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William Henry Drayton

Other notable men have similar names, see: William Drayton.

William Henry Drayton

William Henry Drayton (September 1742 – September 3, 1779) was an American planter and lawyer from Charleston, South Carolina. He served as a delegate for South Carolina to the Continental Congress in 1778 and 1779.

William Henry was born at his father's plantation, Drayton Hall, on the bank of the Ashley River near Charleston. His father, John Drayton had just completed construction of this massive main house on the rice plantation. His mother was Charlotta Bull Drayton, the daughter of the colony's Governor William Bull. This would remain William's home throughout his life. In 1750 he sent to England for his education. He first studied at Westminster School where he also met young Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Then he went on to Balliol College, Oxford before returning home in 1764. He read law and was admitted to the bar in South Carolina.

Drayton at first opposed the growing sense of colonial unity and resistance after the Stamp Act Congress, but reversed his position as the Revolution grew nearer. He first wrote a series of published letters opposing the American actions. When these were published in England, he was made a member of the Colonial Council in 1772. Governor Bull appointed him to the Colony's Court in 1774. But later that year he wrote a pamphlet, the American Claim of Rights, that supported the call for a Continental Congress. This got him removed from all government positions which completed his conversion to the Rebel cause.

He became a member of South Carolina's John A. Treutlen issued a reward for his arrest.

In 1778, Carolina sent Drayton as a delegate to the Continental Congress where he gave strong support to the military. He died while in office at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground.[1]

His home, "Drayton Hall", now lies within the expanded city of Charleston. It is operated as a museum and is open to the public (an admission fee is charged).


  1. ^ William Henry Drayton at Find a Grave

Further reading

  • Keith Krawczynski, William Henry Drayton: South Carolina Revolutionary Patriot; 2001, Louisiana State University Press, ISBN 0-8071-2661-6.
  • Wallace, David Duncan (1951). South Carolina: A Short History. University of North Carolina Press. p. 277. 
  • Reynolds, Jr., William R. (2012). Andrew Pickens: South Carolina Patriot in the Revolutionary War. Jefferson NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.  

External links

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