Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Dr John Thornton Gilmer. 

Birth: Mar., 1808, Wilkes County, Georgia.
Death: Jun. 27, 1866, Quincy, Adams County, Illinois.

Wife: Lydia Laurie Barker Gilmer (1812 - 1878).

Burial: Home Cemetery, Fowler, Adams County, Illinois.

DR. JOHN T. GILMER, of Adams County, State of Illinois, was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, in the year1808. He was a son of Dr. John T. Gilmer, a Virginian by birth and education, who removed from Virginia to Georgia, and from Georgia to Kentucky, in the year 1813, and from Kentucky to Illinois in 1833.

The subject of this sketch had in early boyhood embraced the Christian religion, and, throughout his life and in the hour of death, he was cheered and sustained by its influence.

He was courteous, kind, generous, and hospitable. These virtues drew around him the poor, who sought his beneficence, the helpless, to whom he extended a generous aid, and the persecuted, who found shelter beneath his roof.

A hungry man never left the house of Dr. Gilmer, nor did a shivering stranger ever approach it without receiving an invitation to warm at his fires, and share the comforts of his home.

When the reign of cruelty, torture, and terror was supreme in Missouri, hundreds of its best citizens were driven out of their houses to witness the destruction of their property, insult to their families, and to make their escape at midnight, by the dazzling light of their burning dwellings. Others, seeing their parents or children shot down, fled, to escape with their lives, and in distant places sought shelter, until the murderous storm was over.

"Wherever they hoisted their standards black, Before them was murder, behind them was wreck." 

Men were shot down in the fields, and their remains were fed to the swine. Nameless cruelties were perpetrated, until many of the people of Missouri were strangers and pilgrims, scattered over the Mississippi Valley.

The wide extent of Dr. Gilmer's acquaintance, as a mem- ber of the Christian Church and as a physician, attracted many of the most respectable of these refugees to his house, where he entertained them with a liberality, which will be kindly remembered after his persecutors are dead and for- gotten. This kindness was considered an offence against " loyalty," and occasioned his arrest.

In the summer of 1863, the Doctor was seized at his home and dragged to Quincy, by a regiment of mercenaries, mainly Austrians, who had been engaged with Haynau in his butcheries in Hungary, and who had committed several murders in the Quincy military district. From Quincy he was taken to Springfield, Illinois, by these brutes, (who had insulted his family at the time of his arrest,) cast into a miser- able, filthy prison, and there detained until the indignation of the people, at the grossness of these outrages, became so wide-spread, that the authorities were compelled to release him.

He had committed no offence, unless it be an offence to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick.

This imprisonment wounded his proud and sensitive spirit to such an extent, that he never afterward enjoyed good health. He had a stroke of apoplexy, induced by his im- prisonment, from which he partially recovered, but finally yielded to its power.

He died as he lived, the friend of liberty, and the servant of God.

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