Andrew Gordon Magrath

41st Governor of the State of South Carolina 1864 to 1865

Date Born: February 8, 1813

Date Died: April 9, 1893

Place Born: Charleston, SC

Place Buried: Charleston, SC

Residence: Charleston, SC

Occupation:
Lawyer, Judge


South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated 1831

Harvard University Law School

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1838-1841

South Carolina Secretary of State, 1860-1862

Governor of South Carolina: 1864-1865

Magrath was the last South Carolina governor to be elected by the legislature and by secret ballot

Magrath was the last Confederate governor of South Carolina

February, 1865 – Columbia and Charleston were occupied by Union forces

May 28, 1865 – Governor Magrath's term ended when he was deposed by Union authorities

Federal authorities imprisoned Magrath after removing him from office


Born in Charleston on February 8, 1813, Andrew Gordon Magrath was the son of John and Maria (Gordon) Magrath. He received a preliminary education at Bishop England's school, then he graduated from South Carolina College in 1831. His legal studies began with Hon. James L. Petigru and continued under Judge Story at Harvard Law School. Magrath was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1835, and entered private practice in Charleston.

In 1838, Andrew Gordon Magrath was first elected to represent St. Philip's & St. Michael's Parish in the House of Representatives of the:
- 33rd General Assembly that met from 1838-1839
- 34th General Assembly that met from 1840-1841

He thereafter remained in private law practice in Charleston until 1856. Andrew Gordon Magrath married Emma Camilla Mikell on March 18, 1843, and they had nine children. He married a second time in 1865 to Mary E. Cord of Columbia.

On May 9, 1856, Magrath was nominated by President Franklin Pierce to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina vacated by Robert Budd Gilchrist. Magrath was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 12, 1856, and received his commission the same day. It was there that he asserted Southern supremacy by striking down a piracy statute on the slave trade. It was Judge Andrew Gordon Magrath who stated: "The time for deliberation has passed; the time for action has come!" Magrath resigned his judgeship when Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 to the presidency.

Upon his resignation, he was at once elected as a delegate to the SC Convention, which, on December 20, 1860 passed the first Ordinance of Secession. While a member of this body, he was selected by Gov. Francis Wilkinson Pickens as the Secretary of State 1860-1862.

In 1862, Magrath was appointed by President Jefferson Davis as a Confederate District Judge and on the bench he was noted for his opposition to the centralization of power by the Confederate government in Richmond.

The SC General Assembly elected Magrath in December of 1864 to be the next Governor of South Carolina and he was inaugurated in Columbia on December 20th, as Union troops were beginning their siege of the city. He served for less than a year as governor and he was critical of continuing the struggle in the face of overwhelming Union forces. The Union Army arrested him on May 25, 1865 and sent him to Fort Pulaski in Georgia for imprisonment. Magrath was released on parole in December of 1865.

Upon his return to South Carolina he resumed the practice of law in Charleston, and soon re-established himself among the leading attorneys in the state.

On April 9, 1893, Andrew Gordon Magrath died in Charleston and was buried at Magnolia Cemetery.


The last South Carolina to be elected by the state legislature, Andrew Gordon Magrath was born in Charleston, SC. After graduating from South Carolina College, he attended Harvard University Law School and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1835, going on to engage in the private practice of law. He was elected to the SC House of Representatives twice, after which he was appointed U.S. Judge for South Carolina by President Franklin Pierce. He was a member of the SC Secession Convention of 1860 and served as Secretary of State during the administration of Gov. Francis Wilkinson Pickens. He was Confederate States Judge for South Carolina until 1864, when he was elected governor. He served as chief executive during the final days of the American Civil War when Federal troops under William T. Sherman crossed South Carolina on their march to the sea. Magrath was deposed by Federal authorities on May 28, 1865 and imprisoned for seven months, returning to the practice of law after his release.

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