Thomas Bothwell Jeter

49th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1880

Date Born: October 13, 1827

Date Died: May 20, 1883

Place Born: Union District, SC

Place Buried: Unknown

Residence: Union District/ County, SC

Occupation: Lawyer


South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated 1846

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1856-1857

South Carolina Senate: 1872-1882

1879 – When Lieutenant Governor William Dunlap Simpson became governor following Governor Wade Hampton's resignation, President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate Jeter became next in line of succession

1880 – William Dunlap Simpson resigned from office causing Jeter, as President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate, to become governor

1880 – Thomas Bothwell Jeter served as governor for only three months


The son of John Crosby Jeter and Elizabeth (Gaulman) Jeter, born on October 13, 1827 in Santuc, SC, five miles north of Carlisle in the Union District, Thomas Bothwell Jeter attended and graduated from South Carolina College in 1846. After studying law under Andrew Wallace Thomson, he was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1848, and then practiced law in the upcountry with his mentor and new partner, Andrew Wallace Thomson.

In January of 1861, Thomas Bothwell Jeter was made President of the Union & Spartanburg Railroad (U&S RR), which re-organized in 1870 as the Spartanburg & Union Railroad (S&U RR), and was immediately acquired by the Greenville & Columbia Railroad (G&C RR), also in 1870. He was president until 1873.

In 1856, Thomas Bothwell Jeter was elected to represent the Union District in the House of Representatives of the:
- 42nd General Assembly that met from 1856-1857

On February 4, 1857, Thomas Bothwell Jeter married Ann Henderson Thomson, daughter of his law partner, Andrew Wallace Thomson and Nancy (Henderson) Thomson. They had no children.

With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Thomas Bothwell Jeter volunteered for service in the Confederate Army and was made a captain of infantry.

After the war, Jeter resumed his law practice in the Union District (soon renamed Union County).

In 1872, he was first elected to represent Union County in the SC Senate of the:
- 50th General Assembly that met from 1872-1874
- 51st General Assembly that met from 1874-1876
- 52nd General Assembly that met from 1876-1878 - elected President Pro Tempore after S. Swails resigned
- 53rd General Assembly that met from 1878-1880 - elected President Pro Tempore
- 54th General Assembly that met from 1880-1882

In the last assembly above, Thomas Bothwell Jeter served as SC Governor from September 1, 1880 to November 30, 1880, when Johnson Hagood was elected by the population. Jeter then resumed his seat in the SC Senate.

Wade Hampton had won re-election in 1878 for another two-year term, but did not finish the term because he resigned in 1879 after being elected to the U.S. Senate. Lt. Governor William Dunlap Simpson succeeded Hampton and Jeter succeeded Simpson as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and became the Lieutenant Governor. When Gov. William Dunlap Simpson resigned on September 1, 1880 after his appointment to be Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court, Thomas Bothwell Jeter became the next governor of South Carolina and served for three months.

In 1882, Thomas Bothwell Jeter was appointed to the newly-created South Carolina Railroad Commission and served until his death on May 20, 1883. He was buried at Forestlawn Cemetery in Union.


Thomas Bothwell Jeter was born in the Union District, South Carolina. After graduating from South Carolina College in 1846, he studied law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1848. In addition to practicing law, he was President of Spartanburg and Union Railroad for more than a decade. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1856 and a member of the South Carolina Senate from 1872 to 1882. As President Pro Tempore of the Senate in 1880 when Governor Wade Hampton, III left office after being elected to the U.S. Senate, he became Lieutenant Governor, and in turn took over the governorship when governor William Dunlap Simpson resigned, holding office until the inauguration of newly-elected governor Johnson Hagood. Jeter went on to serve on the South Carolina Railroad Commission from 1882 until his death.

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