Alexander Gillon

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Alexander Gillon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1793 – October 6, 1794
Preceded byThomas Tudor Tucker
Succeeded byRobert Goodloe Harper
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Philip and St. Michael's Parish
In office
March 26, 1776 – October 20, 1776
Member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress from St. Philip and St. Michael's Parish
In office
November 8, 1775 – March 26, 1776
Preceded byGeorge Gabriel Powell
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Born1741
Rotterdam, Dutch Republic
DiedOctober 6, 1794
Orangeburg District, South Carolina
Resting placeOrangeburg County, South Carolina
Political partyAnti-Administration
Professionsailor, planter
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/serviceSouth Carolina Navy
Years of service1778–1782
RankCommodore
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War

Alexander Gillon (1741 – October 6, 1794) was an American merchant and seaman from Charleston, South Carolina. He represented South Carolina in the U.S. House in 1793 and 1794.

Early life and Family[edit]

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.

Charleston merchant[edit]

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.

South Carolina[edit]

In 1780 he chartered Indien from the Duke of Luxembourg on behalf of South Carolina and the South Carolina Navy, for a quarter-share of her prizes. Gillon renamed the frigate South Carolina.

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.

Political career[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Coker, P. C., III. (1987) Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670-1865: An Illustrated History. (Charleston, S.C.: Coker-Craft).

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Gadsden
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
1789–1791
Succeeded by
Isaac Holmes
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Tudor Tucker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 5th congressional district

1793–1794
Succeeded by
Robert Goodloe Harper