John Hugh Means

34th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1850 to 1852

Date Born: August 18, 1812

Date Died: August 29, 1862

Place Born: Fairfield District, SC

Place Buried: Unknown

Residence: Fairfield District, SC

Occupation: Planter,
Brigadier General in SC Militia, Colonel in Confederate Army


Mount Zion College - Winnsboro, South Carolina

South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated 1832

1860 – Means signed the Ordinance of Secession - the first official act of the Civil War

1862 – Means died in the Second Battle of Bull Run while serving in the Confederate States Army


John Hugh Means was born on August 18, 1812 in the Fairfield District, the son of Thomas and Sarah (Milling) Means. He was educated at Mount Zion College in Winnsboro and he graduated from South Carolina College in 1832. After graduation, he settled in Fairfield District, not far from his birthplace, where he engaged in planting for the remainder of this life.

John Hugh Means was married on January 24, 1833 to Sarah Rebecca Stark, daughter of Robert Stark of Columbia, SC. They had one daughter and one son.

An strong advocate of the development of South Carolina's military via training and education, he was soon appointed a Brigadier General in the militia.

His outspoken support of States' rights led him to his election in the General Assembly. During the agitation of secession in the decade prior to the Civil War, Means was elected in 1850 as Governor of South Carolina by the General Assembly, with Lieutenant Governor Joshua John Ward. He presided over a state convention in 1852 that passed a resolution stating that South Carolina had the right to secede if the Federal government sought in any way to disturb the institution of slavery. Furthermore, Means prepared the state for war by increasing the funding of the state militia.

Means signed the Ordinance of Secession in 1860 and enrolled in the Confederate Army being elected to Colonel of the 17th South Carolina Infantry. The regiment saw action in Virginia at the battles of Malvern Hill during the Peninsula Campaign and then at the Rappahannock Station in prelude to the Second Battle of Manassas. As a part of Longstreets corps, the 17th Regiment arrived at 11 a.m. on August 29 to repulse an attack by Pope on the Confederates' right flank. After stopping the Union forces, the Confederates counterattacked and Means was killed in the fighting on August 29th.


John Hugh Means was born in Fairfield District, South Carolina. He attended Mount Zion College in Winnsboro, SC and graduated from South Carolina College in 1832. During his gubernatorial administration, an election was held to select a delegation to a state convention organized to consider secession from the Union. The convention voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession, but in a statewide election held in 1851, the citizens of South Carolina voted against secession unless it was supported by the rest of the South. After leaving office, Means was a delegate to the South Carolina Secession Convention held in 1860. During the Civil War, he held the rank of Colonel in the Confederate Army and was killed at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Virginia.

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