Charles William Bright
Bright, Charles William, proprietor Imperial Laundry; born, Lynchburg, Va., Jan. 21, 1849; son of Edwin C. and Martha Ward (Bigbee) Bright; graduated from Jones Commercial College, 1869; married, Louisiana, Mo., Dec. 23, 1880, Alice M. Fagg; children: Katherine Ward, Medora Fagg and Isabel. Kept books for Tinsley, Bright & Co., Louisiana, Mo., 1872-76; deputy U. S. internal revenue collector, Fourth district of Missouri, 1876-80; in mercantile business, 1880-88; bought the Imperial Laundry, Aug. 19, 1889, and continues to conduct it as senior member of firm of C. W. Bright & Bros. Democrat. Office:4701 Delmar Boul. Residence: 409 Westgate Ave. (Source: The Book of St. Louisans, Publ. 1912. Transcribed by Charlotte Slater)
Byrd, William, author, was born March 16, 1674, in Westover, Va. He was a colonial Virginian and man of letters, whose Journals, first published in 1841, are known as The Westover Manuscripts, from Westover, the family mansion of Byrd. A fuller collection, styled The Byrd Manuscripts, was printed In 1866, edited by T. Wynne. They are well worth reading for their wit, keen observations, and vigorous style. They comprise The Story of the Dividing Line, an account of the expedition to fix the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina; A Progress to the Mines; and A Journey to the Land of Eden. He died Aug. 26, 1744, in Westover, Va. [Herringshaw's Encyclopedia Of American Biography Of The Nineteenth Century: Accurate And Succinct Biographies Of Famous Men And Women In All Walks Of Life Who Are Or Have Been The Acknowledged Leaders Of Life And Thought Of The United States Since Its Formation, 1901 - Transcribed By FOFG]
Julia Mayo Cabell
Cabell, Mrs. Julia Mayo, author, poet, was born in 18__ (sic) , in Virginia. She was the author of An Odd Volume of Facts and Fiction in Prose and Verse; and Sketches and Recollections of Lynchburg. She died about 1855. [Herringshaw's Encyclopedia Of American Biography Of The Nineteenth Century: Accurate And Succinct Biographies Of Famous Men And Women In All Walks Of Life Who Are Or Have Been The Acknowledged Leaders Of Life And Thought Of The United States Since Its Formation, 1901 - Transcribed By FOFG]
Jubal Anderson Early
Early, Jubal Anderson, lawyer and soldier: b. Franklin county, Va., Nov. 3, 1816; d. Lynchburg, Va., March 2, 1894. He was graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837 and served in the Seminole War during that year and 1838, when he was promoted first-lieutenant of artillery. He then resigned from the service and entered legal practice at Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Va. He soon attained prominence and was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1841-42. He was commonwealth attorney 1842-47, but went in the latter year as major of volunteers to the Mexican War. In 1848 he again became commonwealth attorney, holding that office until 1852. He was a member of the Virginia convention in 1861 and earnestly opposed the secession movement, but yielded to the command of his state, among whose defenders he was one of the most ardent, ready to do and suffer all things for his beloved Virginia. He was commissioned colonel of the Twenty-fourth regiment of Virginia infantry, and, while holding this rank commanded a brigade at Blackburn's Ford and first Manassas, in which latter battle the flank attack of his brigade upon the Federal right aided greatly in producing the total rout of the enemy. He was promoted brigadier-general, to date from that battle.
In the spring of 1862, at Williamsburg, he was wounded leading his brigade in a charge upon the Federal position. In the campaign against Pope he commanded a brigade of Ewell's division of Jackson's corps, participating in the raid around Pope and the decisive retreat of that commander on the field of second Manassas. At Sharpsburg, after the wounding of General Lawton, he took command of Ewell's division and led it successfully to the close of that engagement. He gained additional distinction by the handling of this same division at a critical moment during the battle of Fredericksburg. In January, 1863, he was promoted major-general, and during the Chancellorsville campaign was left with his division, Barksdale's brigade and Pendleton's artillery to hold the heights of Fredericksburg against Sedgwick's corps. At the opening of the Pennsylvania campaign he was entrusted by Ewell with the attack upon Winchester, which resulted in the rout of Milroy, who, by the flank movement of Edward Johnson, lost 4,000 prisoners. Crossing the Potomac, he marched via York toward Harrisburg, Pa., but after reaching the Susquehanna River, was recalled to Gettysburg, where he shared in the first day's brilliant success and on the second day gained vantage ground, which he was unable to hold, for lack of support. At the opening fight in the Wilderness, May 5, 1864, in temporary command of A. P. Hill's corps, he successfully resisted the Federal attempt to flank the army of Lee, and at Spotsylvania Court House with the same command defeated Burnside.
