Henry Middleton

13th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1810 to 1812

Date Born: September 28, 1770

Date Died: June 14, 1846

Place Born: London, England

Place Buried: Middleton Place near Charleston, SC

Residence: Charleston, SC

Occupation: Planter, Politician


Tutored in the classics at his family's plantation, Middleton Place; also studied for a year in England (returned to Charleston in 1787).

South Carolina House of Representatives, 1802-1810
South Carolina Senate, 1810
US House of Representatives, 1815-1819
US Minister to Russia, 1820-1830

Middleton's grandfather, also named Henry Middleton, was the second president of the Continental Congress from October 22, 1774 through October 26, 1774.

Middleton's father, Arthur Middleton – also a member of the Continental Congress – signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.


Henry Middleton was born in London, England on September 28, 1770, the son of Arthur Middleton and Mary (Izard) Middleton, who were then traveling in Europe, and returned a year later to South Carolina. He pursued classical studies with tutors at his father’s estate, “Middleton Place,” on the Ashley River near Charles Town, SC, with a year in England. He returned to America after his father’s death in 1787.

He again returned to England in the early 1790s and resided at Clifton, Gloucestershire until his return to Charleston in 1800, and then engaged in planting in South Carolina.

In 1802, Henry Middleton was first elected to represent St. Philip's & St. Michael's Parish in the House of representatives of the:
- 15th General Assembly that met from 1802-1804
- 16th General Assembly that met from 1804-1805
- 17th General Assembly that met from 1806-1808
- 18th General Assembly that met from 1808-1809

In 1810, he was elected to represent St. Philip's & St. Michael's Parish in the SC Senate of the:
- 19th General Assembly that met from 1810-1812

But he was elected by the legislature to be the next governor of South Carolina on December 8, 1810, and he had to give up his seat in the Senate. As governor, he served one term for two years. During his term, the legislature overwhelmingly passed an Act establishing free schools in each district and parish, marking the true beginning of free schools in South Carolina.

Henry Middleton was then elected as a Republican to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth U.S. Congresses (March 4, 1815-March 3, 1819); he was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1818.

President James Monroe appointed him Minister to Russia from April 6, 1820, to August 3, 1830. During this service, he became acquainted with the most distinguished men of Europe, and his polished and popular manners won him many intimate friends from all around the world, including Czar Nicholas I.

Upon his return to the state, Henry Middleton became a leader of the Union Party of South Carolina and vice president of the Union Convention in 1832 and did much to limit the spread of the nullification doctrine.

Henry Middleton married Mary Helen, daughter of Capt. Julius Hering of Heybridge Hall, England, at Bath, England on November 13, 1794. They had seven sons (one died in infancy) and five daughters.

He died in Charleston, SC on June 14, 1846, was afforded a public funeral with military honors, and buried in the family mausoleum at “Middleton Place,” near Charleston, SC.


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