Wade Hampton, III

47th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1877 to 1879

Date Born: March 28, 1818

Date Died: April 11, 1902

Place Born: Charleston, SC

Place Buried: Trinity Episcopal Churchyard, Columbia, SC

Residence: Richland District/County, SC

Occupation: Planter, Colonel, Brig. General, Maj. General, Lt. General in Confederate Army

South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina): Graduated 1836

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1852-1858

South Carolina Senate: 1858-1861

South Carolina Governor: 1877-1879

1879 – Hampton was seriously injured in a hunting accident

1879 – Governor Hampton resigned as governor to become a U.S. Senator

U.S. Senate: 1879-1890

Hampton County was named for Wade Hampton, III

Statues of Gov. Wade Hampton, III have been erected at both the South Carolina Capitol and the U.S. Capitol

The Wade Hampton building at the University of South Carolina was named for Wade Hampton, III

Wade Hampton, III, son of Wade Hampton and Ann (Fitzsimons) Hampton, was born on March 28, 1818 in Charleston, SC. Inititially educated at Rice Creek and Columbia academies, he attended the South Carolina College from which he graduated in 1836. He studied law but was never admitted to the bar. Instead, he chose to pursue his many planting and outdoor interests. Hampton was an avid sportsman and had the reputation of an excellent horseman, fisherman, and hunter.

From one of the richest families of the antebellum South, Wade Hampton, III owned (or managed for his siblings) numerous plantations in South Carolina and in Mississippi. His property included Sand Hills, Millwood, and Diamond Hill in the Richland District of South Carolina; Willd Woods, Bayou Place, Richland, Otterbourne, and Bear Garden in Washington County, Mississippi; Walnut Ridge Plantation in Issaquena County, Mississippi; and, an interst in the family summer home and hunting lodge in Cashiers Valley, North Carolina.

On October 10, 1838, Wade Hampton, III married Margaret Frances Preston, daughter of Francis Smith Preston and Sarah Buchanan (Campbell) Preston of Virginia, and they had five children. Hampton married a second time on January 27, 1858, to Mary Singleton McDuffie, daughter of former governor George McDuffie and Mary Rebecca (Singleton) McDuffie. They had four children.

In 1852, Wade Hampton, III was first elected to represent the Richland District in the House of Representatives of the:
- 40th General Assembly that met from 1852-1853
- 41st General Assembly that met from 1854-1855
- 42nd General Assembly that met from 1856-1857

In 1858, he was first elected to represent the Richland District in the SC Senate of the:
- 43rd General Assembly that met from 1858-1859
- 44th General Assembly that met from 1860-1861

In the last assembly above, Wade Hampton, III resigned his senate seat on October 8, 1861 to join the Confederate Army, having accepted a colonel's commission on June 12, 1861.

Professionally untrained, Wade Hampton, III had a long and distinguished military career. At his own expense, he raised a force of over 1,000 men, including men of infantry, artillery, and cavalry units, named the Hampton Legion. This group was recognized by his contemporaries "as the elite of the regiments... and as a corps of gentlemen soldiers, they were perfect in every appearance."

The Hampton Legion reported to the Army of Northern Virginia in late June of 1861, and they saw action at the battles of First Bull Run, Seven Pines, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Tevillian's Station, Sappony Church, and Burgess Mill. Hampton was wounded at Bull Run, Seven Pines, and three times at Gettysburg.

Wade Hampton, III was promoted to Brigadier General on on May 23, 1862, then to Major General on August 3, 1863, where he was second in command to Gen. J.E.B. Stuart until the latter's death on May 12, 1864. In August of 1864, Hampton became chief of the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. After returning to South Carolina in January of 1865 for more recruits and supplies, he was ordered to cover Gen. Joseph E. Johnson's retreat from Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's advancing forces. Soon thereafter, he was promoted to Lieutenant General on January 14, 1865.

On February 17, 1865, Hampton evacuated Columbia as Sherman entered the capital. Unwilling to concede defeat in the waning days of the American Civil War, Hampton approached President Jefferson Davis with a plan that would include taking the cavalry to Texas and continuing the fight from there. Since he was not present when Gen. Johnson surrendered in North Carolina on April 26, 1865, he considered himself free to follow President Davis in retreat. However, he was unable to connect with Davis and soon thereafter returned home and accepted the war's end.

