John Drayton (1766-1822) served as governor of South Carolina from 1800-1802 and from 1808-1810. The eldest child of William Henry Drayton, he was born at Drayton Hall. He was educated at the College of New Jersey, and the Inner Temple in London between 1779 and 1785, in spite of the Revolutionary War. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1792 until 1798, when he was elected lieutenant governor. The death of Governor Edward Rutledge (see Edward Rutledge) made him governor, a position to which he was elected in his own right in 1800. A strong supporter of education, he pushed the General Assembly to pass the act creating the South Carolina College, and he served as the first president of its board of trustees. The first South Carolina governor to travel extensively in the Upcountry during his tenure in office, he was reelected governor in 1808 after increased representation was given to the Mountainous and Piedmont regions of the state. Portrait from an 1801 pastel by William Williams.
Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.