Continuing to do brilliant service at Bethesda Church and Cold Harbor, he was after the latter battle sent in command of the second corps to drive Hunter from before Lynchburg. He had been commissioned lieutenant-general May 31. Moving promptly, he drove Hunter into the mountains and then marched rapidly down the valley, drove Sigel across the Potomac, defeated Wallace at the Monacacy and marched to the suburbs of Washington. Finding that city reinforced by two corps of Federals, he retired into Virginia. Soon after at Kernstown he defeated Crook and drove him across the Potomac, marched again into Maryland and sent McCausland to Chambersburg, Pa.
Sheridan was now sent into the valley with forces vastly outnumbering those of Early, who from August 7 to September 19 engaged Sheridan's forces in various encounters, sometimes with considerable success. On September 19, after a desperate battle against two and a half times his numbers, Early was defeated in the battle of Winchester. On the 21st he was again defeated at Fisher's Hill. On October 19, Early surprised Sheridan's army of more than double his own at Cedar Creek and routed it, but was in the afternoon attacked by the rallied Federals and routed in turn. Retreating to New Market Early went into camp, but, although so tremendously outnumbered by Sheridan, he appeared in front of Sheridan's camp, November 12, then returning to New Market sent out expeditions which captured guns and prisoners. During the winter most of Early's command was sent to Richmond, and on March 2, 1865, Sheridan with 10,000 men dispersed Early's force of 1,800 at Waynesborough. After the surrender Early rode horseback to Texas, thence proceeded to Mexico, and from the latter place went to Canada. Subsequently he returned to Virginia and resumed the practice of law but in later years lived mostly at New Orleans. [Source: THE SOUTH in the Building of the Nation Volume XI; Edited by James Curtis Ballagh, Walter Lynwood Fleming & Southern Historical Publication Society; Publ. 1909; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
Marshall M. Gilliam
The antecedents of Marshall M. Gilliam are by tradition said to be of Norman origin. The name was anciently spelled Gillaume, from which its modern form has been derived. It is said that three brothers, John, William and Robert Gilliam, emigrated to Virginia about 1680, from England. John Gilliam settled at "Puddledock," Prince George county, then in Charles City county, and married Ann Bathurst by whom he had issue: 1. Robert, married Lucy Skelton, heiress of "Elk Island," Hanover county, Virginia. 2. William, married Christine, daughter of Richard and Christina (Robertson) Eppes, of City Point, Virginia. 3. John, born in 1712, married Jane, daughter of Rev. Patrick Henry, of St. George's parish, who was an uncle of the famous orator. 4. Jane, married Charles Duncan, a merchant of "Roslin," Chesterfield county. 5. Anne, the second wife of Nathaniel Harrison, of "Berkely," Charles City county, Virginia. However, it is probable that the three brothers first alluded to were the three brothers of this particular family, whom by popular myth and in the haze of time, were confused with the original emigrant ancestor.
From these three brothers, Robert, William and John Gilliam, have sprung many persons who bear the Gilliam name in Virginia, at the present time. Their descendants are to be found in Charles City, Prince George, Dinwiddie, Buckingham, Henrico and other counties in Virginia; and the family has produced many men of eminence in the state. John Gilliam, a descendant, lived at Osceola, Buckingham county, Virginia; he was famous as a "peace maker" in the community where he lived; and was a planter of large estate, who had inherited lands from his ancestors. It is said large tracts of land were given to his progenitor for services rendered to the English government in settling territorial disputes with the Indians. He married Judith Robertson, and had children: William, Wilson, John Robertson, Madison, Martha and Frances.
