The Costive Case of Gilman D Gove

The Costive Case of Gilman D Gove

I was entering data on Acting Midshipman Gilman D. Gove for his stay at the US Naval Academy hospital from December eleventh through fourteenth in 1855, and there it was, another term that I needed to look up. Though I had a sense what it might mean from a root word with which I was familiar, I was puzzled as to what medical connotation it might carry. The word was “costiveness.” Its root word “costive” had conveyed a sense to me that something was being held back, as in that someone who was costive, was not speaking, was holding back his opinion.

I was surprised to learn that its first meaning was the medical condition – constipation, and the secondary meanings were what I thought were its first. (And it also shed some new light on my original understanding). The word constipation had been used in every case up to this one, and why the records keeper for the case of Midshipman Gove chose to use the word “costiveness” remains a mystery to me. Perhaps it was a different record keeper than whoever kept the former entries and it was his vocabulary of choice.

There are some unsettled facts about Gilman. I found a birth record from the state of New Hampshire that states he was born on May 12, 1837 in Kensington (the town in which his grandparents lived and from which there are many Goves). Yet the naval academy records, the 1870 and 1880 Federal censuses, and the government hospitals in which he was a patient, all list Louisiana as his birth state. Indeed, they were transplants to that area from New England. His father, Asa Dearborn Gove had moved the family from his wife’s home in Boston, Massachusetts to New Orleans, Louisiana in 1832. In Boston he had been in the fruit business with his brother Amos. He continued in that line in their new home, trading in fruit around the Caribbean. So, though Louisiana would seem the most likely birthplace for him, Kensington can not be ruled out.

Some time in the 1850s his father moved the family and business to New York, and it is from that state that Gilman was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1852. Gilman graduated from the academy in 1856 and served only two years before resigning in 1858.  I do not know the reason for his resignation. His father passed away in 1860, so he might have resigned to help an ailing parent. Asa had sold the business in New York and bought a farm in Windsor, Illinois. Gilman’s name does appear on the 1860 probate papers as administrator.

With the coming of the Civil War, Gilman entered the navy once again. He traveled to the nearby town of Neoga, Illinois in March 1862 and enlisted in the volunteer navy. He served as an Acting Ensign in the Mississippi Squadron, on at least two gunboats, the USS Black-Hawk and the USS Benton. He was serving on the later when he again resigned in February 1863. Again I do not know the reason for the resignation.

He most likely returned to Illinois. The IRS records for 1865 list him with his brother Howard in Charleston, Illinois, which put them close to their mother in Windsor. The 1870 census places their mother in Kansas City, Missouri, living with her daughter’s family.  The boys are also listed in this residence and working as clerks for their brother-in-law. Their sister’s husband, William Beecher Stone owned an agricultural warehouse which dealt in farm implements. The next census (1880) indicates that Gilman and Howard followed  Mr. Stone to Galena, Kansas. A huge lead strike was discovered in Galena in 1877, setting off a rush, and Stone got in on the ground floor. Gilman is listed as a clerk in the district court, and living with Howard’s family. Howard was working in Stone’s lead mining company, and within a few years Gilman was also.

In December 1891, Gilman was diagnosed with nervous prostration, and admitted to the Government hospital in Leavenworth Kansas on 5/5/1892. He was discharged after a four year stay, but only to be transferred to the Government Insane Asylum in D. C., where he died two months later; the cause – general paralysis and insane with dementia. Was lead responsible? Another unanswered question.

So, this is my summation of the life of Gilman D. Gove, full of facts and connections but with some dangling questions, big and small. Nowhere in all these records did I find his middle name recorded. Two family names are possible candidates: Dearborn (his father’s middle name) or Donnell (his mother’s middle name).

As they say, “The answer is out there.” Somewhere in the costive universe there are answers to all these little questions about Gilman D. Gove.


Rebel Treasure seventeenth post

Rebel Treasure seventeenth post


Five vessels ride their anchors out in the Roads, tended by a flock of small boats plying back and forth, transporting soldiers and supplies to shore.

