John Taylor

21st Governor of the State of South Carolina 1826 to 1828

Date Born: May 4, 1770

 

Date Died: April 16, 1832

Place Born: Camden District (Granby), SC

Place Buried: Columbia, SC

Residence: Columbia, SC

Occupation: Lawyer, Planter


College of New Jersey (now Princeton University): Graduated 1790

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1793-1802, 1804-1805

US House of Representatives: 1807-1810

US Senate: 1810-1816

South Carolina Senate: 1818-1826

Gov. John Taylor was related to two US Presidents: James Madison and Zachary Taylor


John Taylor was born on May 4, 1770 in the Camden District near Granby, SC, the son of Thomas Taylor and Ann (Wyche) Taylor. He attended Mount Zion Institute in Winnsboro, and graduated in 1790 from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). He returned to South Carolina and studied law under Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in Charleston and was admitted to the SC Bar on June 1, 1793. He opened his law practice in Columbia but eventually pursued his farming interests.

On March 17, 1793, John Taylor married Sarah Cantey Chestnut, daughter of John Chestnut and Sarah (Cantey) Chestnut. They had sixteen known children.

Following a special election, he represented the Saxe Gotha District in the House of Representatives of the:
- 10th General Assembly that met from 1792-1794

In 1794, John Taylor was first elected to represent Richland County in the House of Representatives of the:
- 11th General Assembly that met from 1794-1795
- 12th General Assembly that met from 1796-1797
- 13th General Assembly that met from 1798-1799
- 14th General Assembly that met from 1800-1801 (renamed Richland District)

In 1804, he was again elected to represent the Saxe Gotha District in the House of Representatives of the:
- 16th General Assembly that met from 1804-1805

On December 6, 1806, John Taylor was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1807, and served there until he became a U.S. Senator in 1810, filling the vacancy left by Thomas Sumter on December 19, 1810. He was elected to serve a full term beginning in 1811. As senator, he was known for his especially persuasible personality. While also serving the senate, he developed the first version of what is now known as the Taylor foundation. This foundation is a gathering of aspiring politicians to come together and talk and help each other. But soon afterwards he left federal service in 1816 and returned to his home state to become a South Carolina state senator.

In 1818, he was elected to represent Richland 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
- 26th General Assembly that met from 1824-1825

Although he was defeated for re-election to the SC Senate, on December 9, 1826, the legislature elected him to be the next governor of South Carolina, and served two years, until December 10, 1828.

As a U.S. Senator and as governor, John Taylor fully embraced "states rights" and generally opposed the nationalism of John C. Calhoun. During his term as governor, the state suffered greatly financially as Taylor urged financial prudence. He favored the Unionist view on Nullification and advocated legal means to overcome the federal tariff. He refused to call a special session of the legislature to discuss the question of the federal tariff (1828) and opposed the idea of South Carolina acting without the support of other southern states.

John Taylor also served as a Trustee of South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) and as Director of the Columbia Theological Seminary, as well as many other public posts. Interested in education, he promoted the formation of the Columbia Female Academy and donated land for the Columbia Male Academy.

He died on April 16, 1832 in Camden, SC and was buried in the family cemetery in Columbia, SC.


Taylor, John, a Representative and a Senator from South Carolina; born near Granby, S.C., May 4, 1770; attended Mount Zion Institute, Winnsboro, SC, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1790; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1793 and commenced practice in Columbia, SC; also engaged in planting; member, State House of Representatives 1792-1801, 1804-1805; circuit court solicitor 1805-1806; served as first Intendant (mayor) of Columbia 1806-1807; elected as a Democratic Republican to the Tenth and Eleventh Congresses and served from March 4, 1807, until his resignation on December 30, 1810; elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate on December 19, 1810, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas Sumter; was also elected on December 20, 1810, for the full term beginning March 4, 1811, and served from December 31, 1810, until his resignation in November 1816; member, State Senate 1818-1825; Governor of South Carolina 1826-1828; trustee of South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia and director of the Columbia Theological Seminary (Presbyterian); died at Camden, Kershaw County, SC, April 16, 1832; interment in the family burial ground at Columbia, SC.

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