John P. Grace

Last updated
John Patrick Grace
51st Mayor of Charleston
In office
Preceded by R. Goodwyn Rhett
Succeeded by Tristram T. Hyde
In office
Preceded by Tristram T. Hyde
Succeeded by Thomas Porcher Stoney
Personal details
Born(1874-12-30)December 30, 1874
Charleston, South Carolina
DiedJune 25, 1940(1940-06-25) (aged 65)
Charleston, South Carolina
Spouse(s)Ella Barkley Sullivan
Alma mater Georgetown University
Professionlawyer, newspaper publisher

John P. Grace was the fifty-first mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, completing two, nonconsecutive terms from 1911 to 1915 and then 1919 to 1923. His campaigns were frequently hard-fought, and the National Guard was called out for the voting in every year but 1911. [ citation needed ]


Among his administrations' achievements were an extensive street paving program and the construction of the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, which was dedicated to him. [1]

Early life and career

John P. Grace died at his home at 174 Broad Street on June 25, 1940. 174 Broad.JPG
John P. Grace died at his home at 174 Broad Street on June 25, 1940.

Grace was born on December 30, 1874, in Charleston to James I. Grace and Elizabeth Daly Grace. His father died when Grace was still a child, and he helped support his family by carrying milk deliveries from a cow that his mother kept. Ironically, one of Grace's accomplishments was the outlawing of cows in the city for sanitary reasons. Grace left high school to start his own business. He was hired by William Elliott, the U.S. representative for Grace's district, and worked in Washington, during which time he studied law at Georgetown University. he returned to Charleston and started a law practice in 1902. He ran for the South Carolina Senate in 1902 but lost and lost again in 1904 when he ran for county sheriff and again in 1908 in a race for the United States Senate.

Mayor of Charleston (1911-1915, 1919-1923)

Grace ran for mayor of Charleston in 1911 against Tristram T. Hyde, winning by a small margin. However, In 1915, Hyde, supported by wealthy business interests ousted him. Three days after the election, an Election recount was held on the southwest corner of King St. and George St. which resulted in the shooting death of a News and Courier reporter, Sidney J. Cohen. Grace conceded the election shortly afterwards. [2]

In the 1919 race, Grace again ran against Hyde. Although the outcome showed Hyde with a one-vote lead, after challenges, the Democratic Executive Committee declared Grace the winner. His opponents began running a series of advertisements attacking Grace, taking advantage of pro-German sentiments he had expressed as the editor of a local paper, The Charleston American. Indeed, because of his views, he was threatened with the loss of mailing privileges for his newspaper if he did not stop his strong editorials. Grace ended his editorship but continued to direct the operation of the newspaper. [3] In 1923, Grace lost his bid for re-election. [2]

His most lasting accomplishment was the construction of the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, which spanned the Cooper River to connect Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. A ferry system had been used to that point. He suggested the bridge in 1927, and the project opened in 1929. It was later replaced by the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

Later life

Grace died at his home at 174 Broad Street, Charleston, South Carolina.

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  1. "Cathedral Rites For John P. Grace". Charleston News & Courier. June 28, 1940. p. 3. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Tristram T. Hyde mayoral papers (1915-1919) Retrieved from
  3. "John P. Grace, City's Mayor For Eight Years, Succumbs". Charleston News & Courier. June 26, 1940. pp. A1. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
Preceded by
R. Goodwyn Rhett
Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina
Succeeded by
Tristram T. Hyde
Preceded by
Tristram T. Hyde
Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina
Succeeded by
Thomas Porcher Stoney