commonwealth & Librarian (1841 Feb. 10); John M. Patton as a member of the Council (1841 Feb. 15); Charles S. Morgan as Superintendent of the Penitentiary (1841 Feb. 19); James G. Watson as General Agent & Storekeeper of the Penitentiary (1841 Feb. 20); William S. Archer as senator in Congress (1841 Mar. 3); John M. Gregory as a member of the Council to supply the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Henry L. Hopkins (1841 Mar. 10); and John Robertson as judge of the General Court for the 21st Circuit & James H. Gholson as judge of the General Court to supply the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of John Y. Mason (1841 Mar. 17).

In addition, Munford writes regarding the fitting up of a new chamber for the Senate (1840 Sept. 18), the purchase of curtains, fenders, fire irons, & carpets for the Senate Chamber & carpet for the Clerk's Office of the Senate (1840 Nov. 30), a resolution that the governor be instructed to transmit to the governor of each state a copy of the public documents directed to be printed by the General Assembly (1840 Dec.9), and resolutions of the House of Delegates regarding the demand by the governor of New York for the surrender of a fugitive from justice (1841 Mar. 19 & 20).

James E. Heath, Auditor of Public Accounts, corresponds with Governor Gilmer regarding pay for the Penitentiary Agent for work done for the Commonwealth (1840 July 13). Heath also writes regarding his absence and to request that A. W. Morton, 1st clerk, be authorized to discharge the duties as auditor (1840 Sept. 1).

Lawson Burfoot, Treasurer, asks for authority to make loans to meet deficiencies in the Treasury (1840 Apr. 6). Burfoot also writes requesting a further sum of $25,000 to meet the quarter salaries (1841 Mar. 27).

Governors and secretaries from other states comprise a significant amount of correspondence received by the Governor. This correspondence mostly relates to extraditions. Included are letters from the following governors or secretaries: William H. Seward, New York; Alexander G. McNutt, Mississippi; Charles Marin & John W. Houston, Secretaries of State of Delaware; Cornelius P. Comegys, Delaware; David R. Porter, Pennsylvania; Arthur P. Bagby, Alabama; and James K. Polk, Tennessee.

Governor William H. Seward, New York, writes regarding a demand for Elliott A. Hurd, a fugitive from justice charged with forgery (1840 June 16). Seward also writes extensively regarding Governor Gilmer's demand for the surrender of Peter Johnson, Edward Smith, & Isaac Gansey, free blacks charged with stealing a slave in Virginia (1840 Apr. 18, July 18, Sept. 28, Nov. 9 & 10, Dec. 16). Finally, Seward writes regarding a demand for Robert F. Curry, a fugitive from justice in Virginia (1841 Mar. 16). Governor Alexander G. McNutt, Mississippi, writes regarding the demand by the Governor of Virginia for fugitives of justice in New York (1840 Nov. 13). Charles Marin, Secretary of State of Delaware, writes regarding the arrest of two men in Richmond for kidnapping three free blacks from the State of Delaware (1840 Nov. 7). Marin later requests a copy of the message of the governor communicating the resolutions of New Jersey relating to the rejection of her chosen representatives in Congress (1840 Nov. 11). Later, John W. Houston, Secretary of State of Delaware, transmits resolutions regarding the distribution of the proceeds of the sales of public lands among the several states (1841 Feb. 5). Houston also transmits a resolution regarding amendments to the Constitution of the United States to restrict the eligibility of the President to a single term (1841 Feb. 17). Governor Cornelius P. Comegys, Delaware, writes regarding the demand for Jacob R. Griffin charged with exporting three free blacks from Delaware to Virginia (1840 Nov. 14). Governor David R. Porter, Pennsylvania, acknowledges receipt of the preamble & regulations of Virginia in reference to a demand made upon the Executive of New York for fugitives from justice (1840 Oct. 31). Governor Arthur P. Bagby, Alabama, also acknowledges receipt of the Governor's letter regarding the demand made on the Executive of New York for the surrender of three fugitives (1840 Nov. 5). Governor Lastly, James K. Polk, Tennessee, writes regarding resolutions adopted by the Virginia General Assembly in reference to a demand by the Executive on the Executive of New York (1840 Dec. 10).

