John E. Colhoun

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John E. Colhoun
John E. Colhoun.jpg
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
March 4, 1801 – October 26, 1802
Preceded byJacob Read
Succeeded byPierce Butler
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
John Ewing Colhoun

Staunton, Virginia
DiedOctober 26, 1802 (aged 52–53)
Pendleton, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Spouse(s)Floride Bonneau Colhoun
Alma materPrinceton University
OccupationPlanter, Legislator

John Ewing Colhoun (1749 – October 26, 1802) was a United States Senator and lawyer from South Carolina.

Colhoun, was born in Staunton, Virginia where he attended common schools before graduating from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1774. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1778 to 1800. He studied to be a lawyer and was admitted to the bar in 1783, commencing practice in Charleston, South Carolina. He was a farmer and was elected a member of the privy council and was also a commissioner of confiscated estates in 1785.

Origin and family[edit]

Colhoun (and Calhoun) is a surname that originated in Ulster to where Colhoun's great-great-great-grandfather Robert Colquhoun migrated from Dumbarton, Dunbartonshire in Scotland. Colhoun was born to Ulster-Scottish immigrants to colonial America from County Donegal.[1] Colhoun appears to have himself changed his surname from Calhoun to Colhoun.

Colhoun married Floride Bonneau a member of a prominent Charleston, South Carolina Huguenot family. They had three children: John Ewing Jr. who became a planter, Floride Bonneau (1792–1866) who married her father's first cousin John Caldwell Calhoun and James Edward (1798-1889 later changed last name to Calhoun), a planter who would become an officer in the U.S. Navy in the 1820s. Floride became Second Lady of the United States in 1825. John Colhoun was also a first cousin of Joseph Calhoun, and brother-in-law of Andrew Pickens.

Early background[edit]

In 1774, Colhoun graduated from the College of New Jersey (later to become Princeton University). On 16 August 1775, he joined Capt. Charles Drayton's company of volunteer militia for service in the Revolution at its organization in Charleston, South Carolina. After the war, in 1783, he studied law and was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Charleston, South Carolina, working mostly in estate settlements and personal injury suits. In 1785, he was elected a member of the privy council and also a commissioner of confiscated estates. Colhoun, was a planter by-trade, who later acquired several plantations across the state of South Carolina, including his Santee Plantation in St. Stephen's Parish, his Keowee and 12 Mile Plantations in the Old Pendleton District (where a slave plot was discovered in 1798[2]), and his Pimlico and Bonneau's Ferry Plantations in St. John's Parish. Another plantation he owned, the location of which is unclear, was called Mount Prospect. Colhoun grew mostly indigo, rice, oats, and vegetables on his plantations, as well as raising cattle, and breeding horses.

His Keowee Plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and it is within the Old Pendleton Historic District of Pendleton, South Carolina, also listed on the NRHP.


In 1801, after 22 years of being a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Colhoun defeated Jacob Read, incumbent, by a vote of 75 to 73, sealing his victory and being elected a member of the United States Senate from the state of South Carolina Senate and was a member of the committee which was instructed to report a modification of the judiciary system of the United States. He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the 7th United States Congress as a senator, serving from March 4, 1801 until his death on October 26, 1802 in Pendleton, South Carolina. He was interred in the family cemetery in the Old Pendleton District.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ford, Lacy K. (2009), Deliver Us from Evil. The Slavery Question in the Old South, Oxford University Press, p. 86, ISBN 9780195118094

External links[edit]

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Jacob Read
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from South Carolina
March 4, 1801 – October 26, 1802
Served alongside: Charles Pinckney and Thomas Sumter
Succeeded by
Pierce Butler