William F. De Saussure

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William Ford De Saussure
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
May 10, 1852 – March 4, 1853
Preceded by Robert Rhett
Succeeded by Josiah J. Evans
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Richland District
In office
November 28, 1842 – December 17, 1847
In office
November 27, 1837 – December 21, 1839
Personal details
Born (1792-02-22)February 22, 1792
Charleston, South Carolina
Died March 13, 1870(1870-03-13) (aged 78)
Columbia, South Carolina
Political party Democratic

William Ford De Saussure (February 22, 1792 – March 13, 1870) was a United States Senator from South Carolina. Born in Charleston, the son of Henry William de Saussure and Elizabeth Ford De Saussure.

Legal career[edit]

He graduated from Harvard University in 1810, studied law, was admitted to the bar and practiced in Charleston and Columbia.

In the 1820s de Saussure served two terms as Intendent, or Mayor, of the City of Columbia. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1846 and a judge of the chancery court in 1847.

De Saussure was appointed May 10, 1852, and then elected November 29, 1852,[1] as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of R. Barnwell Rhett and served from May 10, 1852, to March 4, 1853.

He resumed the practice of law in Columbia, and was a trustee of South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia for many years. In December 1860 he was a delegate to South Carolina's Secession Convention and became a signer of the Ordinance of Secession which led directly to the opening hostilities of the Civil War.


He died in Columbia in 1870; interment was in the First Presbyterian Churchyard.

Famous family members[edit]

The descendants of William Ford De Saussure include Arthur Ravenel, Jr. (1927-), a member of the United States Congress who represented South Carolina from 1987-1995.


  1. ^ Byrd, Robert C.; Wolff, Wendy (October 1, 1993). "The Senate, 1789-1989: Historical Statistics, 1789-1992" (volume 4 Bicentennial ed.). U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 164. 
United States Senate
Preceded by
Robert B. Rhett
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from South Carolina
Served alongside: Andrew P. Butler
Succeeded by
Josiah J. Evans