John Robertson Gilliam, son of John and Judith (Robertson) Gilliam, was born in 1807 at Osceola, Buckingham county, Virginia. He was a farmer in his native county, and conducted that business on an extensive scale; was a life-long church member and for many years an elder in the Presbyterian church. Mr. Gilliam was twice married, by his first marriage he became the father of two children: John William, a soldier in the Confederate army, and Margaret. In 1835 he married (second) Martha H. (Marshall) Anderson, daughter of John Marshall, a prominent farmer of Charlotte county, Virginia. She was born in 1808, in Charlotte county, Virginia, and died in 1860, in Buckingham county, the same state. By her first marriage to Mr. Anderson she had two children: Sarah E., and Charles D. Anderson, who was an officer in the Eighteenth Regiment Virginia Infantry. Issue of John Robertson and Martha H. (Marshall-Anderson) Gilliam: Pattie H., born 1837, in Buckingham county, Virginia; Marshall M., of whom further.
Marshall M. Gilliam, son of John Robertson and Martha H. (Marshall-Anderson) Gilliam, was born December 10, 1844, at Osceola, Buckingham county, Virginia. He attended elementary schools in his native county during the early period of his education; and then studied at Hampden-Sidney College, in Prince Edward county, Virginia, from which he graduated in 1859 as A. B. He spent a year or so in travel and study until the opening of the civil war, and in 1861 went to the Eighteenth Virginia Regiment on a visit to his brother, who was an officer in that regiment; returned to Buckingham county and enlisted in Company K, Fourth Virginia Cavalry, known as Jeb Stewart's cavalry, and served in that branch of the Confederate army throughout the war. The cavalry company above mentioned was organized in Buckingham county by Captain P. W. McKinney who was afterward governor of Virginia. The company was in General Stewart's cavalry raid around McClellan's army below Richmond, in the summer of 1862; it was also in the movement that flanked Meade's right wing at Gettysburg, July 2. 1862, and Private Gilliam participated in those two and other raids, skirmishes and battles of Stewart's cavalry until the end of the war. When Lee surrendered at Appomattox, he escaped through the Federal lines, and joined General Joseph E. Johnston's army in North Carolina, and after the surrender to General Sherman, he brought back to their owners eighty-five horses and mules which had been taken from Virginia. After the close of the war, Mr. Gilliam entered the University of Virginia in 1865, where he studied law in connection with certain special studies in the academic department; and graduated as LL. B. in 1867. In 1868 he went to Richmond, Virginia, where he engaged in the practice of law which has been continued since that time. In 1869 at the solicitation of Colonel John H. Guy, one of the most distinguished lawyers in Virginia, a partnership was formed under the firm name of Guy & Gilliam, which lasted until Mr. Guy's death in 1886; and since its dissolution, Mr. Gilliam has continued to practice law alone, in Richmond, Virginia.
Marshall M. Gilliam married (first) December 1, 1870, in Richmond, Virginia, Mary Roche Hoge, daughter of Rev. Moses Drury and Susan Morton (Wood) Hoge. She was born February 7, 1847, in Richmond, died there in March, 1902. She was descended from the Hoge family of Richmond. Her father, Moses Drury Hoge, D. D., was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond for fifty-four years. Mr. Gilliam married (second) in Richmond, November 15, 1906, Emma S. Stewart, daughter of John W. and Mary Wilson (Sherrard) Stewart. She was born in 1851 in Jerrardstown, Virginia; and her father, John W. Stewart, was a large dealer in tobacco, at Alexandria, Virginia.
Issue of Mr. Gilliam by first wife: 1. Hoge, born September 4, 1872, in Richmond, Virginia; educated at Sampson's school near the University of Virginia; married Edith L. Rossman, January 17, 1900. 2. Mary Marshall, born February 11, 1874, in Richmond, Virginia; was educated at Miss Mary Baldwin's school, Staunton, Virginia; married, November 21, 1901, at Richmond, Coleman Wortham; and has three children: Coleman Wortham Jr., Mary Hoge Wortham, Anne Scott Wortham. 3. Marshall Madison, born September 12, 1878, died July 2, 1879, at Richmond, Virginia.
