Thomas Sumter - Revolutionary War Hero

By:Page Ivey

Date:8/24/2012

Thomas Sumter's Grave
The graves of Thomas Sumter and his family are tucked away in a neighborhood in the Sumter County community of Oakland near Dalzell.


If you have family from Sumter Cou​nty, and I do, chances are someone in your ancestry was named Thomas Sumter ______.

The original Thomas Sumter was a Revolutionary War hero and is the reason my alm​a mater is nicknamed the Fightin​g Gamecocks. His fighting spirit was so relentless that one British general said he fought like a gamecock. Sumter is credited with harassing the troops of Gen. Cornwallis to the point where Cornwallis turned north to Virginia and Yorktown where he ultimately surrendered.

Sumter was not born in South Carolina, but was a Virginia native. He moved to South Carolina in his 20s and opened a store in the 1760s. He was in his 40s when the war started. After the war, he served five terms, not all consecutive, in the U.S. Congress, ending in 1801 when he was elected to the Senate. He served there until 1810.

Sumter retired to his home “South Mount” near Stateburg and lived to be 97. He was buried on his family’s plantation.

His tomb and that of many of his family members is now on a road at the back of a neighborhood of single-family homes off Acton Road. To get there from U.S. 378/U.S. 76, you will turn left onto North Kings Highway (SC 261) if you are coming from Columbia, turn right if you are coming from Sumter. From there, you turn right onto Meeting House Road, then right onto Acton Road. The graves are on a circle drive at the end of Acton. There are ample signs to lead the way.

At the site are the graves of Sumter; his son Thomas Sumter Jr. (1768-1840), who was served as lieutenant governor of South Carolina and was the first U.S. ambassador to Brazil; and his grandson Thomas DeLage Sumter (1809-1874), who was a U.S. congressman and who took over the operation of the family plantation in his later years. But the largest grave at the site belongs to the Old General’s daughter-in-law Nathalie deLage Sumter, who was born to French royalty but grew up in the household of U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr along with his daughter, Theodosia, because of the upheaval of the French Revolution.

Sumter Bonus: On your trip to view the graves of these key figures in South Carolina history, stop by the Church of the Holy Cross, built 1850-52.

The church is a National Historic Landmark and was built using the pise de terre (rammed earth) method. The church still has its original organ constructed by Henry Erben. It is one of the few Erben organs in existence in the U.S. The church is located 335 North Kings Hwy. (S.C. 261) in Stateburg and just about two miles from the Thomas Sumter gravesite.

There are many old tombs in the churchyard. One of the most interesting is that of Joel Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the poinsettia to the U.S.

If you go, be mindful that this still is an active church that holds services on Sundays. If you would like to see the inside, but do not wish to attend services, contact the church office via the website to find out the best time to plan your visit.

Related Content

Hike through a Revolutionary War Battlefield
On its way from the mountains to the Carolina coast, the Palmetto Trail winds through the state’s hilly Piedmont and the site of a Revolutionary War battlefield that put the wheels in motion for the epic Battle of Cowpens.

Featured Products

University of South Carolina Visitor Center
Midlands

Columbia

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The University of South Carolina Visitor Center offers campus tours Monday through Friday and select Saturdays led by currently enrolled undergraduate students. You can r ...
City of Sumter
Midlands

Sumter

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Sumter is the county seat. In addition to the county and city, a national forest and the fort in Charleston Harbor are named after Gen. Thomas Sumter, the "Fighting Gamec ...
General Thomas Sumter Memorial Park
Midlands

Sumter

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
Burial place for Gen. Thomas Sumter, "The Gamecock," a friend of the Cherokee, a Revolutionary War hero, planter, congressman and senator. A town, county, national fores ...

Featured products and attractions in "Thomas Sumter - Revolutionary War Hero"

Nearby Attractions

  • {{item.name}}

You might also like:

Issaqueena Falls/Stumphouse Tunnel
Mountains

Walhalla

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
A short easy walking trail leads from Stumphouse Mountain Park to Issaqueena Falls, a beautiful 200-ft. cascade. Legend has it that the Indian maiden, Issaqueena, rode to ...
Boone Hall Plantation
Coast

Mount Pleasant

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Boone Hall is one of America's oldest working, living plantations, established in 1681 by Major John Boone. The present plantation manor house dates to 1935. The famous a ...
Kings Mountain National Military Park
Mountains

Blacksburg

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
On Oct. 7, 1780, a group of Patriot militia from what is now Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia defeated British Major Patrick Ferguson and h ...
Lunney House Museum
Mountains

Seneca

Mountains

Mountains

The
Mountains Region

Learn More
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this California style bungalow was built in 1909 by Dr. & Mrs. W.J. Lunney and occupied continuously by the Lunney fam ...
Old Town Hall Museum
Coast

Andrews

Coast

Coast

The
Coast Region

Learn More
Housed in the original Town Hall, the museum (c. 1900) depicts a turn-of-the-century Andrews home. Items in the museum are circa 1909, the year Andrews was founded. ...
Cheraw Lyceum
Midlands

Cheraw

Midlands

Midlands

The
Midlands Region

Learn More
The Lyceum (c. 1820) began as a chancery court, became the Lyceum Meeting Room and private library, served as Cheraw's first telegraph office, and was both the Confedera ...