Three more vessels crowd the dock, each disgorging their contents into the mountains of cargo heaping up on the wharf. A line of freight wagons do their best to cart things away but it’s a losing battle.


Jimmy, attired in the uniform of the New York State militia, wanders among the hubbub and chaos of the wharf. At last he arrives at the object of his curiosity, the base of the gold ship.

At present, no workers are busy unloading her. About to take a step toward her empty gangplank, he stops and retreats when he notices Romeo and Lon at the top.


Lon turns to the CAPTAIN of the vessel and extends a hand in thanks.

You’ve been most gracious, Captain.

Not at all, it was the least that one could do for a fellow officer. I wish you success, sir. Up with the Union, down with the rebels!

Lon smiles, bids him goodbye and he and Romeo begin their descent.

I will head straight to the Helmsley Tavern and will meet you there later. Meanwhile you will be about your business?

Yes, suh. I will seek out the harbor master and offer–
(with a grin)
my services.

As Lon threads his way through the throng of people, Jimmy keeps him in view. Besides LABORERS and PEDDLERS, most are SOLDIERS like Jimmy, in a multitude of militia uniforms.

On the corner near Helmsley’s Tavern, Lon stops and wheels around. Jimmy pretends interest in a shop sign, when he looks back, Lon is nowhere in sight. Then, before he can take another step, he is seized violently from behind and spun around.

I’ve had enough of your sneaking–
(recognition dawns)
Jimmy! What the devil are you doing here? And in that uniform!

Oh. Hi, Lon. You know I’ve fallen on hard times when you find me in the garb of a soldier.

What happened?

It wasn’t too long after you left that I bilged, failed the February exam.
(Lon sympathizes)
I wound up at my grandfather’s in Brooklyn, and then Sumter came along–

He looks downcast. Lon puts a comforting arm around his shoulder.

Still have a hankering to be a pirate?

Lon enters with Jimmy and immediately encounters the PROPRIETOR.

My name is Turner. Someone may have been asking for me.

Lon holds out his hand, and they grip one another’s wrist. The proprietor gives him a curt nod in reply.

Yes. I’ll send for the gentlemen. You can wait for them in here.

He motions them into:


So, I’ve told you all about me, where have you been these last few months?

A-sailing the bounding main.

Ah! Checking out the gold ship!

Among other things.

JESSE JAMES enters, a man of medium height and build. At first he is all smiles and cordiality until he notices the uniform that Jimmy is wearing. With that realization his hand drops and his smile twists into a scowl.

Before he can say a word, Louis Toussant follows him into the room. He swiftly crosses to his friends and initiates a round of back slapping. With this display, the older man relaxes his animosity.

Well I never thought I’d ever see you two again. And together too.

(to Jesse)
You can rest at ease, sir. You’re among friends. Mister?

You can call me Jesse. Jesse James from Tennessee.

A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. James.

They exchange a wrist hand shake, and Lon introduces the others.

Is the shipment really here?

Yes, we accompanied it from Panama. But from here on in, it’s under a closer guard than we expected.
(looks at Jimmy)
But we’ve figured out some ways around it.

Do you have access to any arms?

Jimmy looks startled. Lon answers.

They shouldn’t be necessary. Not the way we’ve planned it out.

(pats his waistband)
Well, I’ve got us covered, if things get rough.

I don’t think we have a worry, it should all go like clockwork.

[next pt 18]

Rebel Treasure eleventh post

Mrs. Slidell and Morgan are holding an intense council over the table piled high with treasure.

You’re going to do it, and like it.

I don’t like it, and I don’t think Horatio will like it either.

Your brother is smart; he’ll see it my way. I think what they have uncovered here is going to lead us to the KGC
(an almost reverent reverie comes over her)
The fulfillment of all our dreams!

The boys re-enter noisily, hemming and hawing.

Alright. We’re interested–


That is, if you can afford to make it worth our while. Not a lot, mind you, say 10 percent?

I think we can afford to be generous.