Mr. Gilliam and his family are members of the Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond. He has been an elder of that church since 1875, also clerk of its session; was superintendent of the Sunday school thirty-three years, and is generally an active church worker. He was president of the Ginter Park Residents' Association for several years. While at the University of Virginia, 1865-67, he was a member of the Washington Society, also served as its president; and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Greek letter fraternity there; is now a member of the Westmoreland Club at Richmond, Virginia. (Source: Encyclopedia of Virginia Biographies - Vol. IV. Transcriber: Chris Davis)
HARRISON Family - Read bios
Edward A. Palmer
Palmer, Edward A., jurist and state senator, was born in Buckingham (now Appomattox) county, Va., July 1, 1825, son of Dr. Reuben Darjarnett and Martha P. (Christian) Palmer. His father was an eminent physician and planter, who served as surgeon and first lieutenant in the war of 1812; surgeon in 7th Gray's regiment of Virginia militia, and first lieutenant in Capt, John B. Royall's troop of cavalry, of Halifax county, Va., in 1st Holcomb's Virginia regiment. He was the son of Elias and Hannah (Le Grand) Palmer; and his mother was daughter of John Le Grand, and granddaughter of Pierre Le Grand and his wife, Jane Micheaux, Huguenots, who fled from Bohain, France, in 1686, and settled in Virginia about 1700. Elias Palmer was the son of Thomas Palmer of Halifax county, Va., who was a descendant of Thomas Palmer, member of house of burgesses in 1629, and justice in 1631-32 for upper parts of Charles City county and Henrico county, Va. Judge Edward A. Palmer's mother was a daughter of Henry and Martha (Patteson) Christian of Amherst and Buckingham county, Va. Martha Patteson was daughter of Jonathan, son of David Patteson of New Kent county, Va. Henry Christian was a captain in the revolutionary war. He enlisted, Nov. 22, 1776, as a private in the 10th Virginia regiment, commanded by Col. Edward Stevens ; he was captain under Col. Daniel Gaines of Amherst county, Va., who marched and joined the army under La Fayette. Henry Christian's father was William Christian of Virginia, who was on the committee of safety for Charles City county, Va., in 1774. He is descended from Thomas Christian, the first American ancestor of the family, who came to Virginia in 1630. He was descended from the Christians in the Isle of Man, where they were, in 1422, the hereditary judges (deemsters) in the island for a century. The name was originally McChristain, and in 1630 was first written Christian; their genealogy is traced to 900 A.D. Judge Edward A. Palmer, the subject of this sketch, was graduated at the Hampden-Sidney College in 1845, at the head of his class. On account of delicate health he removed to Houston, Tex., in 1846, and began the practice of law. He became one of the most distinguished lawyers in the state. He was in the Texas legislature (1852-54); was in the state senate (1855), and declined re-election. His service in the senate was distinguished by his diligent efforts in perfecting the school fund and internal improvement system, and advocacy of doctrine of state rights, which were marked benefit to the stale. In 1860 he was elected judge of the district, serving for three terms. He was married, in Lynchburg, Va., Dec. 3, 1846, to Martha Winifred, daughter of Samuel and Winifred Jones (Guerrant) Branch. (For Mrs. Palmer's genealogy, see Branch, Anthony Martin.) They had three children: William Henry Palmer, H. Elizabeth Palmer (married, first, Edward Milby; after his death, married Hon. Joseph C. Hutcheson) and Rosalie Heath Palmer (married Sinclair Taliaferro). Judge Edward A. Palmer died in Houston, Tex., Jan. 15, 1862, being at that time judge of the district. [Source: The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography Volume 8; By James Terry White; Publ. 1898; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]
Daniel Parke, Jr.
