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Adams, James Hopkins (15 March 1812–13 July 1861), planter and politician, was born in Richland District, South Carolina, the son of Henry Walker Adams and Mary Goodwyn, planters. At an early age, both of his parents died and James was placed in the care of his maternal grandfather, an early settler of South Carolina from Virginia. Prosperous, his grandfather, a plantation owner, was able to raise Adams in an atmosphere of wealth and education. Shortly after his graduation from Yale in 1831, Adams married Jane Margaret Scott, with whom he had eleven children....

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Allston, Robert Francis Withers (21 April 1801–07 April 1864), planter and statesman, was born on “Hagley Plantation” in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Benjamin Allston, a planter, and Charlotte Anne Allston. Allston entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in December 1817 and graduated tenth in his class on 1 July 1821. Appointed lieutenant in the Third Artillery and assigned to the Coast Survey, he participated in the surveying of the harbors at Plymouth and Provincetown, Massachusetts, and of the entrance to Mobile Bay. He resigned his commission on 1 February 1822 in response to his widowed mother’s plea for help on their plantations and returned to South Carolina, where he remained a rice planter for the rest of his life. As a planter, however, he continued his interest in civil engineering and in 1823 was elected to the first of two terms as surveyor general of South Carolina. In 1832 he married Adele Petigru, sister of Unionist ...

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Alston, Joseph (1779–10 September 1816), planter and statesman, was born in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Colonel William Alston, a rice planter, and Mary Ashe. He attended the College of Charleston from 1793 to 1794, then entered Princeton in 1795, his junior year, but he withdrew without graduating. He read law in the office of ...

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James Barbour. Engraving of a portrait by Charles Févret de Saint-Mémin, 1801. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105897).

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Barbour, James (10 June 1775–07 June 1842), planter and politician, was born in Orange County, Virginia, the son of Thomas Barbour, a wealthy planter, and Mary Pendleton Thomas. Because his family suffered financial reverses during the Revolution, Barbour did not receive a college education. After preparatory study in rhetoric and the classics at a local academy, he apprenticed himself to a Richmond lawyer. In 1793, when he was only eighteen years old, he was admitted to the Virginia bar and began practicing law in Orange and neighboring counties. Two years later he married Lucy Johnson, daughter of a prominent local planter. They established a country seat at “Barboursville,” near Montpelier, where they raised five children....

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Bowie, Robert ( March 1750–08 January 1818), planter and politician, was born near Nottingham, Prince Georges County, Maryland, the son of William Bowie, a and Margaret Sprigg. He was educated by the Reverend John Eversfield near Nottingham and then by the Reverend Thomas Craddock, the first rector of St. Thomas Parish in Garrison Forest, Baltimore County, Maryland. On the eve of the American Revolution, about 1773, tradition has Bowie eloping with Priscilla Mackall, a daughter of the richest man in Calvert County, James John Mackall. Bowie’s father gave them a farm near “Mattaponi,” the family plantation where Bowie had been born. They had five children who survived to adulthood....

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Breckinridge, John (02 December 1760–14 December 1806), lawyer, planter, and statesman, was born on a farm near Staunton, Virginia, the son of Robert Breckinridge, a farmer and member of the local gentry, and Lettice Preston. While John was still a boy the family moved to the frontier part of Augusta County that became Botetourt County. Determined to acquire an education, John entered William and Mary College in late 1780 or early 1781. His attendance was irregular, but when he left the school in 1784 he had studied for some two years, much of it under the guidance of ...

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Bryan, Hugh (1699–31 December 1753), planter, assemblyman, and evangelical Christian, was born near Beaufort in South Carolina, the son of Joseph Bryan, an Indian trader and farmer, and Janet Cochran. Bryan’s father was an early settler on South Carolina’s southern frontier, and it was there that Hugh Bryan spent most of his life. As a boy he was taken prisoner by Indians during the Yamasee War (1715) and was carried to St. Augustine, where he was eventually released. According to tradition, Bryan “met with a Bible among the ...

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Carpenter, Cyrus Clay (24 November 1829–29 May 1898), politician and farmer, was born in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, the son of Asahel Carpenter, a farmer, and Amanda Thayer. Orphaned during his early teens and raised by relatives, Carpenter attended public school in Harford. Between 1848 and 1851 he alternated teaching jobs with attendance at Harford Academy. During these early years he developed the temperance and antislavery views that he held during his adult years....

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Dummer, William (1677–10 October 1761), politician, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, and farmer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jeremiah Dummer, a silversmith, and Anna (or Hannah) Atwater. Born to wealthy parents, he was part of Boston’s Puritan elite. On 20 April 1714, he married Catherine Dudley, the daughter of Governor ...

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Dymond, John (03 May 1836–05 March 1922), planter, publisher, and politician, was born in Canada (exact location unrecorded), the son of Richard Dymond, a Methodist minister, and Anne Hawkens. During his early childhood Dymond’s family moved to Zanesville, Ohio, where he was educated in the local public schools and the Zanesville Academy before entering Bartlett’s College, a business school in Cincinnati. Following his graduation from Bartlett’s in 1857 he took a job as a clerk with his father, who had by that time established himself in the mercantile trade. He then toyed with the cotton manufacturing business in partnership with Homer White (trading under the name White & Dymond) before moving to New York City, where, on the eve of the Civil War, he took a job as a traveling salesman with a firm whose name has not survived. He returned to Zanesville on 3 June 1862 to marry Nancy Elizabeth Cassidy; they had six children....

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Goldsborough, Robert (03 December 1733–22 December 1788), lawyer and planter, was born in Cambridge, Dorchester County, Maryland, the son of Charles Goldsborough, a lawyer, legislator, and large landowner, and his first wife Elizabeth Ennalls. When Robert was five and a half years old, his father married Elizabeth Dickinson, half sister of ...