The starch has gone out of Morgan as he sits behind the wheel of his SUV. He’s almost amiable. He seems to like being on the road, crossing the picturesque state of Tennessee.
Ben picks up the zip lock bag and fishes out a picture.

A carefree young man of nineteen looks back at us. His dark good looks are enhanced by his smart naval uniform, and he knows it.

LON (V.O.)
Annapolis, Maryland. January 14th, 1861. They sent us out to Old Ironsides this morning. Our assignment, study and sketch her rigging.

Rebel Treasure eleventh post

[next pt 12]

ET and Old Ironsides


When E T and the other soldiers awoke in the morning, most were unaware of what had transpired in the wee hours.  General Butler and his officers had been on the alert the whole time.  They had walked a tight rope. They didn’t know what to expect from the authorities ashore, both at the Naval Academy, nor of the civilian ones in Annapolis itself. It was a slave state after all, and hence held strong political and emotional ties to the seceded states.  And as the state’s major city Baltimore, had proved willing to resist the decisions of the Federal government, they were not sure which way this cat was going to jump.

On the other side of the coin, Captain George S. Blake, the Superintendent of the Naval Academy was himself convinced that the vessel off his station, having been observed descending from the direction of Baltimore, was filled with hostile elements bent on seizing the installation, its stores and weapons. Also at risk was the United States Frigate Constitution, posted here since September of the preceding year as a school-ship. Blake had orders from the Secretary of the Navy to defend her, or failing that, destroy her. To that end a sailor was kept in the hold of Old Ironsides, prepared to set a match to the 60,000 pounds of gunpowder stowed below.

In truth, both were men on the same side, yet neither knew. Both sides sent out feelers, that passed each other in the murk, and more misunderstandings ensued. By the first light of day, the two parties finally cleared things up. Both sides were going to get what they wanted. General Butler had a place to land his troops, the necessary next step on his march to Washington, and Captain Blake would get men to help defend the grounds, and most important of all, personnel to help man the Constitution.

Most of the Marines assigned to the Academy had been ordered to other stations prior to this.  Blake asked Butler if he could assign some men as a marine guard for the Constitution. Butler chose the Salem Zouaves and ordered them to transfer to the ship. He also put a call out for men who knew their way around a sailing vessel, a request easily fielded by companies recruited from the seacoast of Massachusetts.

So the soldiers made their preparations and breakfasted on whatever rations were left. And the Maryland came alongside the man of war.  And so E T stepped from one deck to another and became a marine for a time, serving on the historic and oldest vessel in the US Navy.


ET on the Chesapeake


So the Maryland and the 8th regiment MVM had cast off into the night and the unknown. An hour into their trip, they ate from their rations that had been issued in Philadelphia.  But before that the captains ordered their soldiers to discharge their weapons over the side into the water, a wise precaution to guard against any tragic accidents.

All except two of the weapons. There were civilians that had talked their way aboard the vessel, and General Butler had decided that it would be best to mount a two man guard over the one boat that the Maryland carried, to prevent a traitor from stealing it and reporting their whereabouts to any hostile forces ashore.

In my research I have run across accounts that claim that Andrew Carnegie also was aboard the Maryland on this trip. I am not fully convinced that he was. The future steel magnate and philanthropist, did travel via the Maryland when called to Washington to help form the Telegraph Corps. But communications signed by him seem to indicate that he was in Altoona, PA at this date. (I hope to be able to clarify everything in a future history).

One individual that I have identified with certainty who was on the Maryland at this time was David X Junkin, the then current chaplain at the Naval Academy.  He was returning from a trip north. His presence would prove fortunate for all of them.

With more than 800 members of the regiment, plus scads of other people, it all came down to one’s awareness, and it was pretty much limited by each groups’ familiarity within their own unit. With their supper eaten and weapons discharged, they settled in for the night. They bedded down on both the upper and lower decks to get much needed sleep before their arrival at Annapolis.

When they arrived off Annapolis at 2am, the officers let the men sleep on, and ordered the ship hove to, and awaited the dawn. Though with the coming of the light, the fog of war settled in with a vengeance, obscuring the true nature of the two forces opposing one another.