Family Stories

Bio of Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker was born 5 May 1751 in Albemarle county Virginia, the daughter of Thomas Walker and Mildred Thornton. At the tender age of sixteen, on 27 August 1767, she married her first cousin George Gilmer. He was the son of George Gilmer and Mary Peachey Walker. He was born in 1742, and as a young man was sent to Edinburgh Scotland for a medical education. After his return he was cited as Dr George Gilmer. He and his young wife were established at Pen Park in Albemarle county Virginia.

The papers of Dr George Gilmer are a part of the collection of the Virginia Historical Society. They are primarily military and political in nature, and have been widely explored by researchers of Virginia History. The papers were published in "Collections of the Virginia Historical Society; New Series, Volume 6, 1887." A preface to the papers gives highlights to the life and character of George Gilmer and his wife Lucy Walker:

Dr. George Gilmer . . He settled at Pen Park, and soon attained a lucrative practice in his profession. The friend and intimate associate of Thomas Jefferson, he was an ardent patriot from the beginning to the end of the struggle for independence. He served Albemarle in the House of Burgesses, and as early as 1774 offered a resolution in that body on the subject of the Crown Lands . . He was gifted as an orator, and when Lord Dunmore seized the powder of the colony the eloquent appeal of Dr. Gilmer to the citizens of Albemarle caused the organization of an independent company of volunteers . . His wife was a worthy mate to so sterling a patriot. During the early days of the struggle for independence, the patriots in different sections of the country found great difficulty in corresponding with each other, and it became necessary to establish a secret means of intercommunication by private letter-carriers. Mr. Jefferson, during a visit to Dr. Gilmer at this period, in conversation with him, deplored the want of funds to defray the expense of such correspondence. Mrs. Gilmer, who was present, immediately left the room, and speedily returning with her personal jewels, of much value, handed them to Mr. Jefferson, and, with tearful eyes, asked him to use them in the cause of her country. Nor was she less a heroine than a patriot. When the British troops, under the command of Tarleton, entered Charlottesville in the pursuit of the Virginia Assembly, which had adjourned thither to resume their session, interrupted by the enemy at Richmond, Mr. A., a friend of Dr. Gilmer, was a guest of Mrs. Gilmer, her husband being absent professionally. Mr. A., mounting his horse, attempted to escape, but was shot down and carried off by the enemy. Mrs. Gilmer, learning that he was still alive, determined to succor him; and, accompanied by a maiden sister only, made her way perilously through the village, filled with drunk and disorderly troopers, to the presence of Tarleton himself on her errand of mercy. He was so filled with admiration at the courage displayed by Mrs. Gilmer, that he not only delivered to her the helpless and insensible form of her friend, but sent his own surgeon to attend him until Dr. Gilmer returned home. Mr. A. happily recovered to gallantly serve his county, and to bequeath to his descendants a debt of gratitude to the admirable couple at Pen Park.

George Gilmer and Lucy Walker were the parents of nine identified children: James Gilmer, Mildred Gilmer, Peachy Ridgeway Gilmer, George Gilmer, Thomas Walker Gilmer, John Gilmer, Lucy Walker Gilmer, Francis Walker Gilmer, Harmer Gilmer.

Dr George Gilmer died in 1795, when several of his children were still of young age. His wife, Lucy Walker Gilmer, lived on for thirty years at their Pen Park home. She died in 1825, and is buried with her husband at Pen Park - Gilmer Estate Cemetery in Albemarle county Virginia.

Notes for Lucy Walker; compiled by Pamela Hutchison Garrett, 2013; for Family Stories at