Parke, Daniel, Jr., was the only son of Councillor Daniel Parke I., and was born in 1669. He was probably educated in England, but was back in Virginia soon after reaching manhood, and in 1692 was appointed a member of the council. He was a favorite of Gov. Andros, who gave him, besides the office of councillor, those of collector and naval officer of lower James River, escheator for the district between York and James and colonel of militia. Much of the record which has come to us of Col. Parke certainly presents him in a most unfavorable light, but it must be remembered that it is the product of pens bitterly opposed to him in the politics of the period. Commissary Blair has left us a picture of him anything but attractive, in which he is presented as a boaster and swaggerer who does not hesitate to take advantage over those who are defenceless, but who will not meet a formidable adversary face to face. Such was his behavior toward Gov. Nicholson, by Blair's account, and against his, the commissary's wife, the former of whom he insulted but contrived to avoid the duel, and the latter he bullied in church. Notwithstanding all this there can be no doubt that Parke was a man of courage and ability. He left Virginia in 1697, and in 1701 served a campaign in Flanders with Lord Arran, the Duke of Ormond's brother, and was in every action. For his efficiency he was made a colonel and "promised the first old regiment that shall fall." The Duke of Marlborough made him one of his aides and he behaved with such distinction at the battle of Blenheim that the Duke selected him to bear the news of the great victory to Queen Anne. It was at that time the custom in England to give the bearers of the first news of a victory a gratuity of £500, but Col. Parke begged that instead he might have the Queen's picture. His gallantry, fine appearance and handsome bearing pleased Queen Anne, and being patronized by the Duke he was in April 25, 1704, appointed governor of the Leeward Island. Here the government had been very lax and the settlers were many of them lawless and desperate characters, for the West Indies had been the stronghold of the pirates. Parke attempted to introduce some reforms and incurred the resentment of the people. He would not yield and placed his dependence upon a small military force at his command. A violent insurrection broke out at Antigua in 1710 and Parke made a gallant resistance, killing with his own hand Capt. John Piggott, one of the leaders of the insurrection. He was finally overpowered by numbers and the mob roused to fury dragged him through the streets till he was left expiring in the scorching sun. They broke open his storehouse and plundered his residence and other property to the amount of £5,000 sterling.
Col. Daniel Parke married Jane, daughter of Col. Philip Ludwell, and left two daughters - Frances, who married Col. John Custis, of Arlington, Northampton county, and Lucy, who married Col. William Byrd, of Westover. He was certainly lacking in morality, but this was too often the characteristic of the men of fashion of his day. His portrait, showing Queen Anne's miniature hanging by a ribbon from his neck, is to be seen at Brandon, on James River. [Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Under the Editorial Supervision of Lyon Gardiner Tyler, 1915 - Transcribed by AFOFG]
Tenth President of the United States, was born March 29, 1790, and died January 17, 1862, in his 72nd year. He was born in Charles City County, Virginia, the second son of John Tyler, a patriot of the Revolution, and governor of Virginia, 1808-1811. John Tyler, Sr., was also made a judge of admiralty for Virginia, and was holding that office at the time of his death, in 1813. His wife, the mother of the subject of this sketch, was Mary, only child of Robert Armistead, whose ancestors emigrated to Virginia from Hesse-Darmstadt, in early colonial days. John Tyler received a collegiate and legal training, being graduated from William and Mary College in 1807, and admitted to the bar in 1809. He was never in active practice of his profession, entering public life in 1811, when he was elected to the State legislature. He served five years in the legislature, or until his election, in 1816, to fill a vacancy in Congress. To this position he was twice re-elected. In the House he was a member of what was becoming known as the Southern party. He voted in favor of the resolutions of censure on Jackson's conduct in the Seminole war; and his negative vote is recorded against internal improvements; against United States banks; against a protective policy; and he strongly opposed and voted against any restriction on the extension of slavery into the territories. In 1819 he resigned, on account of ill health. 1823-1825, he was a leading member of the Virginia legislature, and in December, 1825, was chosen governor of that Commonwealth, serving two terms of one year each. In March, 183l, Tyler was chosen to succeed John Randolph of Roanoke, as United States Senator, and in 1833 he was re-appointed. During his term in the Senate he was one of the most active members of that body. His vote was almost invariably recorded against any act favored by Adams and his cabinet. As in the House, he now set himself against internal improvements, and a protective tariff. He voted against the tariff bill of 1828, and during the debate on Clay's tariff resolutions, session of 1831-32, Tyler spoke three days on the question. He opposed direct protection, and argued for a tariff for revenue, with incidental protection to home industry. In 1832, he was in sympathy with the nullification movement of South Carolina, and spoke against the " force bill." The bill passed the Senate with only one negative vote recorded. Calhoun and others of its opponents retired from the chamber when the