Daniel Henry Chamberlain

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Daniel Henry Chamberlain
Daniel Henry Chamberlain.jpg
76th Governor of South Carolina
In office
December 1, 1874 – December 14, 1876
Lieutenant Richard Howell Gleaves
Preceded by Franklin J. Moses, Jr.
Succeeded by Wade Hampton III
Attorney General of South Carolina
In office
July 6, 1868 – December 7, 1872
Governor Robert K. Scott
Preceded by I.W. Hayne
Succeeded by Samuel W. Melton
Personal details
Born (1835-06-23)June 23, 1835
West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Died April 13, 1907(1907-04-13) (aged 71)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Political party Republican
Alma mater Yale University
Harvard Law School
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1863 – 1865
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry
Battles/wars American Civil War

Daniel Henry Chamberlain (June 23, 1835 – April 13, 1907) was a planter, lawyer, author and the 76th Governor of South Carolina from 1874 until 1877.

Daniel H. Chamberlain was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, the ninth of ten children born to Eli Chamberlain and Achsah Forbes. In 1862, he graduated with honors from Yale University, where he was a member of the Skull and Bones society.[1]:95 He then attended Harvard Law School, leaving in 1863 to serve as a second lieutenant in the United States Army with the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a regiment of black troops. In 1866, Chamberlain moved to South Carolina to tend to the affairs of a deceased classmate.

He entered politics in 1868 as a delegate to the state constitutional convention from the Berkeley District. He served as Attorney General of South Carolina from 1868–1872 in Governor Robert K. Scott’s administration. After he failed to win the Republican nomination for governor in 1872, Chamberlain practiced law in Charleston. In 1873, he was elected to the board of trustees of the University of South Carolina as the first black students and faculty joined the institution.

He was elected Republican governor on November 3, 1874 when he defeated John T. Green. Chamberlain received 80,403 votes (53.9%) to Green's 68,818 votes (46.1%). Chamberlain was noted for his support of civil rights, and opposition to excessive spending and patronage. After a bitterly fought 1876 campaign, his second term hinged on disputed votes from Laurens and Edgefield counties, where the counts greatly exceeded the population, and overwhelmingly favored his opponent, ex-Confederate Wade Hampton III. Chamberlain left South Carolina in April 1877 when President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew Federal troops that had occupied the state since the Civil War. Chamberlain eventually became disillusioned with Reconstruction.

Chamberlain moved to New York City and became a successful Wall Street attorney. He was a professor of constitutional law at Cornell University from 1883 until 1897. Chamberlain authored the 1902 book Charles Sumner and the Treaty of Washington, as well as numerous articles.

Upon his retirement, he traveled extensively in Europe. He moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he died of cancer on April 13, 1907. He was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Chamberlain was the last Republican to fill a high office in South Carolina until the late 1960s.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Franklin J. Moses, Jr.
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Wade Hampton III