Portrait by Rembrandt Peale (c. 1795)
| 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|
|Born||August 14, 1734|
Hanover County, Province of Virginia
|Died||June 1, 1832 97) (aged|
near Stateburg, South Carolina
|Resting place||Thomas Sumter Memorial Park, Sumter County, South Carolina|
|Branch/service||Virginia provincial militia|
South Carolina state militia
|Years of service|
|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 War of Independence, 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 "Carolina 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, Province of Virginia.Little is known of his parentage. Given just a rudimentary education on the frontier, the young Sumter served in the Virginia militia.
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. He subsequently 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.
Sumter acquired the nickname "Carolina Gamecock" during the American Revolution, for his fierce fighting tactics. After the Battle of Blackstock's Farm, British General 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.
Sumter's 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.
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, "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 "Fighting 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 and a member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.
Tuskegee was an Overhill Cherokee town located along the 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, when it was evacuated and probably burned during the Cherokee–American wars. Tuskegee is best known as the birthplace of the Cherokee craftsman Sequoyah.
Chota is a historic Overhill Cherokee town site in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Developing after nearby Tanasi, from the late 1740s until 1788, Chota was the most important of the Overhill towns, replacing Tanasi as the de facto capital of the Cherokee people.
Tanasi was a historic Overhill Cherokee village site in present-day Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The village was the namesake for the state of Tennessee. Abandoned by the Cherokee in the 19th century, since 1979 the town site has been submerged by the Tellico Lake impoundment of the Little Tennessee River. Tanasi served as the de facto capital of the Cherokee from as early as 1721 until 1730, when the capital shifted to Great Tellico.
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 Indian tribes during the French and Indian War. The British and the Cherokee had been allies at the start of the war, but each party had suspected the other of betrayals. Tensions between British-American settlers and the Cherokee increased during the 1750s, culminating in open hostilities in 1758.
The Cherokee–American wars, also known as the Chickamauga Wars, were a series of raids, campaigns, ambushes, minor skirmishes, and several full-scale frontier battles in the Old Southwest from 1776 to 1795 between the Cherokee and American settlers on the frontier. Most of the events took place in the Upper South. While the fighting stretched across the entire period, there were extended periods with of little or no action.
Otacity Ostenaco, also known by the honorific epithet Judd's Friend, was a Cherokee skiagusta, orator, and leading figure in diplomacy with British colonial authorities. The name Otacity (Utsidihi) was a warrior's title he had earned at an early age; he also used the English translation Mankiller.
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 west 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 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 in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Occupied as early as the Archaic period, the Tomotley site had the most substantial periods of habitation during the Mississippian period, likely when the earthwork mounds were built and later during the mid to late eighteenth century as a refugee village of Cherokee from the Lower, Middle and Valley towns.
The Stateburg Historic District is a historic district in Stateburg, in the High Hills of Santee area near Sumter, South Carolina in the United States. It includes two National Historic Landmarks, Borough House Plantation and the Church of the Holy Cross, and at least eight contributing properties within its boundaries. On February 24, 1971, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The historic district extends north and east of the town of Stateburg as far north as Meeting House Road and as far east as South Carolina Highway 441, covering an area of 5,066 acres (20.50 km2).
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 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 Blount County and Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Tallassee was the southernmost of a string of Overhill Cherokee villages that spanned the lower Little Tennessee River in the 18th century. Although it receives scant attention in primary historical accounts, Tallassee is one of the few Overhill towns to appear on every major 18th-century map of the Little Tennessee Valley.
The Cherokee people of the southeastern United States, and later Oklahoma and surrounding areas, have a long military history. Since European contact, Cherokee military activity has been documented in European records. Cherokee tribes and bands had a number of conflicts during the 18th century with European colonizing forces, primarily the English. The Eastern Band and Cherokees from the Indian Territory fought in the American Civil War, with bands allying with the Union or the Confederacy. Because many Cherokees allied with the Confederacy, the United States government required a new treaty with the nation after the war. Cherokees have also served in the United States military during the 20th and 21st centuries.
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 Rutherford Light Horse expedition was a punitive military excursion launched against the Lower, Middle, and Overhill Cherokee settlements of the Cherokee Indians in the Appalachian region of North Carolina. This was in retaliation for the Native Indian attacks made against the European American settlements of the Watauga Association in July 1776, in an early action of the American War of Independence. The expedition, which took place on the American frontier and resulted in the destruction of six Cherokee towns, ran from October 17 until November 16, 1776. The adventure only concluded when the troop was forced to turn back due to a lack of supplies. It was led by Captain William Moore of the 2nd Rowan County Regiment, acting directly under the command of Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford.
The Treaty of Dewitts Corner ended the initial Overhill Cherokee town attacks which took place at the beginning of the American Revolution. Signed between the Cherokee and South Carolina, the treaty helped lay the foundation for the decades long Cherokee–American wars fought between the European-Americans and the Chickamauga Cherokee people.
|Wikisource has the text of The New Student's Reference Work article about " Thomas Sumter ".|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from South Carolina's 4th congressional district
March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1793
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from South Carolina's 4th congressional district
March 4, 1797 – December 15, 1801
| U.S. senator (Class 2) from South Carolina |
Served alongside: John C. Colhoun, Pierce Butler, John Gaillard
| Oldest living U.S. Senator |
November 14, 1819 – June 1, 1832