Early life and education
Gaither was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, the son of Burgess Gaither (a longtime member of the North Carolina House of Commons) and Milly Martin. B.S. Gaither attended the University of Georgia, where classmates included Alexander Stephens and Robert Toombs.
Admitted to the bar in 1829, Gaither practiced law and served as clerk of court in Burke County. He was also elected to represent the county in the 1835 convention to revise the North Carolina Constitution.
A Whig and a supporter of Henry Clay, Gaither was appointed superintendent of the mint at Charlotte in 1841 by President John Tyler.
He was a member of the North Carolina Senate in 1840-41 and again in 1844-45, when he served as President pro tempore. The legislature then elected Gaither to serve as solicitor (district attorney) for the state's seventh judicial district. In 1851 and 1853, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress against maverick Whig Thomas L. Clingman. Gaither supported the Constitutional Union Party in the 1860 presidential election but was a defender of the Southern cause after Abraham Lincoln's inauguration.
He represented the state in the First Confederate Congress and the Second Confederate Congress from 1862 to 1865. After the war, Gaither resumed his law practice and ran two more unsuccessful races for Congress. He died in Morganton shortly before what would have been his 85th birthday.
- The Political Graveyard
- Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present