Reconciled with the new reality, Wade Hampton, III supported President Andrew Johnson's plans for Reconstruction and urged his friends and neighbors to do the same. Since he was an ex-Confederate officer, Hampton was ineligible to hold any public office during Reconstruction. In 1865, his name was submitted for the governorship anyway, and he narrowly lost the election to Gov. James Lawrence Orr.

As the Reconstruction process evolved more radical with each passing month, Hampton began to protest on the state and national levels. A delegate at large for South Carolina at the national Democratic Convention on July 4, 1868, he served on the committee on resolutions and was instrumental in the inclusion of a party platform which declared the Reconstruction Acts unconstitutional.

For the next two years, he devoted himself to personal affiars. On May 22, 1872, he received a full pardon for his involvement as an officer of the Condederate Army, and by 1876, Hampton was ready to return to public service.

Nominated for governor by the Straightout Democrats on August 16, 1876, he ran on the platform of "reconciliation, retrenchment, and reform." Successful in the October general election, Wade Hampton, III defeated the incumbent, Gov. Daniel Henry Chamberlain, by 1,134 votes. Claiming voter irregularities, Chamberlain immediately protested.

On November 27, 1876, the Republican board of elections voided the election returns for Edgefield and Laurens counties, and Federal troops entered the State House to prevent those disqualified from taking their seats in the newly-elected state legislature. Not to be outdone, Democratic supporters, some 5,000 strong, surrounded the capitol and were dispersed only through the intervention and persuasion of a coolheaded Wade Hampton, III.

Subsequently, Chamberlain retook the oath of office on December 7, 1876. However, the South Carolina Supreme Court, to whom the Democrats had appealed, ruled in favor of Hampton the day before. Shortly thereafter, on December 14, 1876, Wade Hampton, III was inaugurated as governor, but he was still barred from the State House. It took President Rutherford B. Hayes to withdraw the Federal troops on April 10, 1877, and Gov. Wade Hampton, III walked in the next day.

Gov. Hampton encouraged better race relations, an improved economy, and an end to discord. He also pressed for the establishment of free schools throughout the state. Hampton was re-elected without opposition on November 6, 1878. In early 1879, Gov. Wade Hampton, III was badly injured in a hunting accident, which resulted in an amputed leg. He temporarily turned over the reins of office to Lt. Gov. William Dunlap Simpson.

In the meantime, however, on December 10, 1878, Hampton was elected to the U.S. Senate, and he resigned as governor on February 24, 1879. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1879 to 1890.

Wade Hampton, III also served in many other important positions:
- Elected (1861-1869) and Ex Officio (1877-1879) Trustee for the South Carolina Collge
- Director for a Hospital for Confederate Soldiers in New Orleans (1866)
- Trustee for the Medical College of South Carolina (c.1867, 1875)
- President of the SC Survivor's Association (1869)
- President (1869) and Director (1872) of the Citizens' Savings Bank of SC
- Member (c.1869-1892), Vice President (1869), and President (1871) of the South Carolina Club
- President of the Baltimore Branch of the Carolina Life Insurance Company of SC (1871)
- Trustee for the Columbia Female College (1872)
- Member of the Society of the Cincinnati (1876)
- Member and Delegate for the Trinity Episcopal Church at the Diocesan Convention (1882)
- Member of the Board of Visitors of the University of South Carolina (1885)
- Delegate and Vice President for the Sons of the American Revolution (1889)
- U.S. Commissioner of Pacific Railroads, appointed by President Grover Cleveland (1893-1897)
- Vice President of the National Association of Democratic Clubs (1894)
- Director of the South Carolina Railroad Company (c.1896)
- Director of the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad (c.1896)

Wade Hampton, III died on April 11, 1902 in Columbia, SC and was buried in the Trinity Churchyard two days later.

Wade Hampton, III, (grandson of Wade Hampton [1752-1835]), a U.S. Senator from South Carolina; born in Charleston, SC on March 28, 1818; received private instruction, graduated from the South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1836; studied law but never practiced; planter; member, SC House of Representatives 1852-1856; member, SC Senate 1858-1861; served in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, raising and commanding Hampton’s Legion; three times wounded; made Brigadier General in 1862, Major General in 1863, and Lieutenant General in 1865; Governor of South Carolina 1876-1879; elected in 1878 as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate; re-elected in 1884 and served from March 4, 1879, until March 3, 1891; unsuccessful candidate for re-election; U.S. Railroad Commissioner 1893-1897; died in Columbia, SC on April 11, 1902; interment in Trinity Cathedral Churchyard.

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