About Daniel Henry Chamberlain
Daniel Henry Chamberlain (June 23, 1835 – April 13, 1907) was a planter, lawyer, author and the 76th Governor of South Carolina from 1874 until 1877.
Daniel H. Chamberlain was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, the ninth of ten children born to Eli Chamberlain and Achsah Forbes. In 1862, he graduated with honors from Yale University, where he was a member of the Skull and Bones society. He then attended Harvard Law School, leaving in 1863 to serve as a second lieutenant in the United States Army with the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a regiment of black troops. In 1866, Chamberlain moved to South Carolina to tend to the affairs of a deceased classmate.
He entered politics in 1868 as a delegate to the state constitutional convention from the Berkeley District. He served as Attorney General of South Carolina from 1868–1872 in Governor Robert K. Scott’s administration. After he failed to win the Republican nomination for governor in 1872, Chamberlain practiced law in Charleston. In 1873, he was elected to the board of trustees of the University of South Carolina as the first black students and faculty joined the institution.
He was elected Republican governor on November 3, 1874 when he defeated John T. Green. Chamberlain received 80,403 votes (53.9%) to Green's 68,818 votes (46.1%). Chamberlain was noted for his support of civil rights, and opposition to excessive spending and patronage. After a bitterly fought 1876 campaign, his second term hinged on disputed votes from Laurens and Edgefield counties, where the counts greatly exceeded the population, and overwhelmingly favored his opponent, ex-Confederate Wade Hampton III. Chamberlain left South Carolina in April 1877 when President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew Federal troops that had occupied the state since the Civil War. Chamberlain eventually became disillusioned with Reconstruction.
Chamberlain moved to New York City and became a successful Wall Street attorney. He was a professor of constitutional law at Cornell University from 1883 until 1897. Chamberlain authored the 1902 book Charles Sumner and the Treaty of Washington, as well as numerous articles.
Upon his retirement, he traveled extensively in Europe. He moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he died of cancer on April 13, 1907. He was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Chamberlain was the last Republican to fill a high office in South Carolina until the late 1960s.