| United States Senator |
from South Carolina
December 15, 1801 –December 16, 1810
|Preceded by||Charles Pinckney|
|Succeeded by||John Taylor|
|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 4th district
March 4,1797 –December 15,1801
|Preceded by||Richard Winn|
|Succeeded by||Richard Winn|
March 4,1789 –March 3,1793
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Richard Winn|
Hanover County,Virginia Colony,British America then moved to south carolina
|Died||June 1,1832 97) (aged|
near Stateburg,South Carolina,U.S.
|Resting place||Thomas Sumter Memorial Park,Sumter County,South Carolina|
|Allegiance|| Great Britain (1755–1776)|
|Branch/service||Virginia provincial militia|
South Carolina state militia
|Years of service|| Virginia provincial militia:1755|
South Carolina state militia:1776–1781
|Commands||Second Regiment of the South Carolina Line|
|Battles/wars||American Revolutionary War|
Thomas Sumter (August 14,1734 –June 1,1832) was a soldier in the Colony of Virginia militia;a brigadier general in the South Carolina militia during the American Revolution,a planter,and a politician. After the United States gained independence,he was elected to the United States House of Representatives and to the United States Senate,where he served from 1801 to 1810,when he retired. Sumter was nicknamed the "Fighting Gamecock" for his fierce fighting style against British soldiers after they burned down his house during the Revolution.
Thomas Sumter was born in Hanover County in the Colony of Virginia.His father,William,was a miller and former indentured servant,while his mother,Patience,was a midwife. Most of Thomas Sumter’s early years were spent tending livestock and helping his father at the mill,not in school. Given just a rudimentary education on the frontier,the young Sumter served in the Virginia militia, where he was present for Edward Braddock's defeat.
At the end of the Anglo-Cherokee War,in 1761,Sumter was invited to join what was to become known as the "Timberlake Expedition",organized by Colonel Adam Stephen and led by Henry Timberlake,who had volunteered for the assignment. : 38–39 The purpose of the expedition was to visit the Overhill Cherokee towns and renew friendship with the Cherokee People following the war. The small expeditionary party consisted of Sumter (who was partially financing the venture with borrowed money),Timberlake,an interpreter named John McCormack,and a servant. : 38
According to Timberlake's journal,at one point early in the nearly year and a half long journey,Sumter swam nearly a half-mile in the icy waters to retrieve their canoe,which had drifted away while they were exploring a cave. : 41–48 The party arrived in the Overhill town of Tomotley on December 20,where they were greeted by the town's head man,Ostenaco (or "Mankiller") : 57–58 and soon found themselves participants in a peace pipe ceremony. In the following weeks,Sumter and the group attended peace ceremonies in several Overhill towns,such as Chota,Citico,and Chilhowee. : 63–65
The party returned to Williamsburg,Virginia,accompanied by several Beloved Men of the Cherokee,arriving on the James River in early April 1762. : 118–129
While in Williamsburg,Ostenaco professed a desire to meet the king of England, : 130–133 and in May 1762,Sumter traveled to England with Timberlake and three distinguished Cherokee leaders,including Ostenaco. Arriving in London in early June,the Indians were an immediate attraction,drawing crowds all over the city. : 130–136 The three Cherokee then accompanied Sumter back to America,landing in South Carolina on or about August 25,1762. : 143–147
Sumter became stranded in South Carolina due to financial difficulties. He petitioned the Virginia Colony for reimbursement of his travel expenses,but was denied. Subsequently,Sumter was imprisoned for debt in Virginia. When his friend and fellow soldier,Joseph Martin,arrived in Staunton,Martin asked to spend the night with Sumter in jail. Martin gave Sumter ten guineas and a tomahawk. Sumter used the money to buy his way out of jail in 1766. : xxvii When Martin and Sumter were reunited some thirty years later,Sumter repaid the money.
Sumter settled in Stateburg,South Carolina,in the Claremont District (later the Sumter District) in the High Hills of Santee.
He married Mary Jameson in 1767. Together,they opened several small businesses and became successful planters.
Sumter raised a local militia group in Stateburg. In February 1776,Sumter was elected lieutenant colonel of the Second Regiment of the South Carolina Line of which he was later appointed colonel. in 1780 he was appointed brigadier general,a post he held until the end of the war.He participated in several battles in the early months of the war,including the campaign to prevent an invasion of Georgia. Perhaps his greatest military achievement was his partisan campaigning,which contributed to Lord Cornwallis' decision to abandon the Carolinas for Virginia.
