Gilmer, Thomas Walker
Thomas Walker Gilmer, 1802–44, U.S. Secretary of the Navy (Feb., 1844), b. Albemarle co., Va. He practiced law, served in the Virginia legislature, and became (1840) governor of Virginia. Elected to Congress, he served (1841–44) as a spokesman for the Tyler administration. Appointed Secretary of the Navy, he, along with other government officials, was a victim of the gun explosion on the Princeton in 1844. This accident brought to the fore the question of succession to the presidency in the event of wholesale death of public officials.