Born on January 15, 1858, in Greenwood, South Carolina, looked to have a life in the military. He attended the Carolina Military Institute and went on to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. He would have graduated from West Point in 1882, except he was deficient in experimental philosophy after three years and dropped out.
Before he settled down in Punta Gorda, Florida, to become an orange grower, he had been a civil engineer and real estate dealer. In 1893, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and served until 1905. While serving in the House, he also served in the Florida state militia until 1898, where he reached the rank of brigadier general. He left the militia to serve in the U. S. Army during the Spanish-American War. In the regular army, he reached the rank of captain and was discharged in 1899.
Severing as governor from January 5, 1909, to January 7, 1913, his focus was on public health. After he left office, he moved to New York City where he died on May 15, 1926.
When the Florida Legislature heard of his passing they quickly introduced and passed a bill naming Gilchrist County after him. Since he was a bachelor, he left a large portion of his estate to local orphans upon his death.
The Gilchrist Bridge which carries U. S. Route 41 bridge over the Peace River from Punta Gorda to Port Charlotte is named after him. As well as a dormitory at the Florida State University carries his name.
The photograph is part of the public domain.