Barnabas Kelet Henagan

28th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1840

Date Born: June 7, 1798

[No Known Picture]

Date Died: January 10, 1855

Place Born: Near Brownsville, in Marlboro County, SC

Place Buried: Rogers Cemetery near Brownsville, SC

Residence: Marlboro District, SC

Occupation: Physician, Planter


South Carolina Senate: 1834-1838, 1844-1846

Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina: 1838-1840

Governor of South Carolina: 1840 (April to December)

South Carolina Secretary of State: 1846-1850

On April 17, 1840, Lt. Gov. Henagan led the SC government following the death of Gov. Patrick Calhoun Noble


Barnabas Kelet Henagan was a physician and South Carolina politician who became Governor due to the death of Gov. Patrick Calhoun Noble on April 7, 1840.

Henagan was born in Marlboro County on June 7, 1798 to Darby and Druscilla (Sweeney) Henegan. He was educated at the academies in Marlboro County and he went on to study medicine at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Afterwards he returned to South Carolina to practice medicine as a physician and he also engaged in planting. In 1826, he became the President of the Brownsville Minerva Academy.

On April 21, 1831, Barnabas Kelet Henagan married Mary Savage Gibson of Marion District, and they had ten known children. His wife died shortly after their last child was born on March 23, 1847. Henagan married a second time in 1851 to Anna Maria Wickham, daughter of Thomas T. Wickham and Ann (Shackelford) Wickham, and they had no issue.

In 1834, Barnabas Kelet Henagan was first elected to represent the Marlboro District in the SC Senate of the:
- 31st General Assembly that met from 1834-1835
- 32nd General Assembly that met from 1836-1838

In the last assembly above, he was elected by the legislature to be the next Lieutenant Governor under Gov. Patrick Calhoun Noble, and upon Noble's untimely death, he assumed the office of governor until the end of 1840. His term as governor lasted less than a year, but Henagan deplored to the legislature the poor condition of the public schools in the state and the corruption of the electoral process.

Sometime in the early 1840s, Henagan moved to Marion District, where he was first elected to the SC Senate again in the:
- 36th General Assembly that met from 1844-1845
- 37th General Assembly that met from 1846-1847

However, on December 2, 1846, the legislature elected him as the next Secretary of State for a four-year term, and he was forced to give up his seat in the Senate.

Barnabas Kelet Henagan died on January 10, 1855 in Charleston and was buried at Rogers Cemetery in Marlboro County near the town of Brownsville.


Born in what is now Marlboro County, South Carolina, Barnabas Kelet Henagan was both a planter and physician. He served as a trustee of South Carolina College from 1838 to 1840, as South Carolina Commissioner of Buildings, and as a member of the South Carolina Senate from 1834 to 1834. Elected Lieutenant Governor in 1838, he succeeded to the office of governor upon the death of Gov. Patrick Calhoun Noble. During his brief gubernatorial administration, Charleston's banks recovered sufficiently from the Panic of 1837 to resume specie payments. In addition, efforts to mend fences between those who had advocated the right of states to nullify federal laws (nullifers) and those who opposed nullification (unionists) were so successful that a unionist was elected governor. After leaving office, Henagan served as South Carolina's Secretary of State.

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