motion was to be put, and only John Tyler voted against it. He also voted for Clay's "compromise bill," by which the trouble was adjusted. Receiving from his constituents a request that a vote of his should be expunged from the records, Tyler resigned and returned to Virginia before the expiration of his second term of service in the Senate. He removed to Williamsburg, James City County, and became affiliated in politics with the Southern Whig movement. From this party he received the nomination for vice-president in 1836, and for that office the electoral vote was given him in the States of Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. In 1838, the James county Whigs elected him to the State legislature, where he served until he received the nomination for vice-president in 1839. The Whig delegates convened at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, December 4, 1839, and Tyler was present as a member of the convention from Virginia. They nominated Harrison and Tyler, and these candidates were elected in the following year, entering upon their respective offices March 4,1841. On the death of President Harrison, one month later, John Tyler became his constitutional successor. He was called to Washington from his home in Williamsburg, by Harrison's cabinet, on the 4th of April (the day on which the president died), and he reached the national capital at four o'clock on the morning of the 6th. At noon the ministers called upon him in a body, and Judge Cranch administered to him the oath of office. To the supporters of the administration gathered about him, Tyler said: "You nave only exchanged one Whig for another." His course as chief executive of the nation was not in consonance with this assurance. Before a year had elapsed he had lost the confidence of the Whig party, principally by his veto of the bank bill, which was strictly a Whig measure. When the bill had been amended so as, it was thought, to meet his approval, and had been again vetoed, his entire cabinet (the one chosen by Harrison) resigned, with the exception of Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, who was then engaged in important negotiations with England, and who resigned as soon as those negotiations were completed. During the three remaining years of his administration, Tyler was three times compelled to form a new cabinet . In May, 1844, a Whig convention assembled at Baltimore, Maryland, nominated Tyler for the presidency, and the nomination was accepted. But the convention was not a voice of the people, being composed principally of office holders under Tyler, and the president, finding that his defeat at the election was certain, withdrew his acceptance of the nomination, and at the end of his four years retired to private life. President Tyler's administration had been a stormy one, as the cabinet changes sufficiently indicate. Sincere in his attachment to the Whig party, he was no sooner surrounded by its leaders, than he saw that the policy they would have dictated was one not for the country's interests. However painful his position was made by that knowledge, however much his consequent actions, necessarily antagonistic to party ends, were condemned, he was faithful to his own more statesmanlike views. In less than twenty years his course was justified. In less than twenty years the party he had endeavored to hold in check had become, under another name, a party bent upon plunging the country into civil war. In February, 1861, he presided over the Peace Congress which was convened in Washington, pursuant to a call from the Legislature of Virginia, but he had no hope of good results from its deliberations. In a public speech in Richmond, Virginia, the day following that on which the Congress closed its session, he stated that the South had nothing to hope, but in separation. Acting upon his convictions, Mr. Tyler renounced his allegiance to the government, and entered upon active labors in behalf of the Southern Confederacy. He was one of the committee who, in April, 1861, transferred to the service of the Confederate government, the military forces of Virginia, and when the seat of that government was established at Richmond, Virginia, he was a member of its Congress. In that capacity he was serving when his death occurred. [Source: Virginia and Virginians: History of Volume 2; by Robert Alonzo Brock, Virgil Anson Lewis; publ. 1888; transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]
Tenth president of the United States, and the first, who attained to that office by constitutional succession, was born at Greenway, Va., March 29, 1790. He inherited the wealth and culture, as well as the intense State pride of one of the leading families of the Old Dominion. At the time of his birth, his father, who bore the same name, was one of the judges of the Virginia General Court, and he subsequently held the office of governor of the State for three years. John Tyler Jr., entered the academical department of William and Mary College in 1803, and the college proper in the ensuing year, graduating in 1807. His legal studies were pursued largely under the direction of his father, and he was admitted to the Virginia bar when he was twenty years old. He was brought up to revere the political faith of Thomas Jefferson, the great founder of the Democratic party; and from the fundamental teachings of that faith he never swerved, not even when, in after years, he became a nominal Whig, and accepted, at the hands of the Whig party, the culminating distinction of his life. His success as a lawyer was brilliant; but he was restless until he found the opportunity to enter upon that public career which proved to be one of such singular good fortune. He was a fluent speaker, and possessed of a grace of manner well calculated to win popular favor. He was eager