Additional significant correspondence includes the following: Charles Ellis resigning from the Board of Directors of the Penitentiary for health reasons (1840 Apr. 4); Philip DuVal, Principal Engineer of the Richmond Fire Association, asking for the privilege of building an engine house on the southeast corner of Capitol Square (1840 Apr. 7); Claudius Crozet, President of the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute, regarding the meeting of the Board of Visitors (1840 Apr. 17); George W. Munford, Capt. of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues, asks for the return of old muskets to the Armory and new ones in their place (1840 May 14); Henry N. Hooper & Co. requesting an impress of the seal of Virginia for a chandelier they are manufacturing for the Hall of the House of Representatives in Washington, D. C. (1840 June 13); the appointments of electors for President & Vice President of the U.S. (1840 Aug.); Capt. William Ramsay, U.S. Navy, re. Samuel Colt's rifles (1840 Nov. 8); John E. Page re. an outrage committed upon him & others at Chippewa in Canada by a company of black troops in British service (1840 Oct. 12); Thomas Lawson resigning his appointment to examine the papers in the attic story of the Capitol (1840 Oct. 23); B. Chamberlayne re. the examination of papers in the attic story of the Capitol (1840 Dec. 2); Lt. Col. P. Talcott, Ordnance Office, re. arms required by the State of Virginia for the year 1841 (1840 Dec. 8); Joel Holleman resigning his seat in Congress (1840 Dec. 1); Henry L. Hopkins resigning as a member of the Council of State (1841 Mar. 4); Clement White, Superintendent of Quarantine in Richmond, re. small pox on board the Schooner Lynchburg (1841 Mar. 7, 12, & 16); and Bernard Peyton resigning as adjutant general (1841 Mar. 15).

Other noteworthy items include: proclamations by the governor & lieutenant governor offering rewards for the apprehension of escaped convicts (1840 Apr. 9, July 9, Aug. 19, Sept. 24, Nov. 13, 1841 Jan. 6 & 7); petitions, correspondence & map re. the case of Alfred & Spencer, slaves sentenced to death for beating patrollers in Fairfax County (1840 May 20); recommendations for electors of President & Vice President of the U.S. (1840 July-Aug.); proclamation of Governor Gilmer re. the election of electors on behalf of the State of Virginia for President & Vice President of the U.S. (1840 Nov. 23); bond & contract of Francis H. Deane as vaccine agent for Richmond (1840 Nov. 18); proclamation of Governor Gilmer for an election to replace Joel Holleman as a member of the House of Representatives (1840 Dec. 10); and a proclamation of Lieutenant Governor John M. Patton that the Merchants & Mechanics Bank of Wheeling & the North Western Bank of Virginia cease to issue notes under $500 (1841 Mar. 26).

Arranged in chronological order.

  • 1840
    • Box 1
      Folder 1
      March
    • April
      • Box 1
        Folder 2
        2-20
      • Box 1
        Folder 3
        21-30
    • May
      • Box 1
        Folder 4
        1-20
      • Box 1
        Folder 5
        20
      • Box 1
        Folder 6
        21-30
    • June
      • Box 1
        Folder 7
        1-15
      • Box 1
        Folder 8
        16-30
    • July
      • Box 1
        Folder 9
        1-15
      • Box 1
        Folder 10
        16-30
    • August
      • Box 2
        Folder 1
        1-15
      • Box 2
        Folder 2
        17-31
    • September
      • Box 2
        Folder 3
        1-15
      • Box 2
        Folder 4
        17-30
    • October
      • Box 2
        Folder 5
        1-16
      • Box 2
        Folder 6
        16-31
    • November
      • Box 2
        Folder 7
        2-10
      • Box 2
        Folder 8
        11-20
      • Box 2
        Folder 9
        21-30
    • December
      • Box 2
        Folder 10
        1-15
      • Box 2
        Folder 11
        16-30
  • 1841
    • January
      • Box 3
        Folder 1
        1-14
      • Box 3
        Folder 2
        16-31
    • Box 3
      Folder 3
      February
    • March
      • Box 3
        Folder 4
        1-10
      • Box 3
        Folder 5
        11-30
  • Box 3
    Folder 6
    Undated
Oversized (Clamshell Box)
  • 1840
    • Box 4
      Folder 1
      May 20
    • Box 4
      Folder 2
      July 28
  • Box 4
    Folder 3
    Undated
Oversized (Newspaper Box)
  • 1840
    • Box 5
      Folder 1
      Apr. 20
    • Box 5
      Folder 2
      May 30
    • Box 5
      Folder 3
      June 13
    • Box 5
      Folder 4
      Aug. [N.D.]
    • Box 5
      Folder 5
      Dec. 7
  • 1838
    • Box 5
      Folder 6
      Feb. 3