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Harrison, Benjamin (1726?–24 April 1791), Virginia planter, legislator, governor, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at the family seat, “Berkeley,” Charles City County, Virginia, the son of Benjamin Harrison and Anne Carter, daughter of Robert “King” Carter, one of the largest landowners in the colony. The Harrisons were among the early settlers in Virginia, and Benjamin “the Signer” was the fifth of that name in a direct line of descent. His father and grandfather had been prominent in the affairs of colonial government. His son, ...

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Heyward, Nathaniel (18 January 1766–10 April 1851), planter and legislator, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Daniel Heyward, a planter, and Jane Elizabeth Gignilliat. As a boy Heyward served as a powder monkey in the Charleston Battery of Artillery during the American Revolution. His formal education consisted only of academy training. Coming of age, he traveled for a year in Europe and returned home to settle down to the life of a rice planter. As a younger son, he inherited only a few small inland swamp tracts from his father, who had many thousands of acres of land and 1,000 slaves. Heyward’s acres were subject to unwanted flooding, and it took the loss of only one crop to convince him that the future of rice culture lay in the tidal swamps then being developed. Tidal swamps had two advantages over inland swamps: tidal swamps were not subject to unwanted flooding, and more important, they had ample water to kill most of the grass and weeds....

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Kinloch, Cleland (1760–12 September 1823), planter and legislator, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Francis Kinloch, a planter, and Anna Isabella Cleland, both of Scottish descent. His father’s death left Kinloch a ward of Governor Thomas Boone at age seven. The governor sent him abroad for schooling (which was very rare for South Carolina youths). He studied at Eton College in England and in Rotterdam, Holland, where, intending to be a merchant, he pursued commercial studies. The revolutionary war prevented his returning to the United States until after the South Carolina Confiscation Act of 1782, which fined his estate at 12 percent of its value. He planned to return to England, but the inheritance of his father’s Weehaw Plantation in 1784 led to his choosing the life of a rice planter instead. Subsequently Kinloch expanded Weehaw to 5,000 acres and made a number of major improvements. Apparently he was relieved of the fines, but his factor, John White, was trustee of his 300 slaves as late as 1790. On 15 April 1786 Kinloch married Harriet Simmons, the daughter of Ebenezer Simmons, Jr., and Jane Stanyarne. This union produced one child....

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Lewis, John Francis (01 March 1818–02 September 1895), politician and farmer, was born at his family home, “Lynwood,” near Port Republic in Rockingham County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Hance Lewis and Nancy Lewis, farmers. An active youth, he found his studies in an old-field school confining, and his father applied the son’s energies to work on the large family farm. Lewis excelled in this area and became an innovative, successful, and wealthy farmer himself. His interests expanded into other ventures as well. He became superintendent of the Mount Vernon Iron Works in Rockingham County before the Civil War, and he apparently continued in the iron business for many years. He married Serena Helen Sheffey in 1842, and they raised seven children....

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Lewis, William Berkeley (23 June 1784–12 November 1866), planter and politician, was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, the son of John Lewis. He arrived in Nashville as a young man in his mid-twenties, but little is known of him prior to that time, including anything about his forebears except that his mother was a member of the prominent Berkeley family. Shortly after his arrival in Nashville he obtained a position in the state land office and soon married Margaret Lewis (no relation), a daughter of William Terrell Lewis. They had one child. One of the richest men in Tennessee, boasting ...

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Lloyd, Edward (22 July 1779–02 June 1834), politician and farmer, was born in Maryland, the son of Edward Lloyd, a Maryland official and planter, and Elizabeth Tayloe. Lloyd received his education primarily from private tutors but also from exposure to his father’s political activities and plantation management. Upon his father’s death in 1796, Lloyd, as the only son, inherited all of his father’s land, principally over 11,000 acres in Talbot County, and more than two hundred slaves. In 1797 he married Sally Scott Murray; they had three sons and four daughters....

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Manigault, Peter (10 October 1731–12 November 1773), planter and legislator, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Gabriel Manigault, a merchant and planter, and Ann Ashby. His early studies were in a classical school in Charleston, whence he went to England for further training, entering the Inner Temple in 1752. Two years later he was called to the English bar. During his stay there he was introduced by his tutor, Thomas Corbett, to English cultured society and engaged in considerable travel on the continent. Manigault returned to South Carolina and was admitted to the bar there on 16 December 1754. In 1755 he married Elizabeth Wragg, the daughter of Joseph Wragg and Judith DuBose. They had seven children, but only four reached maturity. All the children married into leading South Carolina families: ...

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Marigny, Bernard (28 October 1785–03 February 1868), Creole planter and politician, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Pierre Enguerrand Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a Spanish army officer and rich landowner, and Jeanne Marie d’Estréhan, daughter of a distinguished family. He was christened Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville and grew up in the richest family in the French colony of Louisiana. When Marigny was fifteen his father died, at which time Lino de Chalmette, a relative, became his guardian. Already Marigny had developed into an unruly, spoiled young man, so addicted to gambling that Chalmette could not control him. Hence Marigny was dispatched to Pensacola, Florida, and placed in the care of a wealthy merchant named Panton, who found him so impossible that he immediately sent him back. Chalmette then sent Marigny to England, where he lived on an extravagant allowance, mingled with the best society, met Lord Byron, and continued his dissipated ways. Soon he was deeply in debt to London and Parisian gamblers. Returning to New Orleans after his eighteenth birthday, he came into possession of his entire fortune of $7 million but was compelled to liquidate a plantation in order to pay his creditors. Supposedly he maintained an entire street of houses on what he called “Rue de l’Amour” to shelter his numerous mistresses....