|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from South Carolina's 5th district
March 4, 1793 – October 6, 1794
|Preceded by||Thomas Tudor Tucker|
|Succeeded by||Robert Goodloe Harper|
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Philip and St. Michael's Parish|
March 26, 1776 – October 20, 1776
|Member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress from St. Philip and St. Michael's Parish|
November 8, 1775 – March 26, 1776
|Preceded by||George Gabriel Powell|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
Rotterdam, Dutch Republic
|Died||October 6, 1794|
Orangeburg District, South Carolina
|Resting place||Orangeburg County, South Carolina|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch/service||South Carolina Navy|
|Years of service||1778–1782|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War|
Early life and Family
Gillon was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands of Scottish parents. He pursued an education in London and stayed there for some time. He became a sea captain and in 1765 sailed to Charleston, South Carolina in the brigantine Surprize. He returned in 1766 in the brigantine Free-Mason [sic]. While in Charleston Gillon married Mrs. Mary Cripps, a widow from Kent residing in the city. He sailed back to Britain shortly after his marriage but then returned to Charleston that same year. On 10 February 1789 he married Ann Purcell, the daughter of Reverend Henry Purcell, rector of St Michael's Church in Charleston.
In 1766 he settled in Charleston and established a large business. Some ten years later he became involved in politics. He was a delegate to the Second Provincial Congress of South Carolina in 1775 and 1776 and was a member of the first general assembly in 1776.
His men elected him captain of the German Fusiliers of Charleston in May 1775. Three years later South Carolina appointed him Commodore of the South Carolina Navy and sent him to France to procure vessels for the Navy.
In 1781 the South Carolina, manned by American officers and a group of European seamen and marines, sailed across the Atlantic toward Charleston. When she found that the British had already occupied that city she sailed to Cuba.
Between August and October 1781 she captured a cutter, a privateer, the brig Venus and seven other vessels.
South Carolina arrived at Havana on 12 January 1782. At Havana, after negotiations between Gillon and the Spanish, the South Carolina joined a force of 59 vessels sent to capture the British colony of New Providence in the Bahamas. On 22 April the expedition sailed and by 5 May the whole fleet had reached New Providence. On 8 May the colony surrendered. This was the third capture of New Providence during the American Revolutionary War.
South Carolina then sailed north, arriving at Philadelphia on 28 May . Here she remained nearly six months. While she was there the Duke of Luxembourg dismissed Gillon and replaced him as captain with Captain John Joyner. Shortly thereafter the British frigates HMS Diomede, HMS Quebec, and HMS Astraea captured South Carolina.
He was the founder and first president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce.
In 1784 he was elected to the Continental Congress but did not attend. Four years later he was a delegate to the State convention that ratified the Federal Constitution in 1788. Next, he was elected as an Anti-Administration candidate to the Third Congress. He served from 4 March 1793 until his death on 6 October 1794 at his plantation. He was buried in the family burial ground at the plantation “Gillon’s Retreat,” Orangeburg District, Calhoun County, South Carolina.
- Coker, P. C., III. (1987) Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670-1865: An Illustrated History. (Charleston, S.C.: Coker-Craft).
| Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Thomas Tudor Tucker
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 5th congressional district
Robert Goodloe Harper