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 Thomas Heyward, Jr

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Thomas Heyward, Jr

  • Birth 28 Jul 1746 Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA
  • Death 17 Apr 1809 Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA
  • Burial Old House, Jasper County, South Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 2807

Signer of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina. Born near Beaufort in Saint Luke’s Parish, South Carolina. His father, Daniel Heyward, had already named another son, Thomas, so the future signer added a Junior to his name to distinguish himself from his brother. Coming from a wealthy family, he was able to study law in England, where he discovered that the English looked down on Americans. Returning to South Carolina, he established a successful law practice, built a plantation called White Hall, and in 1772, was elected to the South Carolina legislature. In 1773, he married Elizabeth Mathews, sister of South Carolina Governor John Mathews; together they would have five children. In February 1776, he was elected to the Second Continental Congress. While angry with England, Heyward was uncertain if America was ready for independence. At the first trial vote on July 1, South Carolina voted to reject independence, but the next day, at the actual vote, they switched sides and voted for independence, so as not to divide the country. After signing the Declaration of Independence, Heyward returned to South Carolina to fight the British, joining the militia. In 1779, he was wounded during the successful battle of Port Royal Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina. He recovered, and a year later, helped to defend Charleston. When the British were finally successful in capturing the city in May 1780, he was among those captured. While Heyward was imprisoned in Saint Augustine, Florida, the British raided his plantation, burning White Hall and taking his 130 slaves for sale to the sugar plantations in Jamaica. When he was eventually freed, he became a judge and a state lawmaker in South Carolina. His wife, Elizabeth Mathews Heyward, would die in 1782, and four years later, he married Elizabeth Savage, with whom he would have three more children. Hayward died in 1809, at the age of 62.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 28 Apr 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2807
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Heyward, Jr (28 Jul 1746–17 Apr 1809), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2807, citing Heyward Family Cemetery, Old House, Jasper County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .