Visit 4 Historic Homes of South Carolina’s Declaration of Independence Signers

By:Page Ivey

Date:9/17/2014

Middleton Place Plantation is historic South Carolina home to signer of the Declaration of Independence
Middleton Place Plantation was home to Arthur Middleton, one of the four South Carolinians who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Four South Carolinians signed the Declaration of Independence: Thomas Heyward Jr., Thomas Lynch Jr., Arthur Middleton and Edward Rutledge. You can visit a historic home associated with each man to discover a living history.

The Heyward-Washington House: Built in 1772 by rice planter Daniel Heyward for his son Thomas Jr. (1746–1809), this home is located within the original walled city of Charleston. The second part of the name comes from May 1791, when the home was rented out to President George Washington for a weeklong stay during his Southern tour.

Thomas Heyward Jr. was elected to the provincial assembly in 1772 and was just 30 years old when he was sent to the Continental Congress three years later as a backup. He and Edward Rutledge were captured when the British took Charleston in 1780 and were sent to prison for a year in St. Augustine, Fla.

After the war, he became a member of the state constitutional convention before retiring from public life. He stayed at the home until the mid-1790s and died at his plantation home in 1809. The home became Charleston’s first historic house museum when it was bought by the Charleston Museum in 1929.

87 Church St., Charleston

​Middleton Place Plantation: Arthur Middleton was born at one of the oldest and most prosperous plantations along the Cooper River just outside the city of Charleston. It had passed from the original owner to the Middletons through marriage. The house’s famed garden was begun the year before Arthur Middleton was born in 1742.

Educated in England, Arthur Middleton worked to help write a state constitution and was elected to the provincial congress in Philadelphia, where he signed the Declaration. He fought against the British in Charleston after his family’s plantation was ransacked. He was captured in 1780 and sent to St. Augustine with many others. After the war, he was elected to the state Legislature after refusing a congressional seat. Middleton died in 1787 from a fever.

4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston

​The Governor’s House Inn: Born in Charleston in 1749, Edward Rutledge was the youngest of seven children of Dr. John Rutledge and, at age 27, one of the youngest people to sign the Declaration of Independence. He was captured in 1780 along with his brother-in-law, Arthur Middleton, and others and spent a year imprisoned in St. Augustine, Fla.

He became a state lawmaker, serving first in the House, and then Senate, before being elected governor of South Carolina in 1798. However, he would be unable to finish his term, dying two years later in Charleston. His former home is now a bed and breakfast and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

117 Broad St., Charleston

Hopsewee Plantation: Thomas Lynch Jr. was not quite 27 when he signed the Declaration of Independence. Born into a wealthy family in 1749, Lynch’s father suffered a stroke during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and the younger Lynch, who was serving as a captain in the South Carolina provincial regiment, was selected as his replacement.

The trip home from the convention was trying for both men, as the elder Lynch died and Lynch Jr. fell ill after a recurring bout of malaria. Thomas Lynch Jr. left South Carolina in 1779 for France with a planned stop in the West Indies. However, he never made it as his ship was lost at sea, taking the lives of the 30-year-old Lynch, his wife and all the other passengers and crew.

494 Hopsewee Road, Georgetown

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