for popularity, and he gained it with ease, without, however, descending to the use of any dishonorable means to secure the desired end. In December, 1811, he entered the Virginia House of Delegates, and for five years he was one of the most prominent workers in that body. During this period occurred the second war with England, and Mr. Tyler was not behind his neighbors in patriotism. He raised and commanded a company of riflemen who were not, however, called into the field. During the closing year of his service in the Legislature, he was chosen a member of the executive council. This office he held but a short time, resigning it to contest a vacant seat in Congress. There was no difference between the political opinions of the competitors, and Mr. Tyler won the election through the sheer force of his personal popularity. This popularity, which, owing to his own family connection, was already great, he had shrewdly increased by his marriage, in March, 1813, with Letitia Christian, a member of one of the leading Federalist families of the State. He took his seat in Congress at the session succeeding that in which the second United States Bank had been chartered. This institution met with Mr. Tyler's unyielding hostility, and he never failed to embrace an opportunity to attempt its destruction. In all other points he was in the closest accord with the extreme State rights wing of the Democratic party; and, in common with that short-sighted class of statesmen, now happily divested of influence in American politics, he persistently opposed all measures of internal improvement by the general government, being blinded by his sectional narrowness to the true interests of his country. He was reelected in 1817, and opposed the recognition of the revolted South American Republics. In 1818, General Jackson's course in the Florida war was made the subject of investigation by Congress, and it was condemned in no uncertain terms by Mr. Tyler. In thus doing what he honestly considered to be his duty, he incurred Jackson's lifelong displeasure, and, unconsciously, opened a breach, which, fifteen years later, was to separate him from his party. There was no opposition to Mr. Tyler's reelection in 1819; but failing health compelled him to relinquish his seat after one more year's service. The next two years were spent quietly on his farm, where he happily regained his health, and, in 1823, he again entered the Virginia Legislature. Two years later he had the honor of being elected governor of his native State, a merited honor; for, whatever may be thought of his conduct in national affairs, he certainly deserved well of Virginia, to which, according to his views, his first allegiance was due. On the 11th of July, 1826, Governor Tyler delivered, at Richmond, an eloquent eulogy upon Thomas Jefferson, whose death had occurred a week before. Mr. Tyler's administration as Governor of Virginia was so acceptable to the State, that he was unanimously reelected to the office by the Legislature, in 1826. He did not, however, complete his second term. There was much opposition to the reelection of John Randolph to the National Senate, an opposition which was heightened by the influence of Clay and Webster. But to beat John Randolph required the strongest candidate in Virginia, and that was John Tyler, who was elected United States Senator by a majority of five votes out of the two hundred and twenty-five. Although there was no good feeling between Jackson and Tyler, the latter so far forgot his personal preferences as to aid in Jackson's election to the presidency. But gradually he fell more and more into opposition to his administration. As ever, he opposed the bank. He opposed the high tariff which was so obnoxious to the Southern people, and, indeed, he generally favored the extreme Southern view of public affairs, under the leadership of John C. Calhoun. But what finally put Tyler in square antagonism to the Jackson administration, was the President's patriotic course in the nullification business, in 1832. Tyler did not, it is true, wholly approve of the rash measures adopted by South Carolina; but while nullification met with only his feeble disapproval, coercion of a sovereign State, on the part of the central government, incurred his most vehement condemnation. In opposing the force bill, authorizing the President to use the army and navy against the disaffected State, he went to the length of denying that he was a citizen of the United States. His vote was the only one given in the Senate against the bill, the rest of the opposition leaving the chamber before the vote was taken. John Tyler was reelected to the Senate in 1833. He was always an admirer of Henry Clay, though differing widely from him on many vital questions. In this year Clay introduced his compromise tariff measure, which Tyler warmly supported. In this strange way, without in any manner changing his convictions, did he drift toward the Whig party? That party, to be sure, was at that time largely made up of a motley assemblage of politicians of every stripe, bound together by the frail tie of personal opposition to General Jackson. On the question of slavery Mr. Tyler held some peculiar views. He was a slaveholder, as a matter of course; but he was the kindest of masters. If possible, he would have provided for gradual emancipation, and he was not opposed to the right of petition, as were the more intense partisans of the slave-power. In 1833, he voted for the resolutions censuring President Jackson for his conduct in the bank controversy, and his connection with the Democratic Party was finally severed. The Whigs, very unwisely, and without sufficient reflection, proposed him as candidate for the vice-presidency, and Tyler accepted the honor thus thrust upon him. The Legislature of Virginia was not