James H. Hammond, Governor, U.S. Senator

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James Henry Hammond

Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Newberry, SC, USA
Death: November 13, 1864 (56)
Aiken, SC, USA
Place of Burial: Hammond Cemetery Beech Island Aiken County South Carolina
Immediate Family:

Son of Elisha Hammond and Catherine Fox Hammond
Husband of Catherine (Fitzsimons) Hammond
Father of Maj. Harry Hammond; Paul Fitzsimons Hammond and Elizabeth Hammond

Managed by: Private User
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About James H. Hammond, Governor, U.S. Senator


James Henry Hammond (November 15, 1807 – November 13, 1864) was a politician from South Carolina. He served as a United States Representative from 1835 to 1836, the 60th Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844, and United States Senator from 1857 to 1860. He was the brother-in-law of Wade Hampton II and uncle of Wade Hampton III.


Hammond graduated from South Carolina College in 1825, going on to teach school, write for a newspaper and study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1828 and started a practice in Columbia, South Carolina. He established a newspaper in South Carolina in support of nullification and was also a planter. He served in the United States House of Representatives as a member of the Nullifier Party from 1835 until his resignation the next year due to ill health. After spending two years in Europe, he returned to South Carolina and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He served as Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844 and in the United States Senate, following the death of Andrew P. Butler, from 1857 until his resignation in 1860 in light of South Carolina's secession from the Union.

A Democrat, Hammond was perhaps best known during his lifetime as an outspoken defender of slavery and states' rights. It was Hammond who popularized the phrase that "Cotton is King" in an 1858 speech to the Senate. He also compared the South's "well compensated" slaves to the North's "scantily compensated" slaves (hired skilled laborers and operatives).

His Secret and Sacred Diaries reveal that his appetites did not end there. He describes, without embarrassment, his 'familiarities and dalliances' with four teenage nieces - the daughters of Wade Hampton II. Blaming the seductiveness of the “extremely affectionate” young women, his political career was crushed for a decade to come, and the girls with their tarnished social reputations never married. His mansion in Beech Island, South Carolina, Redcliffe, represents his ideal of the perfectly run plantation.

Hammond School in Columbia, South Carolina is named after him. Founded in 1966, it was originally named James H. Hammond Academy.


He was a United States Senator and the Governor of South Carolina. Catharine FitzSimons married South Carolina Governor James Henry Hammond in 1831. James Hammond's political and financial future was ensured by his marriage to the young heiress, for she brought to the marriage her 7,500 acre Silver Bluff plantation at Beech Island, South Carolina, across the Savannah River from her uncle Oswell Eve's "Forest Hall" plantation. The area of Silver Bluff 13 miles south of Augusta, Georgia was named by Dr. Henry Woodward because of the glittering mica that once sparkled along the banks of the Savannah River. Catherine also brought to the union some 10,800 acres of additional plantations, livestock, slaves and fine furnishings. In 1855 James Hammond purchased "Redcliffe" the Beech Island plantation home of Dr. Milledge Galphin, which became their principal residence. Beech Island was named "Beech Highland" for the Beech trees on the high terrain. The cockney English accent dropped the “H” sound, thus Highland became pronounced Island, but is not on an island. "Redcliffe" still exists as a historic site in Aiken County, South Carolina, and is now open to the public. The "Hammond Cemetery” is across the Savannah River from the Cottage Cemetery. James Henry Hammond arrived at Silver Bluff Plantation in 1831 and took possession of the property that his wife Catherine Fitzsimons inherited from her father Christopher Fitzsimons (of Charleston) after his death in 1825. George Galphin had established an Indian Trading Post at Silver Bluff in the mid 1700s. As Hammond's wealth and position grew, so did his plantation lands. In 1855, he acquired Redcliffe Plantation in Edgefield County as the place of the new family estate while the lands and slave quarters that made all the new found opulence possible, were still eight miles to the south at Silver Bluff Plantation, Cathwood Plantation and Cowden Plantation in Barnwell County.

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James H. Hammond, Governor, U.S. Senator's Timeline

November 15, 1807
Newberry, SC, USA
Age 24
Age 30
Age 41
November 13, 1864
Age 56
Aiken, SC, USA
Hammond Cemetery Beech Island Aiken County South Carolina