Henry Middleton
Overview
 
Henry Middleton was a plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 owner and public official from South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. He was the second President
President of the Continental Congress
The President of the Continental Congress was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first national government of the United States during the American Revolution...

 of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 from October 22, 1774, until Peyton Randolph
Peyton Randolph
Peyton Randolph was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, chairman of the Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress.-Early life:Randolph was born in Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia...

 was able to resume his duties briefly beginning on May 10, 1775.
Henry Middleton was born in 1717 near Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 to Arthur Middleton (1681–1737) and Susan Amory, on the family plantation, "The Oaks". His father was a wealthy planter who had served as an acting governor of the Province of South Carolina
Province of South Carolina
The South Carolina Colony, or Province of South Carolina, was originally part of the Province of Carolina, which was chartered in 1663. The colony later became the U.S. state of South Carolina....

.
Encyclopedia
Henry Middleton was a plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

 owner and public official from South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. He was the second President
President of the Continental Congress
The President of the Continental Congress was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first national government of the United States during the American Revolution...

 of the Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 from October 22, 1774, until Peyton Randolph
Peyton Randolph
Peyton Randolph was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, chairman of the Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress.-Early life:Randolph was born in Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia...

 was able to resume his duties briefly beginning on May 10, 1775.

Early life

Henry Middleton was born in 1717 near Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 to Arthur Middleton (1681–1737) and Susan Amory, on the family plantation, "The Oaks". His father was a wealthy planter who had served as an acting governor of the Province of South Carolina
Province of South Carolina
The South Carolina Colony, or Province of South Carolina, was originally part of the Province of Carolina, which was chartered in 1663. The colony later became the U.S. state of South Carolina....

. He was educated in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, but then returned to South Carolina to inherit his father's plantation. He gained much influence and authority from his wealth and abundant landownings, which included 50000 acres (202.3 km²) of land in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, along with about 800 slaves.

State politics

Middleton started his career by becoming a Justice of Peace, and soon after, a member of the King's Council in America. He became a member of the South Carolina House of Commons where he was elected speaker a total of 3 times. He became Commissioner of Native American Affairs in 1755, and was elected to the South Carolina Colonial Council. Middleton gained recognition for his courageous, calm and steady temperament during the Anglo-Cherokee War
Anglo-Cherokee War
The Anglo-Cherokee War , also known as the Cherokee War, the Cherokee Uprising, the Cherokee Rebellion, was a conflict between British forces in North America and Cherokee Indians during the French and Indian War...

 between 1760 and 1761. He resigned from public offices in 1770, to focus on business.

Continental Congress

In 1774, Middleton was elected as a delegate from South Carolina to the First Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

. During tenure as a member of the Congress, Middleton was not a supporter of immediate independence from Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, himself remaining loyal to the crown. In October 1774, Middleton was elected as the President of Continental Congress, when previous president Peyton Randolph
Peyton Randolph
Peyton Randolph was a planter and public official from the Colony of Virginia. He served as speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, chairman of the Virginia Conventions, and the first President of the Continental Congress.-Early life:Randolph was born in Tazewell Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia...

 was forced to return to Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 to take his position as Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Although Middleton's term was only for a length of 4 days, a Petition of Congress to King George III, drafted by John Jay
John Jay
John Jay was an American politician, statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, and the first Chief Justice of the United States ....

 was approved, and sent to Great Britain during his term. Randolph was re-elected as president of the second congress in 1775 in which Middleton also served as a delegate until his resignation in 1776, citing ill health. He was succeeded by his son, Arthur Middleton
Arthur Middleton
Arthur Middleton , of Charleston, South Carolina, was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence....

.

Back to state politics

Middleton returned to South Carolina and was elected President of the Provincial Congress of South Carolina. When Charleston was captured by the British
Siege of Charleston
The Siege of Charleston was one of the major battles which took place towards the end of the American Revolutionary War, after the British began to shift their strategic focus towards the American Southern Colonies. After about six weeks of siege, Continental Army Major General Benjamin Lincoln...

 in 1780, Middleton accepted defeat and status as a British subject. This reversal apparently did not damage his reputation in the long run, due to his previous support of the Revolution, and he did not suffer the fate of having his estates confiscated, as Loyalists
Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution...

 did after the war.

Death

Middleton died on June 13, 1784 in Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

. He was entombed in the gardens at Middleton Place
Middleton Place
Middleton Place is a plantation in Dorchester County, directly across the Ashley River from North Charleston and about northwest of Charleston, in the U.S. state of South Carolina...

, on Ashley River Road in Dorchester County, South Carolina.

Personal life

Middleton married Mary Williams in 1741, and had 7 daughters and 5 sons. After Williams died in 1761, Middleton would go on to marry twice more, second to Maria Henrietta Bull and third to Mary McKenzie, but he would not have more children. Middleton's son, Arthur (1742–1787) would also get involved in politics, succeeding his father as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1776, after his resignation, and, later on, sign the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

. His grandson, also named Henry
Henry Middleton (governor)
Henry Middleton was an American planter and political leader from Charleston, South Carolina. He was the 43rd Governor of South Carolina , represented South Carolina in the U. S...

 (1770–1846), had a long career in politics. He was Governor of South Carolina (1810–1812), U.S. Representative (1815–1819), and the minister to Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 (1820–1830).

Several of Middleton's other children married into prominent families. Hester married S.C. Lt. Governor Charles Drayton, grandson of South Carolina Governor William Bull. Henrietta married Governor Edward Rutledge
Edward Rutledge
Edward Rutledge was an American politician and youngest signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. He later served as the 39th Governor of South Carolina.-Early years and career:...

, and Sarah was the first wife of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Cotesworth “C. C.” Pinckney , was an early American statesman of South Carolina, Revolutionary War veteran, and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He was twice nominated by the Federalist Party as their presidential candidate, but he did not win either election.-Early life and...

.

External links

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