During fighting in August 1780,he defeated loyalist and British Regulars at Hanging Rock (Lancaster County,South Carolina),and intercepted and defeated an enemy convoy. Later,however,his regiment was almost annihilated by forces led by Banastre Tarleton. He recruited a new force,defeated Major James Wemyss in November,and repulsed an attack by Tarleton,in which he was wounded.Sumter was carried into the Blackstock house,where his surgeon,Dr. Nathaniel Abney,probed for and extracted the ball from under his left shoulder.(17)
Sumter acquired the nickname "Carolina Gamecock" during the American Revolution,for his fierce fighting tactics. After the Battle of Blackstock's Farm,British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton commented that Sumter "fought like a gamecock",and Cornwallis described the Gamecock as his "greatest plague".
After the Revolutionary War,Sumter was elected to the United States House of Representatives,serving from March 4,1789,to March 3,1793,and from March 4,1797,to December 15,1801. He later served in the United States Senate,having been selected by the legislature to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Charles Pinckney.Sumter resigned from his seat in the Senate on December 16,1810.
Sumter died on June 1,1832 at South Mount (his plantation near Stateburg),at the age of 97 years. He was buried at the Thomas Sumter Memorial Park in Sumter County.
Thomas' son,Thomas Sumter Jr.,served in Rio de Janeiro from 1810 to 1819 as the United States Ambassador to the Portuguese Court during its exile to Brazil. Thomas Jr.'s wife,Natalie De Lage Sumter ( née Nathalie de Lage de Volude),was a daughter of French nobility,sent by her parents to America for her safety during the French Revolution. She was raised in New York City from 1794 to 1801 by Vice President Aaron Burr as his ward,alongside his own daughter Theodosia. His grandson,Colonel Thomas De Lage Sumter,served in the U.S. Army during the Second Seminole War,and later represented South Carolina in the United States House of Representatives.
Sumter's older brother,William Sumter,was a captain in the Revolutionary War.Arkansas state legislator and military colonel,John J. Sumpter,was a great grandson of Capt. William Sumter and therefore great-grand-nephew of Sumter.
In South Carolina,the town of Sumter,South Carolina,was named for Thomas Sumter. The town has erected a memorial to him,and has been dubbed "The Gamecock City" after his nickname.
Counties in four states are named for Sumter:
Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor,a fort planned after the War of 1812,was named in his honor. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War were fired,at the Battle of Fort Sumter.
Sumter's nickname,"Fighting Gamecock",has become one of several traditional nicknames for a native of South Carolina. For example,the University of South Carolina's official nickname is the "Gamecocks". Since 1903,the college's teams have been simply known as the "South Carolina Gamecocks".
Andrew Pickens was a militia leader in the American Revolution. A slave-owner,he developed his Hopewell plantation on the east side of the Keowee River across from the Cherokee town of Isunigu (Seneca) in western South Carolina. He was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives from western South Carolina. Several treaties with the Cherokee were negotiated and signed at his plantation of Hopewell.
Tuskegee was an Overhill Cherokee town located along the lower Little Tennessee River in what is now Monroe County,Tennessee,United States. The town developed in the late 1750s alongside Fort Loudoun,and was inhabited until the late 1770s. It was forcibly evacuated and probably burned during the Cherokee–American wars.
Chota is a historic Overhill Cherokee town site in Monroe County,Tennessee,in the southeastern United States. Developing after nearby Tanasi,Chota was the most important of the Overhill towns from the late 1740s until 1788. It replaced Tanasi as the de facto capital,or 'mother town' of the Cherokee people.
Tanasi was a historic Overhill settlement site in present-day Monroe County,Tennessee,in the southeastern United States. The village became the namesake for the state of Tennessee. It was abandoned by the Cherokee in the 19th century for a rising town whose chief was more powerful. Tanasi served as the de facto capital of the Overhill Cherokee from as early as 1721 until 1730,when the capital shifted to Great Tellico.
The Cherokee Path was the primary route of English and Scots traders from Charleston to Columbia,South Carolina in Colonial America. It was the way they reached Cherokee towns and territories along the upper Keowee River and its tributaries. In its lower section it was known as the Savannah River. They referred to these towns along the Keowee and Tugaloo rivers as the Lower Towns,in contrast to the Middle Towns in Western North Carolina and the Overhill Towns in present-day southeastern Tennessee west of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Anglo-Cherokee War,was also known from the Anglo-European perspective as the Cherokee War,the Cherokee Uprising,or the Cherokee Rebellion. The war was a conflict between British forces in North America and Cherokee bands during the French and Indian War.
South Carolina was outraged over British tax policies in the 1760s that violated what they saw as their constitutional right to "no taxation without representation". Merchants joined the boycott against buying British products. When the London government harshly punished Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party,South Carolina's leaders joined 11 other colonies in forming the Continental Congress. When the British attacked Lexington and Concord in the spring of 1775 and were beaten back by the Massachusetts Patriots,South Carolina rallied to support the American Revolution. Loyalists and Patriots of the colony were split by nearly 50/50. Many of the South Carolinian battles fought during the American Revolution were with loyalist Carolinians and the part of the Cherokee tribe that allied with the British. This was to General Henry Clinton's advantage. His strategy was to march his troops north from St. Augustine,Florida,and sandwich George Washington in the North. Clinton alienated Loyalists and enraged Patriots by attacking a fleeing army of Patriot soldiers who posed no threat. Enslaved Africans and African Americans chose independence by escaping to British lines where they were promised freedom.
