Franklin J. Moses, Jr.

45th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1872 to 1874

Date Born: 1838

Date Died: December 11, 1906

Place Born: Sumter District, SC

Place Buried: Winthrop, MA

Residence: Sumter, SC

Occupation: Lawyer, Newspaper Editor

South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) - withdrew 1855

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1868-

1872 – Many Republicans supported Reuben Tomlinson in the gubernatorial election as a result of rumors involving acceptance of bribes and misappropriation of state funds by Franklin J. Moses

1874 – Gov. Franklin J. Moses was indicted for misappropriation of state funds but the court ruled that he could not be prosecuted while governor

Moses was convicted of fraud and theft on numerous occasions after leaving office

Moses was disowned by his family as a result of his infamy

Frankin Israel Moses, Jr. was born in 1838, the son of Franklin Israel Moses and Jane Doreal (McLelland) Moses. Early in his father's life, his father and friends began substituting the initial "J" in place of his middle name Israel. This was handed down to the son as well.

His father was born and reared in a prominent Jewish family of Charleston of Iberian and German descent; and his Scots-Irish mother was a Methodist. Moses was raised as an Episcopalian and was never affiliated with Judaism, but he was widely regarded as Jewish, especially by political enemies. He enrolled at the South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) in 1855, but was honorably dismissed from the freshman class the same year. After reading law, Moses was admitted to the bar in South Carolina.

In 1860, he was appointed as the private secretary of Gov. Francis Wilkinson Pickens, a supporter of secession. In 1861, at the outbreak of the American Civil War, Franklin J. Moses, Jr. was commissioned as Colonel in the Confederate Army; he served as an enrolling officer for the Confederate Conscription Acts. Moses claimed to have personally lowered the United States flag from over Fort Sumter in 1861.

From June 1, 1866 to September 26, 1867, he was editor of The Sumter News, a conservative newspaper.

On December 20, 1869, Franklin J. Moses, Jr. married Emma Buford Richardson, daughter of James Sanders Guignard Richardson and Mary Plowden Wilder, and they had four known children.

In 1868, during Reconstruction, Franklin J. Moses, Jr. was elected for the statewide office of Adjutant and Inspector General on the Republican ticket. In addition, that same year, he was elected as one of eighteen men to represent Charleston County in the House of Representatives of the:
- 48th General Assembly that met from 1868-1870 - elected Speaker of the House
- 49th General Assembly that met from 1870-1872 - elected Speaker of the House

Also in 1868, his father Franklin J. Moses, Sr. was elected as Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court.

While Speaker of the House, Franklin J. Moses, Jr. organized a statewide militia. This 14,000-man body was composed mostly of freedmen and headed by white officers. He used them to protect black voters during a period of intimidation and violence by white paramilitary insurgents and the Ku Klux Klan leading up to the 1870 elections, and was not above trying to disrupt Democratic Party meetings and voters. In this period, as noted by historian Benjamin Ginsberg, "election outcomes depended as much upon the balance of armed force as upon the distribution of political popularity."

After the SC legislature appointed Moses as a Trustee for the University of South Carolina in 1869, he expressed his goal to integrate the state university in the face of white opposition. Moses encouraged admission of black students, and the college established a preparatory school and 5-year, pre-freshman program to help blacks make up for having been closed out of formal education.

In 1873, Henry E. Hayne, the Republican Secretary of State, was the first black student admitted to the University of South Carolina; he studied medicine. This notable event was covered by national media; the New York Times described the mixed-race Hayne, a former slave, “as white as any of his ancestors” (Hayne was a descendant of a white South Carolina statesman.) His racial classification alarmed some faculty sufficiently so that they resigned. Moses arranged for new hires. After Democrats regained control of the SC legislature in 1876, the General Assembly closed the institution. In 1877, the legislature passed a law restricting admission to whites and ending the preparatory programs. That year it authorized Claflin College in Orangeburg to serve the state's black students. No black students were admitted again to the University of South Carolina until 1963, many years after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional.

Franklin J. Moses, Jr. also supported social programs and the idea of publicly funded old-age pensions, as well as building a black militia in the state that helped protect freedmen in years of growing white insurgency to revive white supremacy

White Democrats accused the SC legislature of rampant corruption and bribery, but it was also investing in infrastructure, such as railroads, and public welfare institutions. The state debt in 1868 stood at $5,407,306 and by 1872 it had risen to $18,350,000, a tripling of the debt in just four years. As historian W.E.B. DuBois noted in his history, Black Reconstruction, one reason that debt increased in numerous Southern states was that Reconstruction legislatures were investing for public purposes; the planter elite had avoided such actions before the war; all education was private, there were few hospitals or other institutions, and the South was behind in investing in railroad construction to improve transportation. Du Bois also noted that corruption after the war was generally within limits of comparable periods and conditions.

