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|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina|
May 7, 1812 – November 27, 1822
|Appointed by||James Madison|
|Preceded by||Thomas Bee|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Lee|
|40th Governor of South Carolina|
January 23, 1800 – December 8, 1802
|Preceded by||Edward Rutledge|
|Succeeded by||James Burchill Richardson|
December 10, 1808 – December 8, 1810
|Preceded by||Charles Pinckney|
|Succeeded by||Henry Middleton|
|Member of the South Carolina Senate from St. Phillip's and St. Michael's Parish|
November 26, 1804 – December 7, 1808
|18th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina|
December 18, 1798 – January 23, 1800
|Preceded by||Robert Anderson|
|Succeeded by||Richard Winn|
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from St. Phillip's and St. Michael's Parish|
November 26, 1792 – December 8, 1798
|Born||June 22, 1766|
Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina
|Died||November 27, 1822(aged 56)|
|Resting place||Charleston, South Carolina|
|Alma mater||College of New Jersey|
John Drayton (June 22, 1766 – November 27, 1822) was a South Carolinian judge and politician; he was Governor of South Carolina from 1800 to 1802 and 1808 to 1810. As governor, he was noted for establishing South Carolina College, and for championing the removal of property restrictions on the franchise. He served as a United States district judge in South Carolina from 1812 until his death.
Early life and career
Drayton was born on Magnolia Plantation on the Ashley River in St. Andrews Parish near Charleston. He was educated at the College of New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War and afterward read law at Inner Temple in London to prepare as an attorney.
He began private practice in Charleston from 1788 to 1794. He resumed from 1796 to 1798. He also served as a warden of the City of Charleston in 1788.
He also was a Freemason and the Grand Master of Ancient York Masons in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1792, Drayton was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and was a member until 1798, when the General Assembly elected him as the 18th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. Upon the death of Edward Rutledge on January 23, 1800, Drayton was elected by the General Assembly to become Governor of South Carolina for the remainder of the term. They chose him to serve out a full two-year term in 1800 because of his strong republicanism.
South Carolina College
The most important act during Drayton's first full term was the establishment of South Carolina College. Drayton had pushed for a state-funded college immediately when he became governor upon the death of Edward Rutledge, but it was not until after his election that the General Assembly created and provide funds for a college. The location of Columbia near the State House was favored by Drayton because it was a central location that would provide an opportunity at higher education for all white male South Carolinians. In addition, he intended for the future leaders of South Carolina to be educated together in order to quell any divisions between the Lowcountry and the Backcountry. The General Assembly followed the direction of Governor Drayton and appropriated $50,000 to construct the college in Columbia and another 46,000 for the salaries of the faculty.
Second time as governor
Upon leaving the governorship in 1802, Drayton returned to Charleston. The General Assembly elected him to the South Carolina Senate in 1805. After three years, the General Assembly elected Drayton for a second two-year term as governor in 1808. Drayton and the General Assembly continued the Republican reforms by expanding the suffrage to all white men, regardless of status or wealth.
Later life and career
After leaving the governorship for a final time, Drayton returned to private practice until 1812. On May 5, 1812, he was nominated by President James Madison to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina vacated by Thomas Bee. Drayton was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 7, 1812, and received his commission the same day, serving on the bench until his death.
A productive writer, Drayton authored several works related to South Carolina:
- Carolinian Florist
- A View of South Carolina, as Respects Her Natural and Civil Concerns
- Memoirs of the American Revolution from its Commencement to the Year 1776.
On November 27, 1822, Drayton died. He was buried in Charleston.
- Wallace, David Duncan (1951). South Carolina: A Short History. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 358, 473.
- Wolfe, John Harold (1940). Jeffersonian Democracy in South Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 171–173.
- John Drayton at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
| Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
| Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
| Governor of South Carolina
James Burchill Richardson
| Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina
| Governor of South Carolina