James Gadsden (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Though Gadsden was an accomplished soldier, engineer, and railroad executive, his lasting fame came as the United States’ minister to Mexico in the mid-1850’s. While in Mexico City, he negotiated the Gadsden Purchase, the U.S. acquisition of a strip of territory that became the southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico.
James Gadsden was born into one of South Carolina’s most reputable families. The source of this prominence came from his paternal grandfather, Christopher Gadsden, who owned several stores, a commercial wharf, and a plantation. He also served in the South Carolina Assembly and organized Charleston’s resistance to the Stamp Act in 1765. Ten years later, Christopher acted as a delegate to the Continental Congress and eventually served as a Revolutionary War general.
Christopher’s son, Philip, lived in the shadow of his famous father. Philip entered his family’s mercantile business and stayed in Charleston his entire life. He married Catherine Edwards, whose father was also a local businessman and Revolutionary War patriot. Desirous of a large family, the couple managed sixteen offspring. Philip, a devout member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, taught his children, through mild discipline, about Christian moral principles. He also gave his sons the best formal education. They were sent to a well-known preparatory school, the Associated Academy of...
(The entire section is 1953 words.)
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