Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GILMORE, James Roberts, author, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 10 September, i823. His father was a cousin of Governor Joseph A. Gilmore, of New Hampshire. The son was prepared for College in Utica, New York, but entered a counting-room at the age of fourteen, and became a partner in the business before he was of age. He made annual business trips to the south, and at the age of twenty-five became the head of a new cotton and shipping firm in New York City, from which he retired before the beginning of the civil war with a competency. In the early years of the war he published several novels, containing realistic portrayals of southern life and feeling, under the pen name "Edmund Kirke." He also wrote numerous war-songs and ballads. His writings about the south, by their graphic and unexaggerated pictures of slavery, helped to decide the northern mind in favor of emancipation and the continuance of the war. In 1862 he founded the "Continental Monthly " magazine, to advocate emancipation as a political necessity: but discontinued his connection with it soon after the issuing of President Lincoln's proclamation. In July, 1864, with Colonel Jaquess, he was intrusted with an unofficial mission to the Confederate government, with a view to arranging a peace. They only succeeded in eliciting from Jefferson Davis a declaration that he would not consent to peace except, on the basis of the independence of the Confederate States, a result that had the effect of destroying the peace party of the north, and ensured the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. Having lost his fortune in consequence of the war, he engaged in business again in 1873. In 1883 he finally retired, and applied himself anew to the pursuit of literature. His earlier publications were "Among the Pines" (New York, 1862)" " My Southern Friends" (1862)" " Down in Tennessee" (1863)" "Among the Guerillas" (1863)" " Adrift in Dixie" (1863)" "On the Border" (Boston, 1864)" and "Patriot Boys" (1864). In 1880 he prepared, in connection with Dr. Lyman Abbott, an arrangement of the gospels forming a life of Jesus, entitled the "Gospel History " (New York)" and the same year wrote in the space of thirty days a " Life of Garfield," of which, during the presidential campaign and immediately afterward, 80,000 copies were sold. He published subsequently "The Rear-Guard of the Revolution," an account of the early settlement of Tennessee and of the patriotic services of John Sevier (New York, 1886), and "John Sevier as a Commonwealth-Builder," a companion to the "Rear-Guard" (1887). He is now (1887) writing a series of southwestern histories. His wife, who has aided him in his literary labors, is a daughter of Judge John W. Edmonds.
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