When Franklin J. Moses, Jr. was nominated by the Republicans as the candidate for governor, opponents within the party organized to block his election. But with overwhelming black Republican support, Moses was elected in 1872 as the next governor of South Carolina. Gov. Moses and African Americans, formerly on the margins, created new alliances during this period. Serving with Moses were Francis Cardozo, Secretary of State and Robert De Large, elected as state Land Commissioner and later as a U.S. Representative, both of whom were mixed-race sons of enslaved mothers and free Jewish fathers.

Gov. Franklin J. Moses, Jr. became known for his extravagant use of state money. He spent $40,000 to buy the Preston Mansion to use as the official governor's residence. During his two years as governor, with a salary of $3,500, he spent $40,000 on living expenses, which included official entertaining. What really rankled many white Democrats was that he officially entertained black colleagues and politicians at the new Governor's Mansion.

In 1874, Governor Moses was indicted by allies of Wade Hampton III for misappropriation of state funds. Democrat Hampton would run for governor in 1876 and finally win the election, amidst evidence of vote fraud and preceded by numerous violent attacks against freedmen by paramilitary white groups supporting his candidacy. Moses ordered four companies of the militia in Columbia to prevent his arrest by the Democrats. The court ruled that Moses could not be prosecuted while governor and could be charged only through impeachment by the state legislature. Reminder, his father Franklin J. Moses, Sr. had served since 1868 as Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court.

Historian Benjamin Ginsberg's 21st-century biography notes that Franklin J. Moses, Jr. also had substantial achievements in civil rights goals for African Americans. He considers Moses to be a forerunner of what became an African-American and Jewish alliances in the 20th century. He believes that as Moses was on the margin of planter society, he chose to ally with the newly enfranchised freedmen in trying to create a new society.

Upon leaving office in 1874, Moses was chosen by the SC legislature to a seat on the Circuit Court, but Republican Gov. Daniel Henry Chamberlain blocked his appointment and it was opposed by many within the party because of his reputation for corruption while serving as governor.

In 1876, the Democrats regained control of state politics in the legislature and with the victory of Wade Hampton III as governor who, even with fraud, won with less than a 1,200-vote margin statewide. For example, heavily contested Edgefield and Laurens counties each counted more votes for Hampton than the total number of registered voters. With the withdrawal of Federal troops from the state and other parts of the South in 1877, in a compromise supporting Hampton, the Reconstruction era was over.

Moses' wife, Emma Buford Richardson, filed for divorce in 1878, and Moses left the state shortly thereafter.

He had a troubled later life. On September 17, 1878, he was arrested in New York City for forging a note of $316. He was delivered to authorities in South Carolina, who allowed him to escape. He was arrested again for fraud in New York City in 1881, and in Chicago in 1884.

Franklin J. Moses, Jr. settled in Winthrop, MA, and became the editor of the local newspaper as well as the moderator of the town meetings. In October of 1884, he was accused of swindling $15 from a Rev. E. L. Rexford, and, during his imprisonment, tried to hang himself in his cell. He was sentenced to three years in the Massachusetts State Prison in 1885 for committing petty theft and fraud several times. Believing that Moses did not have long to live, as his drug addictions had ruined his health, Gov. Oliver Ames pardoned him in 1887.

Although estranged from his family, Franklin J. Moses, Jr. lived for twenty more years, dying on December 11, 1906. He was buried in Winthrop, MA.

Franklin J. Moses, Jr. (born Franklin Israel Moses, Jr.) was born in Sumter District, SC. He attended South Carolina College and went on to study law, winning admission to the South Carolina bar. He was appointed private secretary to SC Gov. Francis Wilkinson Pickens in 1860. During the American Civil War he was appointed an enrolling officer under the Confederate Conscription Act, holding the rank of Colonel. He edited the Sumter News from 1866 to 1867, and was elected a vestryman of the Sumter Episcopal Church in 1867. He was a delegate to the 1866 South Carolina Convention called to endorse President Andrew Johnson and was elected to the SC House of Representatives in 1867, at the same time serving as Adjutant and Inspector General of the state's armed forces and as a Trustee of the State University. Although surrounded by charges that he misappropriated state funds and accepted bribes and committed indiscretions in his private life, he was elected Governor in the fall of 1872. South Carolina's credit during his gubernatorial term reached an alarming state of insecurity, which the legislature--called into session by Gov. Moses--resolved by simply annulling nearly $6 million worth of recent bonds, forcing bond holders to accept 6 percent interest. After a second state Taxpayers' Convention met in 1874 and asked Congress for relief, Gov. Moses was indicted but escaped trial by winning a legal ruling that he could not be prosecuted while in office. He was not renominated for a second term and was denied a seat as Circuit Judge by his gubernatorial successor despite having been elected to the position by the state legislature. He later succumbed to drug addiction and was convicted several times of petty fraud and theft but was pardoned.

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