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Free Genealogy Biography of B. Frank Gilmore,
Pennsylvania Volunteer of the Civil War

B. Frank Gilmore

B. Frank Gilmore, youngest son of William Gilmore (deceased), was born in Chambersburg, September 13, 1843, and attended the public schools until 1860.

He was married in 1869 to Miss Laura E. Black, of Newville, Penn., and they have one child, Harry M. Gilmore, living.

Our subject learned telegraphing in 1861, and in May of that year took a position in the Atlantic & Ohio office at Chambersburg, in which position he remained until August, 1864. During this period, as is well known, Chambersburg was an important military station, and the duties of the office were not only arduous, but at times of vast importance to the authorities at Harrisburg and Washington. Mr. Gilmore has in his possession the key to the cipher used in transmitting dispatches between these points, and as there were but four in the department, it is likely that this is the only one in existence.

During Lee’s invasion in 1863, in company with T.C. Wilson, a New York Herald reporter, and three linemen, Mr. Gilmore traveled down the Cumberland Valley on a hand-car in front of Jenkins’ cavalry, the advance of Lee’ s army. The authorities at Harrisburg were thus kept advised every little while of the situation, which was telegraphed them from fence corners, way stations, etc.

Col. A.K. McClure, now the editor of the Philadelphia Times, but during the war a resident of Chambersburg, and an important member of Gov. Curtin’s military staff, and who was also a close friend of President Lincoln, has this to say in regard to Mr. Gilmore’ s services during these trying and exciting times:
"I had almost constant opportunity to know the fidelity and efficiency of Mr. B.F. Gilmore in and about Chambersburg during the war, and it is only due to him to say that his services were of inestimable value to the community and to the State and National Governments. He was constant, night and day, when his labors were needed, and always most efficient and trustworthy. He is one of the few whose services were not rewarded justly, and they should not be forgotten."
(Signed, A.K. McClure.) This paper is endorsed as follows: "It affords me great pleasure to fully verify and endorse all Col. McClure says in this letter of B.F. Gilmore." Signed, A.G. Curtin.

In August, 1864, Mr. Gilmore joined the United States Military Telegraph Corps, and was stationed at Morehead City, N.C. Owing to the prevalence of the yellow fever in this department—three operators out of six having died within ten days—the offices were closed, and he returned to his old position at Chambersburg.

After the war he was employed by the Cumberland Valley Railroad Company, and remained in their employ until 1881, with the exception of three years, in which he was employed at telegraphing, working at Kane, Oil City, Titusville and Pittsburgh, Penn., and Wheeling, W. Va. Since 1881 Mr. Gilmore has been manager of the Western Union Telegraph office, and ticket agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad at their city office in Chambersburg.

Source: Biographical Annals of Franklin County, Pennsylvania : containing genealogical records of representative families, including many of the early settlers, and biographical sketches of prominent citizens; Chicago. Genealogical Pub. Co.. 1905. Notes: Prepared in part by George O. Seilhamer.

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