Friday, August 17, 2012

Philandering Philmore

Gilliam Philmore or Filmore Carpenter supposedly lived to be 104 years old. His tombstone says that he was born May 16, 1848 and died August 21, 1952.

Philmore Carpenter is buried in the Bethel Methodist Church Cemetary, along with many other members of this family.

After reading the newspaper article from the April 4, 1896 edition of the Anson Record, I wanted to find out more about this family. After learning that Gilliam Philmore Carpenter was born in Stanly County, I was certain that he must be related to the Stanly County Carpenter family that become very entwined in my family tree.
Sarah Catherine <i>Gaddy</i> CarpenterAnd he was. Gilliam Philmore (or Filmore) Carpenter was the son of Williamson Carpenter and Sarah B McIntyre. Williamson Carpenter was the son of John Ludwell Carpenter and Obedience Broadway. John Ludwell Carpenter was the son of John Carpenter and Elizabeth Upchurch. These families show up in my family tree many times over. Ludwells sister Obedience was the mother of one of Edmund Murray's son's John Carpenter, illegitimate, but treated as an equal to the legitimate children in the will, because Edmund, himself, had been illegitimate. Then there was their brother Allen Carpenter, who was Hawk Davis's best friend. They were both Civil War Veterans and one of Allens daughters married into the family. Brother Thomas Carpenter's daughte Caroline also married into the family, I could go on. The Broadaways as well. Clarrisa Howell, daughter of Job Davis's stepson Jordan Howell married Jeremiah Broadaway. The grandfather of my Great-Grandmother, George Turner, married a Broadaway. The McIntyre's came in several times as well, marrying Davis sisters and Elizabeth Murray, Priscilla's sister married Stokes McIntyre. Phillmore was a rotten apple that fell from the family tree.
This is a photo of Sarah Catherine Gaddy Carpenter, better known as Sallie, the first wife of Gilliam Philmores 5 wives and the mother of his oldest children. There seemed to be a different number of children given, depending on whom was asked. The number ranged from 8 to 14. And this was only from the first marriage.
 Some of the antics recorded and remembered of Philandering Philmore was the story in the Anson Record of him taking his family to Danville, Virginia and abandoning them, but it was more complicated than the newspaper article let on.  The story from his descendents embellishes the story a little bit.

Sarah Catherine Gaddy Carpenter
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Birth: Mar. 3, 1862
Anson County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Apr. 28, 1937
Newberry County
South Carolina, USA

She was the daughter of Dawson D Gaddy and Patsy Pitcher/pilcher, the wife of Philmore Carpenter. Children were: Philmore, John Dorsey `Doss', Alfred Pinkton `Bung', Rosa Ann, Martha Louisa`Lula', Margaret Ellen`Ella', Arrie Elizabeth`Lizzie', Emma Eugenia`Jean', Gilliam Philmore jr, Lucy Maybell, Bessie Mae.

Note: The headstone has the wrong name for husband should be Philmore
Whitmire Cemetery
Newberry County
South Carolina, USA

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Created by: Sylvia Watkins

Record added: Sep 10, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9444238
Philmore Carpenter was in danger of going to jail, when one day he came home and told his family to pack up, that they were heading north. At this time, his family consisted of his first wife Sally, 8 children and one on the way and his mistress, Mollie Braswell. Of course, Sallie and her children did not like Mollie and Mollie was in fear for her life. When they arrived in Danville, Phillmore rented a two-story house and while Sallie and the children lived downstairs, Philmore and Mollie lived upstairs. Philmore put his children, even the smallest ones, to work in the Danville silk mills. At some point, Philmore decided it was safe to move back to Anson County, North Carolina, but did not inform his wife. He sold everything he could to liquify his assets, took his two oldest sons and his mistress Mollie, and returned to North Carolina, leaving pregnant Sallie and the younger 6 children stranded in Danville, Virginia. And as the article states, with the help of good Samaritans in Danville and in Charlotte, NC, they made their way back home.

Philmore was married 5 times, divorced twice, became a widower once and married the fifth time without divorcing the fourth wife, committing bigamy. He was quite the character. I've heard sometimes of people and dogs surviving a long time on sheer meaness. This seems to be the case for Philmore as he lived a long life of 104 years. 

Other stories of Phimore's antics are his arrests, but he must have been a likable character as he served little or no time. Judges must have found him a hoot and he had no problem finding wives. 

In November of 1893, he was accused of assault, but found not guilty. Five months later, in April of 1894, he is accused of trespassing, and again, found not guilty. The year 1893 seems to be when he developed a problem with alchohol because he had no issues up until then. Maybe the stress of having to support such a large family drove him to drink. 

In January of 1896, he went on a moonshine binge and ended up pulling a Lady Godiva by riding into town in his birthday suit. He takes his jug of moonshine along for the ride, drinking all along the way. After arriving at the square, he is said to have stood straight up in the saddle and taking a swig for all to see. This time, he was arrested and put in jail with a $200 bond, which was a large sum for the day. On January 8, 1896, he was found guilty and sentenced to 3 months on the chain gang. As winter time in North Carolina can be pretty cold, the moonshine must have been keeping the naked Philmore warm. 

Philandering Philmore was known for liking the company of wayward women and there may have been numerous other little Philmores running around out there than his legitimate lots by Sallie and Hattie, his third wife. It was said there was also one by his second wife, although their marriage was a very short one. 

Gilliam Philmore Carpenter died on August 21, 1952. He had seen a great deal of change in his life from his boyhood during the years preceding the Civil War, being born in 1848, through the war and reconstruction, living through both World Wars and into the age of planes, automobiles, telephones and televisions. He left a legacy, both in his longetivity, legend, and many descendants. 


  1. Philmore Carpenter Was my Great Gr Grandfather and the story of his abandonment is true. Though a little different from the way my grandmother told it. Arrie Elizabeth was m grGrmother. I knew her pretty well for a child. She was married to her first cousin, Jesse Mcquage. Their mother's were Sallie and Ellen Gaddy. I remember stories my grandmother would tell of Philmore. Thank for writing it. I have some old paper clippings somewhere if I ever come across them again I'll share them. And yes he did live to 104 my grandmother said so.

    1. Philmore was my father’s (Johnny Philmore Carpenter) grandfather.

    2. Philmore was my father’s (Johnny Philmore Carpenter) grandfather.

  2. Philmore is my great great grandpa his son John "Doss" carpenter was my grandfather lonie frank "Buddy" carpenters dad