John Geddes

17th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1818 to 1820

Date Born: December 25, 1777

[No Known Picture]

Date Died: March 4, 1828

Place Born: Charleston, SC

Place Buried: Scotch Presbyterian Churchyard in Charleston, SC

Residence: Charleston, SC    

Occupation: Lawyer, Brigadier
General of SC Militia

South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina)

South Carolina House of Representatives, 1808-1816

South Carolina Senate, 1816-1818

Geddes returned to the South Carolina Militia after leaving office.

Born on December 25, 1777 in Charlestown, John Geddes was the son of Henry Geddes, a merchant, and received his education at the College of Charleston. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar on October 3, 1797. He married Harriet, daughter of Gilbert Chalmers, on May 30, 1798. She died on January 5, 1803. Geddes then married Anne Chalmers on March 28, 1805. She died on August 29, 1806. He was the father of three known children.

Afterwards, Geddes became active with the South Carolina Militia as a Cavalry Major and later as a Brigadier General.

In 1808, John Geddes was first elected to represent St. Philip's & St. Michael's Parish in the House of Representatives of the:
- 18th General Assembly that met from 1808-1809
- 19th General Assembly that met from 1810-1812 - elected as Speaker of the House
- 20th General Assembly that met from 1812-1813 - elected as Speaker of the House
- 21st General Assembly that met from 1814-1815

In 1816, he was elected to represent St. Philip's & St. Michael's Paris in the SC Senate of the:
- 22nd General Assembly that met from 1816-1817
- 23rd General Assembly that met from 1818-1819

On December 8, 1818, the legislature elected John Geddes to be the next governor of South Carolina for a two-year term because of his strong Republican views. Gov. John Geddes lavishly entertained President James Monroe upon his visit to Charleston.

Upon leaving the governorship in 1820, Geddes was given the position of Brigadier General of the South Carolina militia, which he retained until his death in 1828.

In 1821, he purchased the island of Key West, Florida from a sloop trader, but could not secure the rights of the island before John W. Simonton, who also claimed the island and was helped by some influential friends in Washington, DC.

He remained active in politics and ran for Intendant (mayor) of Charleston in 1823, serving from 1823 to 1824. He also held many other public posts before and after being governor.

Having felt that his honor was insulted by Edward P. Simons during one campaign, Geddes challenged Simons to a duel. Simons managed to fire four shots, two hitting Geddes' son in both of his thighs, but the duel resulted in Simons' death.

John Geddes died in Charleston on March 4, 1828 and was buried at the Scots Presbyterian Churchyard.

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