James Gilfillan Photo

James Gilfillan

Born: Apr 25, 1836

Death: Apr 8, 1929

Birthplace: Belchertown

Nationality: United States

James Gilfillan

Date of Birth : Apr 25, 1836
Date of Death : Apr 8, 1929
Birth Place : Belchertown

James Gilfillan was the 13th Treasurer of the United States. Gilfillan was a native of Belchertown, Massachusetts, born there to Scottish parents. In 1856 he graduated from Williams College, where he was a classmate of future President James A. Garfield. After graduation, he worked as a country editor of a weekly newspaper, reading law with the goal of entering the bar at the same time. He abandoned both professions, instead taking a clerkship at the Treasury Department in 1861, at an annual salary of $1,200. He remained a clerk until President Ulysses S. Grant made him cashier of the United States under Treasurer John C. New. Gilfillan, rising steadily through the ranks, was appointed Treasurer by President Rutherford B. Hayes, and he served from July 1, 1877 to March 31, 1883. During this period he was also Sinking Fund Commissioner for the District of Columbia; he was not paid for his service on the board until a bill of Senator George P. McLean of Connecticut passed Congress, awarding him $4,750. As Treasurer, Gilfillan acquired a reputation for integrity in his dealings, launching anti-corruption investigations, avoiding politics, and attending to his business.

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