Christopher Gustavus Memminger (1803-1888) became secretary of the treasury of the Confederacy, and played a key role in financing the Civil War. Born in Germany, he was brought to Charleston by his widowed mother, and was placed in the Charleston Orphanage when his mother also died. Thomas Bennet, governor of South Carolina from 1820-1822, removed him from the orphanage in 1814, and sent him to South Carolina College. After practicing law in Charleston, he was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1836, where he became chairman of the Committee on Finance. Originally a Unionist, Memminger was a member of the Secession Convention, and a delegate from South Carolina to the Southern Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, where he helped draft the Constitution of the Confederate States. He served Jefferson Davis as secretary of the treasury from 1861 until his resignation in June 1864. Pardoned after the war, he returned to his Charleston law practice, and in 1868, organized a phosphate manufacturing company. Miniature, ca. 1823, by Charles Fraser (1782-1860). (See Charles Fraser)
Courtesy of the Gibbes Museum of Art/Carolina Art Association.