Thomas Bee

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Thomas Bee
Thomas Bee's House.jpg
Thomas Bee's House, Charleston, ca. 1730.
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
In office
June 14, 1790 – February 18, 1812
Appointed by George Washington
Preceded by William Drayton
Succeeded by John Drayton
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 9, 1779 – January 24, 1780
Governor John Rutledge
Preceded by James Parsons
Succeeded by Christopher Gadsden
Personal details
Born 1739
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Died February 18, 1812 (aged 72–73)
Pendleton, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Federalist
Education University of Oxford

Thomas Bee (1739, Charleston, South Carolina – February 18, 1812, Pendleton, South Carolina) was an American planter, lawyer, politician and jurist from Charleston, South Carolina. He served as the sixth Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina (1779–1780) under Governor John Rutledge and was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1780 to 1782. He later served as a judge in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina from 1790 until his death.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Thomas Bee was born to a wealthy Charleston planter family in the colony of South Carolina. He was taught by a tutor at home, before being sent to England to attend Oxford University. He read law in 1761 for admission to the bar.

Marriage and family[edit]

He married Susannah (Bulline) Bee (1754 - 1805) in Charleston. She was the daughter of a planter, and they lived on a plantation in Ladson, South Carolina, which she inherited from her father. The Bees had several children.

Thomas Bee, his wife, and their daughter Jane Templar Bee Huger (1790 - 1820), who died at age 16, were buried on their plantation, Woodstock, in Ladson, South Carolina. Today the Palmetto Commerce Parkway passes near the family burial site.

Thomas and Susannah's son Barnard E. Bee Sr., and great-grandson Carlos Bee followed Thomas Bee into politics. Carlos Bee was elected as a U.S. Representative from Texas. Two of Barnard's sons became known as Confederate generals during the American Civil War: Barnard E. Bee Jr. and Hamilton Prioleau Bee.


Bee set up a law practice in Charleston, but was often called away from it in the name of public service.

He was elected to the colonial South Carolina House of Representatives, serving from 1762 to 1765. After the American Revolutionary War, he was re-elected, serving from 1772 to 1779, 1781 to 1782, and 1786 to 1788. He rose to the level of Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives in January and February 1779. He was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of the state. From 1788 to 1790, he was in the South Carolina Senate.[3] On June 11, 1790, he was nominated by President George Washington to a seat vacated by William Drayton on the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. Three days later, Bee was confirmed by the United States Senate and received his commission. He served in that office until his death.

In 1801, Bee was nominated and confirmed as chief judge of the Fifth Circuit Court as part of President Adams' midnight judges, but he declined the office.


  1. ^ "National Archives- To George Washington from Thomas Bee". 
  2. ^ "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress - Thomas Bee". 
  3. ^ "Thomas Bee's Notes on the State of South Carolina. Journal of the Early Republic. JSTOR". JSTOR 3123455/. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Parsons
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Christopher Gadsden
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Drayton
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
Succeeded by
John Drayton