On July 4, 1776, a delegation of men called the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. We all know some of the more famous signees. These include names like John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. However, there were also a number of relatively unknown signers, including four delegates from South Carolina. So, in honor of the recent Independence Day holiday, here are your signees, South Carolina!
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Heyward, Jr. signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation as a representative of South Carolina. He studied law in England, and returned to South Carolina as a judge. He commanded a militia force during the Revolutionary War and was taken prisoner during the siege of Charleston.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr. was born and raised in Georgetown, South Carolina. He studied at the Indigo Society School in Georgetown until his parents sent him to Cambridge to finish his education. Lynch eventually became a company commander in the 1st South Carolina regiment in 1775 and was elected to the Continental Congress where he signed the Declaration of Independence. Interestingly enough, in his will Lynch stipulated that heirs of his female relatives must change their surname to Lynch in order to inherit the family estate, Hopsewee, which still stands in South Carolina today.
Arthur Middleton was a famous South Carolina politician. He lead the American Party, who were the key advocates of Rebellion, and was widely known to be ruthless toward British loyalists. He was elected to succeed his father in the Continental Congress in 1776. Middleton was also captured during the defense of Charleston. The US Navy ship, USS Arthur Middleton, was named for him.
Edward Rutledge was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and later served as the 39th Governor of South Carolina. During the American Revolution, he worked to have African Americans expelled from the Continental Army. He was a strong proponent of colonial rights; however, he was instructed by state leaders to oppose Lee’s Resolution of independence. This resolution would have called for the dissolution not only of ties to Britain, but also to the other colonies as well.