Born in 1868 near Newberry, Governor Coleman L. Blease (1868-1942) attended local schools and Georgetown University, from which he received a law degree in 1889. He practiced law in Newberry. Very active politically, Blease was elected to both the state House of Representatives and the Senate, and served as Speaker Pro Tempore and President Pro Tempore. He also served as the Mayor of Helena, South Carolina, in 1897, and Mayor of Newberry in 1909 through 1910. Blease was elected governor in 1910 and reelected in 1912. As governor, he pardoned over 2000 criminals, and exercised his veto power freely. Blease possessed an abrasive, charismatic personality. He was adored by most South Carolinians, who felt he was supporting the "little man." Blease engaged in a number of arguments with other state officials concerning states' rights. During his administration, the state medical college was established in Charleston. Blease resigned as governor five days prior to the end of his term and returned to his law practice. On several other occasions, he ran for governor but was defeated in each attempt. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1924. Blease died in Columbia in 1942.
Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.