pleased with the course of Mr. Tyler, in voting to censure the President, and instructed him to vote for Benton's famous expunging resolution. Now, the right of legislatures to instruct senators in Congress was one of Tyler's cardinal principles; he could not conscientiously vote to forgive Jackson, and so he adopted the honorable alternative of resigning his seat. He had been twenty-five years in the service of the public, had given general satisfaction, and had preserved a reputation without a blemish. The two years of repose which he now enjoyed were very welcome to him. In the presidential election of 1836 he received the votes of forty-seven Whig electors for Vice-President. In 1838, he was again chosen a member of the Legislature; and, in December of the following year, he was a delegate to the Whig National Convention, and received from that body the nomination for Vice-President. The campaign cry of 1840 was "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," the Whigs carefully avoiding, in their rallying speeches, any allusion to the political views of their vice-presidential candidate. In the ensuing election, Mr. Tyler received the votes of the same two hundred and thirty-four electors who voted for General Harrison, and he qualified as Vice-President, March 4, 1841. After the inaugural ceremonies he retired to his residence at Williamsburg, Va.; but in just one month he was suddenly called to the chief-magistracy, through the untimely death of President Harrison. Mr. Tyler immediately went to Washington, where he took his oath of office as President of the United States, April 6, 1841. Some thoughtless persons raised a question as to his proper title, and even the Cabinet, after grave discussion, decided to address him as "Acting President," which decision Mr. Tyler very properly ignored. It has been the fashion to represent President Tyler as unfaithful to his party. This is not exactly the truth. The fact is that the Whigs put him on their ticket solely on account of his personal popularity, and as they were willing to overlook his well-known views on the tariff and the bank, they were scarcely justified in denouncing him for his steady adherence to those views. At all events, he became entirely estranged from the party who had elected him, by his successive vetoes of two different acts for establishing a bank, or "Fiscal Corporation," and the Cabinet, with the exception of Mr. Webster, the Secretary of State, resigned in September. Of course, this condition of things was hailed with delight by the Democrats, who turned the discomfiture of the Whigs to good account, without, however, actually endorsing Mr. Tyler's administration. The leading event of this administration was, undoubtedly, the acquisition of Texas. A treaty for that purpose was rejected by the Senate in 1844; but in the following spring it was accomplished by "joint resolution," very much to Mr. Tyler's satisfaction. One State, Florida, was admitted to the Union while he was President. In 1842, after one tariff bill had been vetoed, another, much modified, received Mr. Tyler's approval. In the same year occurred the almost bloodless Dorr war in Rhode Island, the last attempt to settle political differences by force of arms in New England; and the settlement of the Northeastern boundary disputes by the Ashburton Treaty. The year 1842 also brought domestic sorrow to the presidential household, Mrs. Tyler, who had long been an invalid, dying at the Executive mansion on the 10th of September. In February, 1844, Mr. Tyler and his Cabinet, together with a number of other guests, including ladies, were invited to witness the working of the new war steamer Princeton, designed by the celebrated John Ericsson, on her trial trip on the Potomac. During the trip the great gun "Peacemaker" was fired several times, and at length it exploded, killing Mr. Upshur, Secretary of State, Mr. Gilmer, Secretary of the Navy, and several others, among them a Mr. Gardner, of New York, to whose daughter Mr. Tyler was married four months subsequently. The second Mrs. Tyler was one of the most brilliant of the ladies who have graced the White House. President Tyler delighted to honor men of letters, and some of the most illustrious names in American literature are to be found among the diplomatic appointments of this administration. The year 1844 was rendered memorable by the completion of the first line of electric telegraph. Mr. Tyler, while he alienated the Whigs, did not sufficiently ingratiate himself with the Democrats to gain a renomination from them. He was nominated by an independent convention; but soon withdrew his name. At the close of his term, in 1845, he retired to his farm at Sherwood Forest, on the banks of the James River, where he lived the fife of a plain country gentleman, making occasional appearances in public as an orator, until the breaking out of the Rebellion. He received the degree of LL. D. from his alma mater, William and Mary, in 1854, and, in 1859, was elected chancellor of that college, an office which had remained vacant since the death of Washington. In February, 1861, he was a delegate to that farce which was known as the "Peace Convention," and was chosen its president. It is with regret that we are compelled to add that he was a member of the Virginia Secession Convention, in March, 1861, that his name was proposed as President of the so-called Southern Confederacy, and that he was elected to the rebel congress. He never took his seat, however, in that body, but died at his lodgings in Richmond, January 18, 1862, almost unnoticed amid the tumults of civil war, outside of his native State. [Source: Biographical Sketches of Preeminent Americans, Volume 2; By Frederick G. Harrison; Publ. 1892; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
© Genealogy Trails