Gilpin, William

Gilpin, William, 1813–94, U.S. army officer, politician, and businessman, b. Philadelphia, grad. Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1833. He dropped out of West Point, but joined the army (1836) and fought in the Seminole War. In 1838 he moved to St. Louis, editing a newspaper and practicing law before joining (1843) John C. Frémont 's expedition to the Pacific Northwest, where Gilpin helped organize the Oregon Territory's government. He fought in the Mexican War (1846–48), retiring as a lieutenant colonel, and returned to Missouri and the law. After gold was discovered in Colorado, Gilpin's Central Gold Region (1859) linked manifest destiny with the greater Mississippi Valley and promoted Denver as its principal city. Appointed (1861) the first territorial governor of Colorado, he organized the 1st Colorado Volunteers, which fought off a Confederate invasion, but the financial disarray he created by acting without authorization led to his removal from office (1862). He later made a fortune in land speculation.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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