Richard Hutson

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Date: 1936
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Biography
Length: 471 words
Content Level: (Level 3)
Lexile Measure: 1000L

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About this Person
Born: 1748 in South Carolina, United States
Died: 1795
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Hutson, Richard (July 9, 1748 - Apr. 12, 1795), jurist, was the son of Rev. William and Mary (Woodward) Hutson, the widow of Isaac Chardon. His father, an English law student turned actor, was converted by Whitefield, and served from 1743 to 1757 as the minister of the Independent Church at Stoney Creek, in what was later Beaufort District, S. C. In the latter year he was called to the Independent Congregational Church in Charleston. Richard was graduated from Princeton in 1765, and for a time was uncertain what to do with himself. When he studied law is not known. At the outset of the Revolution he was on his plantation on Stono River, St. Andrew's Parish. He had rejoiced in the resistance to the Stamp Act, and remained throughout the war one of the uncompromising Revolutionists. He served in the militia during the British attack on Charleston in 1776. In the same year he was elected to the Assembly, and by that body in turn to the legislative council. True to his upbringing, he took an active part in the disestablishment of the Anglican Church. From January 1778 to February 1779 he was delegate to the Continental Congress, though not actually present until Apr. 13, and signed the Articles of Confederation. Returned to the lower house of the Assembly in the election of December 1779, he was made a member of the privy council. After the fall of Charleston, he was one of the political leaders arrested and was imprisoned at St. Augustine from September 1780 to July 1781. While there he is said to have added Spanish to the list of languages in which he was proficient. He was elected to the Assembly which met in January 1782 at Jacksonborough, and in that month became lieutenant-governor. The next year he was chosen as the first intendant of the city of Charleston. On the organization of the chancery or equity court in 1784 he, John Rutledge, and John Mathews [qq.v.] were elected the first chancellors. He became senior judge of this court in 1791, and resigned in 1793. He sat as a member for St. Andrew's in the state convention which ratified the United States Constitution in 1787, and in the House of Representatives in 1789. In both his votes were with the conservative dominant class of the low country. Family tradition claims that he was ruined by his patriotism in voluntarily taking paper money at the close of the Revolution; but he continued to live on his plantation and in 1790 had seventeen slaves. He died in Charleston, unmarried. His will and his few extant letters indicate that he was quiet, religious, much interested in charity, and strongly attached to his family. As an official he evidently enjoyed to an unusual degree the confidence of the public.


[Material on Hutson's life further than the bare official record of his public service is of the scantiest. There is a sketch in a genealogy of the Hutson family in the S. C. Hist. and Geneal. Mag., July 1908. See also George Howe, Hist. of the Presbyt. Ch. in S. C., I (1870), 247-49, 264; Year Book--1884; City of Charleston, S. C. (1884), p. 163, 1895, pp. 313-25; Journal of House of Representatives of S. C. (MS.), 1789, esp. minutes of Jan. 23, Feb. 2, and 20; E. C. Burnett, Letters of Members of the Continental Cong., vols. III (1926), IV (1928); Journal of Convention of S. C. (1928); Edward McCrady, The Hist. of S. C. in the Revolution, 1775-1780 (1901), 1780-1783 (1902); Gazette of S. C., Dec. 8, 1779; Heads of Families, First Census of the U. S.; 1790: State of S. C. (1908), p. 34; J. B. O'Neall, Biog. Sketches of the Bench and Bar of S. C. (1859), vol. I.]

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Gale Document Number: GALE|BT2310010639