John Lyde Wilson

19th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1822 to 1824

Date Born: May 24, 1784

Date Died: February 13, 1849

Place Born: Cheraws District (Marlboro County), SC

Place Buried: St. Paul's Church in Charleston, SC

Residence: Georgetown

Occupation: Lawyer, Author, Lieutenant in SC Militia


Studied law in Baltimore, MD

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1806-1808, 1812-1817

South Carolina Senate: 1818-1822, 1826-1829

Wilson authored The Code of Honor, a manual for dueling that outlined rules of conduct for duelists, seconds, and all other participants in duels - published in 1838


John Lyde Wilson was born on May 24, 1784, the son of John Wilson and Mary (Lyde) Wilson. Born in the Cheraws District (what became Marlboro County), Wilson studied law under Samuel Chase in Baltimore and was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1807. He practiced law with Joseph Alston in Georgetown and became active in South Carolina politics.

In 1806, he was elected to represent the Marlboro District in the House of Representatives of the 17th General Assembly that met from 1806-1808.

On December 31, 1809, John Lyde Wison married Charlotte, daughter of William Alston and Mary (Ashe) Alston. They had two daughters. He married a second time to Rebecca Eden of New York in October of 1825. They had two daughters and one son.

In 1810, the Georgetown District (aka Prince George's, Winyah Parish) elected him, but this election was declared null and void and in a re-election the seat was given to John Mann Taylor.

In 1812, he was again elected to represent the Georgetown District (aka Prince George's, Winyah Parish) in the House of Representatives of the
- 20th General Assembly that met from 1812-1813
- 22nd General Assembly that met from 1816-1817

In 1818, John Lyde Wilson was elected to represent the Georgetown District in the SC Senate of the:
- 23rd General Assembly that met from 1818-1819
- 24th General Assembly that met from 1820-1821
- 25th General Assembly that met from 1822-1823 - elected President of the Senate

In this last assembly, the legislature elected John Lyde Wilson as the next governor of South Carolina on December 7, 1822, and he had to give up his seat on the Senate and as President of the Senate. He served for two years.

Gov. John Lyde Wilson believed in states' rights and assailed the U.S. Congress for carrying out internal improvements as a result of revenues brought in by the tariff of 1824. During his term as governor, Wilson advocated the humane reform of the Negro Laws and backed the incorporation of the Medical College of South Carolina in 1823. As governor, he also continued an earlier battle with the Court of Appeals in Equity and was ultimately successful in having this court abolished in 1824. However, he neglected the financial side of things while in office and was threatened with impeachment by Thomas S. Grimké before he finally accounted for his contingency funds. Having felt that his honor had been impugned, Wilson challenged Grimké to a duel. However, both sides agreed to "set aside their Differences" when the contingency funds were accounted for.

In 1826, John Lyde Wilson was again elected to represent the Georgetown Distict in the SC Senate of the:
- 27th General Assembly that met from 1826-1828
- 28th General Assembly that met from 1828-1829

In 1832, Wilson was elected to represent St. Philip's & St. Michael's Parish in the Nullification Convention and was firmly committed to secession. He additionally served as a leader of a Lynching Club which acted as a vigilante group to enforce the law and maintain Southern sensibilities. When a mob went to the Charleston post office in 1835 to confiscate mail containing abolitionist literature, Wilson supported their efforts and endorsed their actions.

Based mostly on personal experience, Wilson penned The Code of Honor in 1838 which described a set of guidelines for duelists and he argued that it would save lives instead of encouraging duels.

Wilson died on February 13, 1849 and was buried at St. Paul's Church in Charleston.


<< Last Governor - Thomas Bennett, Jr.

Next Governor - Richard Irvine Manning >>



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