"G" is for Gadsden, James (1788-1858)

Mar 9, 2020

Credit SC Public Radio

"G" is for Gadsden, James (1788-1858). Soldier, railroad president, diplomat. A Charleston native, Gadsden joined the U.S. army after graduating from Yale. In 1823 he was appointed commissioner in charge of removing the Seminoles from Florida. He purchased land in Florida, but after five unsuccessful campaigns for Congress, he returned to Charleston in 1839. A promoter of the expansion of southern trade, he served as president of what would become the South Carolina Railroad from 1840-1850. An advocate of transcontinental railroads, he planned a route along the Gila River in what was then Mexican territory. Appointed Minister to Mexico in 1853, James Gadsden negotiated the purchase of a strip of land comprising the southern portions of what are now the states of Arizona and New Mexico--that became known in American history as the Gadsden Purchase.