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William Henry Drayton
Birth: Sep. 20, 1742
Saint Andrews (Charleston County)
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA
Death: Sep. 3, 1779
Philadelphia
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Continental Congressman. Drayton came from one of the wealthiest families in South Carolina. His grandfather was William Bull who was the Royal Governor of South Carolina in 1737. At an early age Drayton was sent to England to begin his education where he initially attended Westminster School. He next attended Balliol College, Oxford, before returning to South Carolina in 1764. He apparently spent more time enjoying England than studying and ran up large debts which his father refused to honor. When he returned to South Carolina he married Dorothy Golightly daughter and heiress of Culcheth Golightly. This marriage would alleviate some of his debts, but his spending habits continued including indulging in horse racing and thoroughbred raising. In 1765 he was elected to the twenty-seventh Royal Assembly from St. Andrews and the justice of the peace for Berkeley county in 1767. On August 3, 1769 he published the first of nine essays in the South Carolina Gazette attacking the Non-Importation Agreements. He was introduced at Court and on February 1, 1771 was appointed a member of the South Carolina Royal Council. However, he did not claim his seat until April 3, 1772, when he joined his father on the Council. He underwent a startling change in political philosophy from ardent supporter of the Crown to radical revolutionary. His apparent reason was his distaste for the flood of placemen that descended upon South Carolina during the 1770's. In August 1771 he was appointed Deputy Postmaster General for the Southern District of North America, but he only held that position until a placemen could be sent from London. In public and private he railed against placemen on the Council who did not have the best interests of the province at heart. In 1774 Drayton was temporarily appointed as an assistant judge for the Northern District comprising Camden, Cheraws, and Georgetown. His commission was later revoked when another placemen arrived from England. After his ouster from Council and the judgeship Drayton turned to addressing public gatherings in Charleston. He soon was a popular figure with the people and was associated with the revolutionary faction then operating openly in Charleston. In 1775 the back country district of Saxe Gotha elected him to the First Provincial Congress as well a member of the Secret Committee. The Provincial Congress sent him, as well as William Tennant and Oliver Hart, both Baptist ministers to the back country to explain the patriot position. The sentiment in the upstate included many who wanted to remain loyal to the Crown and were active Tories. They were able to get the pro-British sympathizers to sign a treaty of neutrality in September of 1775. Saxe Gotha returned Drayton to the Second Provincial Congress from 1775 to 1776 with him as it's President. In 1775 he was elected the first Chief Justice of the State of South Carolina and as a result resigned from the House, but the election was ruled null and void because under the Constitution of 1776, the position of Chief Justice was not a disqualifying one. Drayton next represented Saxe Gotha in the Second General Assembly from 1776 to 1778. He was elected to the Continental Congress from St. Philips and St. Micheal's where he took his seat on March 30, 1778. Although he disagreed with some of it's provisions he signed the "Articles of Confederation" on July 9, 1778. In Philadelphia he actively supported the French alliance, and immersed himself in committee work. Drayton did not live to see the Revolution end as he died from typhus fever in Philadelphia. On the two-hundredth anniversary of his death his remains were removed from his grave in Christ Church Cemetery in Philadelphia, and returned to his family's ancestral home and family vault on the banks of the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina. (bio by: Saratoga) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Charlotte Bull Drayton (1719 - 1743)
 
Note: William was originally buried at Christ Church in Philadelphia. He remains were reinterred at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston South Carolina on the 200th anniversary of his death in 1979.
 
Burial:
Magnolia Plantation Saint Andrews Parish
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Saratoga
Record added: Apr 03, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35476716
William Henry Drayton
Added by: P Fazzini
 
William Henry Drayton
Added by: Saratoga
 
William Henry Drayton
Added by: Saratoga
 
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With honor and respect. ★☆★
- sniksnak
 Added: Sep. 3, 2014

- James Snow
 Added: Sep. 3, 2014

- Mellissa Lake Co. Illinois
 Added: Sep. 20, 2013
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