Items related to the Gilmer Family in Mount Airy, NC.
Memoir of the Banner, Prather and Gilmer Families
The Gilmers of Surry County and Their Cousins including Willliam Gilmer (1735-1784), John Gilmer (1775-1828), Samuel Gilmer (1800-1828), Samuel Gilmer II (1828-after 1900), Jesse Slade Gilmer (1866-1963)
Obituary for Elizabeth A. Gilmer
Diary written by Lizzie Gilmer who started Miss Lizzie's School for Young Ladies. Elizabeth Anne, “Miss Lizzie” Gilmer, was born in Guilford County in 1835, to Robert S. and Susan Gilmer. She was about 10 years old when the family moved to Mount Airy. In January 1851, Elizabeth Anne Gilmer enrolled in the Boarding School at Salem College. She received her diploma in December 1851. She may have begun teaching school prior to 1855, but we know from her diary she was teaching in her home that year. She was twenty years old. Miss Gilmer is credited with starting the first school for girls in Mount airy and educating the daughters of the most prominent families in town. It was considered a special privilege to be enrolled in one of her classes. Miss Lizzie taught for a brief time at Statesville Female Institute but spent nearly all of her 40-year teaching career in Mount airy. During the time period of December 1854 until 1860, Miss Lizzie made periodic entries in her diary; these reveal much about her family, her friends and neighbors, and a “Miss McQueen” about whom she writes frequently. “Miss McQueen” was from Nova Scotia and was a music teacher in the area at the time. Other diary entries tell of her great admiration for “Mrs. (Archibald) Stuart and family,” and of visits made to her home. She expresses great admiration for “Vic” on those visits. Victoria Augusta Stuart was the sister of General James Ewell brown “JEB” Stuart. Victoria was also a student at Salem Boarding School from January 1852 through June 1853. The Stuart Family was Episcopalian, and the Gilmer Family, Presbyterian. Both congregations used the Methodist Church at Lebanon Hill for services. Entries related to visits to Jeb Stuart’s mother’s home in nearby Patrick County. Saturday February 3, 1855 “Miss McQueen and I spoke of going to Mrs. Stuart’s today but have postponed it until next Saturday.” Saturday February 24, 1855 “Miss McQ and myself went to Stuarts – enjoyed the ride very much, notwithstanding Old Gray: was my steed.” Sunday February 25, 1855 “Returned this evening. We were received with so much kindness. Life has some green spots. I never enjoyed a visit more. Vic is almost my ideal of beauty – so good and so noble too. The friendship of such a one is one of the strongest ties that bind me to earth.” Saturday March 31, 1855 “Took a very pleasant ride out to Mrs. Stuart’s with brother John and Miss McQueen. No doubt our visit would have been more pleasant if one absent member of the family could have been there.” Sunday April 1, 1855 “Returned home from a visit that was more than pleasant. Vic is one of my dearest favorites. She is a beautiful girl – amiable, intelligent and unaffected.” Tuesday April 3, 1855 “All are in bed but myself. Feel very much like a reverie on the changeableness of life. How little we know what a day or even an hour may bring forth as easily can we pierce the veil of futurity a thousand years hence as two hours. Tomorrow a loved brother leaves us – vacates a place in the family circle that we can never expect him to fill again. Those cannot remain together on earth, may we make that preparation which will fit us for a brighter home in Heaven, where the tears of parting will forever stop.” Entries taken from Miss Lizzie’s diary – (General) Monday January 1, 1855 “Really, it seems that all have left their homes and assembled in our dear village to hail the coming of the New Year. May we be permitted to spend this year in usefulness and at its close have as just cause for thankfulness as now.” Monday January 8, 1855 “This morning I commenced school with five scholars and if the weather is ominous of my fate, it is certainly a dismal one. But I think the prospect will brighten with the weather.” Tuesday January 7, 1855 “How unfortunate for me the rain will not ease to relieve the suspense. The children cannot or will not wade to school through the mud.” Wednesday January 10, 1855 “Today the number of my scholars has increased to eleven. Nothing has happened to vary the monotony of schoolroom duties. I have not had yet the occasion to lose command of my temper and shall think myself favored if my children prove more teachable after they get more used to me.” Saturday January 13, 1855 Went to Lebanon and was caught in a refreshing shower. Mr. Rawley was all attentive but some of our other friends seemed rather distant which impressed me deeply with thoughts that “Friendship is but a name.” After the doors were closed for the night, the arrival of Mrs. Stuart and family was announced; and it seems many, many faces made their appearance. How rare do we meet with one whose mid belongs to that high idea with which hers may be justly classed?” Saturday February 24, 1855 “Spent at Mr. Gwyn’s very pleasantly with several young persons. We talked but was our conversation at all beneficial? I fear not. Another day of precious time squandered.” Sunday February 25, 1855 Broke the Sabbath by traveling home from Mr. Gwyn’s. No preaching today. Very cold weather.” Saturday March 17, 1855 “Miss McQueen still in delicate health. The great temperance meeting came off at night, but what shall I say of it? – if no good, why then no harm. It is a cause, the advocate of which I must admire and if I can do nothing to assist them, I shall certainly never do anything to show that I am neutral.” Wednesday March 21 1855 “My girls read compositions before company and did pretty well. How much I wish I could overcome an embarrassed feeling that I always have on such occasions. A little brass is very serviceable at times. Pa started away in the stage tonight. May he return safely.” Thursday March 22, 1855 “Bro. John with the rest of us was relieved of suspense with regard to his going to West Point. There is now no alternative. Nancy White came today.” Friday March 23, 1855 “I spent pleasantly in the schoolroom anticipating the next few days freedom. In the evening I walked out to Mrs. Moor’s in company with Mat, found Mr. Cardwell low spirited – enjoyed myself well – but couldn’t sleep. I know no cause for it – unless it was a cup of coffee.” Saturday March 24, 1855 “A young gentleman very politely offered me a seat in his two-horse vehicle which I accepted – and had the pleasure of his company home. I spent the day partly at the wheel (spinning) and partly at the piano.” Friday January 1, 1860 “The last day I expect to spend at home for five months as I leave in the morning for Statesville. All are at home and we are a happy circle. Uncle and aunt are with us too. May we all meet again. The thought of leaving home causes a sadness to steal over me but I am doing what I believe is for the best. The New Year comes in with chilly blasts.” Saturday January 2, 1860 “Left home in the company with Jerry early in the morning. Traveled through the snow until we were almost frozen, stopped at Mr. Hollifield’s to warm, partook of the nice luncheon prepared for us at home, and then went on our way until we reached Mrs. Wilson’s, where we stopped for the night. They were so kind to us and made us so comfortable. I shall often think of their cheerful home with pleasure.” Sunday January 3, 1860 “Colder than yesterday if possible, but we must keep on our way. A pleasant night;s lodging at Mrs. Howards’s.” Monday January 4, 1860 “Arrived at Statesville about 11 o’clock. Felt very homesick – while they were tending to me so nicely at the Simonton House, but met with a kind friend there Mrs. Caldwell, who treated me with sisterly kindness.” Tuesday January 5, 1860 “Commenced my duties in the College. Think I will find it pleasant but expect to meet with crosses here as elsewhere. I can discover some of the rough features of human nature here as well as in the mountains.” This diary, dated 1857 through 1860 was written by Lizzie Gilmer while she was teaching in Statesville. She came home to Mount Airy about the time of the Civil War to start "Miss Lizzie's School for Young Ladies". It operated from the 1860s through to the late 1880s or maybe longer. She was the daughter of Robert Gilmer who owned a store at Rockford and Main Streets. She had her school on the second floor.