Alabama Pioneers HonoredBiographiesGenealogy Information

Biography: Col. James Nicholas Gilmer born March 20, 1839 – photograph

Happy Birthday!

gilmer, James_N_Gilmer_CSA born 1839COL. JAMES NICHOLAS GILMER


(1839- 1920)

Montgomery, Alabama

James Nicholas Gilmer was an adjutant general of the State of Alabama. He was born on March 20, 1839, in Montgomery, Alabama to Francis Meriwether Gilmer, a native of Georgia and Sarah Elenora (Taylor) Gilmer,a  native of South Carolina.

He had been an active member of the local alumni of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, being the oldest member of the fraternity in the country, both in point of age and length of membership. He joined the Georgia Pi chapter of the society in 1857.

James Nicholas Gilmer (Alabama State Archives Q1021; Q1022; Q1023)

Gilmer, james Nicholas born 1839

He was educated in the schools of his home county and later graduated from the Georgia Military Institute in Marietta in 1858. He helped organize the military company known as the Metropolitan Guards which participated in taking the Pensacola Navy Yard and the barracks and fort at Barrancas on January 12, 1861, one day after the secession of the states of Alabama and Florida.

During the Civil War, he served with several different units as quartermaster, adjutant, and inspector general on Gracy’s staff. After the war Mr. Gilmer returned to Montgomery and entered the cotton warehouse business with his father, later taking over the concern.

James Nicholas Gilmer, 1861 Metropolitan Guards

The Metropolitan Guards became a part of Company F of the 3rd Alabama Infantry, C.S.A. during the Civil War. Gilmer served as a second lieutenant, until accepting a staff position in Hilliard’s Legion in 1862.

(Alabama State Archives Q4650)

Gilmer, James_Nicholas_Gilmer_Metropolitan_Guards

He had been an active member of the local alumni of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, being the oldest member of the fraternity in the country, both in point of age and length of membership. He joined the Georgia Pi chapter of the society in 1857.

He subsequently became involved in the Elyton Land Company and the creation of the city of Birmingham.

In 1884 he was appointed by Governor O’Neal as adjutant general of the state and chief of the governor’s staff. After two years in that office, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, for a short while, returned to Montgomery briefly.

He brought his family to Seattle in April, 1889, six weeks before the great fire, and lived in Seattle more than twenty years operating a general collection business. He and his family were pioneers of Seattle and he organized the Seattle Camp of Confederate veterans there.

He was married in Montgomery on April 29, 1864 to Lizzie Boadicea Dixon of Memphis, Tennessee, and they had nine children. All were born in Montgomery, Alabama.

  1. Sarah Elenora Gilmer
  2. Ida May Gilmer
  3. Frank Meriwether Gilmer
  4. Leonidas Dixon Gilmer
  5. Walker Donaldson Gilmer
  6. James Nicholas Gilmer
  7. Elizabeth Wynn Gilmer
  8. Earnest Englehardt Gilmer
  9. Merritt Fisher Gilmer

He took an active interest in church work, attending the Christ Episcopal Church, in the University district. He died

Col. Gilmer died July 16, 1920 in Seattle, Washington and was survived by his widow, a sister, Mrs. E. A. Donaldson of Arlington; five sons, Lee D, Frank M., Walker D. and Merritt F. Gilmer of Seattle, and Ernest E. Gilmer of Portland, and two daughters, Mrs. R. W. Shaw of Arlington and Mrs. Joseph Shippen of Seattle.


  1. Birmingham Public Library
  2. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Saturday, July 17, 1920, page 5, column E


See best-selling books by Donna R Causey

Start researching your family genealogy research in minutes for FREE! This Ebook has simple instructions on where to start. Download WHERE DO I START? Hints and Tips for Beginning Genealogists with On-line resources to your computer immediately with the FREE APP below and begin your research today!


“This book was very informative and at a very modest price. Thank you for your great newsletter and this book.”

“The book was clear & concise, with excellent information for beginners. As an experienced genealogist, I enjoyed the chapter with lists of interview questions. I’d recommend this book to those who are just beginning to work on their genealogies. For more experienced genealogists, it provides a nice refresher.”


About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.