Otacity Ostenaco in the thickly-settled Cherokee township of Tellico. It has been conjectured that he was born into the Ani-waya(Wolf) clan,the one associated in particular with bearing numerous warriors. By his thirties,he had assumed the warrior rank of Utsidihi (Mankiller),and the title of the Tassite of Great Tellico. He then rose to assume the higher Cherokee rank of Cherokee chief warrior or skiagusta,orator,and leading figure in diplomacy with British colonial authorities. The name Otacity
Thomas De Lage Sumter was a U.S. Representative from South Carolina,and a grandson of American Revolutionary War General Thomas Sumter.
Overhill Cherokee was the term for the Cherokee people located in their historic settlements in what is now the U.S. state of Tennessee in the Southeastern United States,on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. This name was used by 18th-century European traders and explorers from British colonies along the Atlantic coast,as they had to cross the mountains to reach these settlements.
Henry Timberlake was a colonial Anglo-American officer,journalist,and cartographer. He was born in the Colony of Virginia and died in England. He is best known for his work as an emissary from the British colonies to the Overhill Cherokee during the 1761–1762 Timberlake Expedition.
Tomotley is a prehistoric and historic Native American site along the lower Little Tennessee River in Monroe County,Tennessee,in the southeastern United States. Occupied as early as the Archaic period,the Tomotley site was occupied particularly during the Mississippian period,which was likely when its earthwork platform mounds were built. It was also occupied during the eighteenth century as a Cherokee town. It revealed an unexpected style:an octagonal townhouse and square or rectangular residences. In the Overhill period,Cherokee townhouses found in the Carolinas in the same period were circular in design,with,
The Battle of Blackstock's Farm,an encounter of the American Revolutionary War,took place in what today is Union County,South Carolina,a few miles from Cross Anchor,on November 20,1780.
The High Hills of Santee,sometimes known as the High Hills of the Santee,is a long,narrow hilly region in the western part of Sumter County,South Carolina. It has been called "one of the state's most famous areas". The High Hills of Santee region lies north of the Santee River and east of the Wateree River,one of the two rivers that join to form the Santee. It extends north almost to the Kershaw county line and northeasterly to include the former summer resort town of Bradford Springs. Since 1902 the town has been included in Lee County.
Citico is a prehistoric and historic Native American site in Monroe County,Tennessee,in the southeastern United States. The site's namesake Cherokee village was the largest of the Overhill towns,housing an estimated Indian population of 1,000 by the mid-18th century. The Mississippian village that preceded the site's Cherokee occupation is believed to have been the village of "Satapo" visited by the Juan Pardo expedition in 1567.
Tallassee is a prehistoric and historic Native American site in present-day Blount and Monroe counties,Tennessee in the southeastern United States. Tallassee was the southernmost of a string of Overhill Cherokee towns that existed along the lower Little Tennessee River on the west side of the Appalachian Mountains in the 18th century. Although Tallassee receives scant attention in primary historical accounts,it is one of the few Overhill towns to be shown on every major 18th-century map of the Little Tennessee Valley.
Elijah Isaacs (1730–1799) was a farmer,politician from Wilkes County,North Carolina,and militia officer in Wilkes County Regiment of the North Carolina militia during the American Revolution.
The Siege of Fort Loudoun was an engagement during the Anglo-Cherokee War fought from February 1760 to August 1760 between the warriors of the Cherokee led by Ostenaco and the garrison of Fort Loudoun composed of British and colonial soldiers commanded by Captain Paul Demeré.
The Timberlake Expedition was an excursion into the Overhill Cherokee lands west of the Appalachian Mountains,which took place in 1761 following the Anglo-Cherokee War. Its purpose was to renew and solidify friendship between Colonial Americans and the Cherokee People following the three-year war. The endeavor is named after the commander of the expedition,Henry Timberlake.
The Treaty of Dewitts Corner ended the initial Overhill Cherokee targeted attacks on colonial settlements that took place at the beginning of the American Revolution. A peace document signed by the Cherokee and South Carolina,the treaty instead laid the foundation for the decades long Cherokee–American wars fought between the European-Americans and the Chickamauga Cherokee people.
17. Oscar E. Gilbert and Catherine R. Gilbert, page 194. ISBN 978-1-61200-328-3, True for the Cause of Liberty: The Second Spartan Regiment in the American Revolution
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