Richard Manning Jefferies

71st Governor of the State of South Carolina 1942 to 1943

Date Born: February 27, 1889

Date Died: April 20, 1964

Place Born: Union County, SC

Place Buried: Live Oak Cemetery in Walterboro, SC

Residence: Walterboro, Colleton County, SC

Occupation: Lawyer, Teacher, Newspaper Editor


University of South Carolina, A.B: 1910; Honorary LL.D: 1960

Clemson University, Honorary LL.D.: 1964, awarded posthumously

South Carolina Senate: 1927-1958

President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate: 1941-1942

On March 2, 1942, as President Pro Tempore of the SC Senate, Jefferies succeeded to the office of governor following the death of Gov. Joseph Emile Harley and served ten months


Richard Manning Jefferies was born on February 27, 1889 at Star Farm in Union (what later became Cherokee) County, SC, the son of John Randolph Jefferies and Mary Henrietta (Allen) Jefferies. Initially educated in the Gaffney schools, he attended the University of South Carolina and graduated in 1910.

After college, Jefferies moved to Jasper County and settled down as a teacher in Ridgeland, SC. He was also the editor of the Jasper Herald (c1910-1912) and Superintendent of Education for Jasper County (1911-1913).

On July 26, 1911, Richard Manning Jefferies married Annie Keith Savage, daughter of C.A. Savage and India D. (Dunwoody) Savage of Walterboro, SC. They had two children.

He also studied law under James Eldred Peurifoy in Walterboro, was admitted to the South Carolina bar on December 6, 1912, and he subsequently moved to Walterboro and established the law partnership, Jefferies and Lemacks. Jefferies was the editor of The Walterboro Press and Standard from 1913 to 1914.

Public office began with Jefferies' service as Master in Equity (1913-1919) and Probate Judge for Colleton County (1919-1926). In 1926, Richard Manning Jefferies was first elected to represent Colleton County in the SC Senate of the:
- 77th General Assembly that met from 1927-1928
- 78th General Assembly that met from 1929-1930
- 79th General Assembly that met from 1931-1932
- 80th General Assembly that met from 1933-1934
- 81st General Assembly that met from 1935-1936
- 82nd General Assembly that met from 1937-1938
- 83rd General Assembly that met from 1939-1940
- 84th General Assembly that met from 1941-1942 - elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate
- 85th General Assembly that met from 1943-1944
- 86th General Assembly that met from 1945-1946
- 87th General Assembly that met from 1947-1948
- 88th General Assembly that met from 1949-1950
- 89th General Assembly that met from 1951-1952
- 90th General Assembly that met from 1953-1954
- 91st General Assembly that met from 1955-1956
- 92nd General Assembly that met from 1957-1958

On March 2, 1942, Richard Manning Jefferies, as President Pro Tempore of the SC Senate, succeeded to the office of Governor of South Carolina upon the death of Gov. Joseph Emile Harley. As governor, Jefferies guided South Carolina in economic and military matters in the middle of World War II. Declining to seek election to the governorship in 1942, instead, he sought re-election to the SC Senate and returned to that body after leaving the governor's office on January 19, 1943. He retired from the SC Senate after being defeated for renomination in the 1958 Democratic Primary.

Richard Manning Jefferies also held the following offices and memberships:
- Democratic Executive Committee member (1918-1922)
- Alternate Delegate (1924) and Delegate (1928, 1932, 1940, 1944, 1956, 1960) to Democratic Convention
- Grand Chancellor (1927-1928) and Supreme Representive of the Grand Lodge of the Knights of Pythias
- Ex Officio Trustee of the University of South Carolina (1933-1935)
- Ex Officio Trustee of Winthrop College (1933-1940)
- Delegate for Colleton County to the SC Democratic Convention (1958, 1962)

Jefferies was a member of the Woodmen of the World, Masons, Shriners, Lions Club, and the Junior Order United American Mechanics. He received honorary doctor of law degrees from the University of South Carolina (1960) and Clemson University (1964, posthumously).

Suffering from complications resulting from chronic lung infection, Richard Manning Jefferies died on April 20, 1964 in Charleston. He was buried in Live Oak Cemetery in Walterboro, SC.


Richard Manning Jefferies was born in Union County, SC. He received an A.B. degree from the University of South Carolina in 1910, studied law, and was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1912. While a student, he taught school himself. In addition to going on to the practice of law, he was a newspaper editor for several years, Jasper County Superintendent (1912), a member of the SC Democratic Executive Committee (1912), and Master in Equity and Probate Judge in Colleton County (1913-1927). He was a member of the SC Senate for 32 years--two of them as President Pro Tempore. In accordance with the SC Constitution, upon the death of Joseph E. Harley -- who as Lieutenant Governor had succeeded to the governorship pursuant to the resignation of Gov. Burnet Rhett Maybank -- Jeffries as Senate President Pro Tempore assumed the governorship himself. During Jeffries' brief tenure as governor, South Carolina was on a war footing, and twice in 1942 German submarines placed mines in Charleston harbor. When Gov. Olin Dewitt Talmadge Johnston was inaugurated, Jeffries returned to the state legislature. He chaired the SC War Fund from 1943 to 1946 and was director of the Fund in 1944 and 1945. He was a member of the Democratic National Platform Committee in 1956 and 1960 and a member of the SC Tax Study Commission. From 1944 until his death in 1964, he served as General Manager of the South Carolina Public Service Authority, on which he had begun serving as General Counsel in 1934.

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