PICKENS COUNTY — The United States of America functions as a Republic under the Constitution. This landmark idea that men had the inalienable right as individuals to be free and live their lives under their own governance was the incentive that propelled the American Revolution.
Today, the Constitution stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world.
“We are pleased that so many mayors in Pickens County understand the importance of the Constitution and are willing to sign the Proclamation to officially recognize and celebrate this great document,” said Anne Kilpatrick, Regent of the Fort Prince George Chapter of DAR.
The tradition of celebrating the Constitution was started many years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1955, the Daughters petitioned Congress to set aside Sept. 17 through Sept. 23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.
The resolution was later adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law #915 on Aug. 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island didn’t send a delegation) met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the new constitution. The resulting document was signed by 39 of the 55 delegates on Sept. 17, 1787.
Jonathan Dayton (New Jersey) at the age of 26, was the youngest person to sign, while Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania) at age 81, was the oldest to sign the Constitution.
Of the 39 delegates who signed the Constitution, four of them were from South Carolina.
Pierce Butler (1744-1822) was appointed one of the state’s first two senators and served until he resigned in 1796. He was appointed a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1803 but resigned (again) before the end of his appointment in 1804.
Butler married Mary Middleton, daughter of a wealthy South Carolinian. However, the couple lost a majority of their wealth in the British occupation of South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. Together they had eight children, two of whom died young.
Charles Pinckney (1757-1824) was elected governor of South Carolina, and also served as a U.S. Senator (1798-1801). He resigned his senate seat to become minister to Spain from 1801-1809, served in the South Carolina state legislature (1810-1814), and then became a member of the House of Representatives where he adamantly opposed the Missouri Compromise.
Charles Pinckney married Mary “Polly” Eleanor Laurens on April 27, 1788. She was the daughter of wealthy and politically powerful South Carolina merchant, Henry Laurens. They had three children.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1825) served as the United States Minister to France during the administration of George Washington and was part of the mission to France during the so-called “XYZ Affair.” The XYZ Affair was a diplomatic incident between the French and United States diplomats that resulted in a limited, undeclared war.
Pinckney began to prepare for a war with France with former President Washington and Alexander Hamilton. However, the situation was resolved before it could come to that. He married Sarah Middleton in 1773, the daughter of Henry Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
After Sarah’s death, he married Mary Stead and she accompanied Charles to Paris when he was appointed Minister to France.
John Rutledge (1739-1800) was a Scots-Irish immigrant who became one of Charleston’s most prominent lawyers. Rutledge married Elizabeth Grimke on May 1, 1763 and they had 10 children. Rutledge was very devoted to his wife and built the John Rutledge House in Charleston for her.
He was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1795, but was not confirmed because of his negative feelings toward the Jay Treaty. The Jay Treaty tried to settle outstanding issues between the United States and Great Britain.
Also, after Elizabeth’s death in 1792, he went into a great depression and resorted to alcohol. The Senate rejected his appointment by a vote of 14 to 10 which effectively ended his career.
DAR is known as one of the largest women’s patriotic organization in the world, with more than 180,000 members and approximately 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. DAR has long promoted patriotism through commemorative celebrations, memorials, scholarships, activities for children, and programs for new immigrants. For more information about DAR and its programs visit www.dar.org or call (202) 628-1776.