James Henry Hammond

30th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1842 to 1844

Date Born: November 15, 1807

Date Died: November 13, 1864

Place Born: Newberry District, SC

Place Buried: Episcopal Churchyard, Beech Island, SC

Residence: Beech Island, SC

Occupation: Lawyer, Editor, General in SC Militia


South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated 1825

US House of Representatives: 1835-1836

Governor of South Carolina: 1842-1844

US Senate: 1857-1860

1830: Hammond founded The Southern Times

1853: Hammond published The Pro-Slavery Argument


James Henry Hammond (November 15, 1807 – November 13, 1864) was an attorney, politician, and planter from South Carolina. He was the son of Elisha and Catherine Fox Spann Hammond.

Hammond graduated from South Carolina College in 1825, going on to teach school, write for a newspaper and study law. He was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1828 and started a law practice in Columbia. He established a newspaper there in support of Nullification.

He served as a U.S. Representative from 1835 to 1836, Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844, and U.S. Senator from 1857 to 1860. He was considered one of the major spokesmen in favor of slavery in the years before the American Civil War.

Hammond secured his financial independence by marrying Catherine Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, who was a shy, plain 17-year-old with a substantial dowry, the daughter of Christopher Fitzsimmons. They had five known children. He became a wealthy man through this marriage and entered the planter class. He ultimately owned 22 square miles, a number of plantation homes, and more than 300 slaves in Aiken County, SC.

After his marriage, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a member of the Nullifier Party, serving from 1835 until his resignation the next year due to ill health. After spending two years in Europe, he returned to South Carolina and engaged in agricultural pursuits; managing his large holdings took much of his time.

Deeply interested in the militia of South Carolina, he became Brigadier General in 1841.

In 1842, he was elected as governor of South Carolina, serving until 1844. He proposed plans for the immediate liquidation of the state debt, he advised steps looking to a practical approximation of universal free trade, he systematized the first agricultural survey of the state, consolidated the two state arsenals at Charleston and Columbia into a military academy organized after West Point, urged that every district (county) create an academy of higher learning, and recommended the reduction and consolidation of state offices.

James Henry Hammond attended the first session of the Southern states convention at Nashville, TN, in 1850.

Without his knowledge, the legislature chose him for the U.S. Senate in 1857 following the death of Andrew Pickens Butler, and he served from 1857 until his resignation in 1860 in light of South Carolina's secession from the Union, which he was against. An outspoken defender of slavery and states' rights, Hammond coined the phrase "Cotton is King" in a speech before the U.S. Senate.

He was too infirm to take an active part in the war, but in July of 1861, he went to Richmond, VA to lay before the Confederate administration a plan to maintain the financial stability of the Confederacy by prohibiting the private export of cotton, paying for it in Confederate bonds and holding it at home and abroad as a basis of credit.

He died on November 13, 1864 at his home, Redcliffe Plantation in Aiken County, SC.


James Henry Hammond, (son-in-law of Wade Hampton [1752-1835], uncle of Wade Hampton [1818-1902]), a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from South Carolina; born in Newberry District, SC, November 15, 1807; graduated from the South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1825; taught school and wrote for a newspaper; studied law, admitted to the bar in 1828 and practiced law in Columbia; established a newspaper to support nullification; planter; elected as a Nullifier to the Twenty-fourth Congress in 1834 and served from March 4, 1835, until February 26, 1836, when he resigned because of ill health; spent two years in Europe; returned to South Carolina and engaged in agricultural pursuits; Governor of South Carolina 1842-1844; elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 1857 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Andrew P. Butler and served from December 7, 1857, to November 11, 1860, when he retired; died at Redcliffe Plantation, Beech Island, SC, November 13, 1864, and was buried in the Hammond Cemetery at Beech Island, SC.

<< Last Governor - John Peter Richardson

Next Governor - William Aiken >>



© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved