South Caroliniana Library
HARPER, William (1790-1847)

HARPER, WILLIAM, a Senator from South Carolina; born on the island of Antigua, West Indies, January 17, 1790; immigrated to the United States with his parents, who settled in Charleston, and later in Columbia, S.C., in the 1790s; attended the common schools, Mount Bethel Academy, and Jefferson Monticello Seminary; graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) at Columbia in 1808; studied medicine for a time in Charleston and later studied law; admitted to the bar in 1813 and commenced the practice of law in Columbia; trustee of South Carolina College in 1813; member, State house of representatives 1816-1817; moved to Missouri in 1818; chancellor of the State of Missouri 1819-1823; member of the State constitutional convention in 1821; returned to Columbia, S.C., in 1823; reporter of the State supreme court 1823-1825; appointed as a Jacksonian to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Gaillard and served from March 8 to November 29, 1826, when a successor was elected; practiced law in Charleston; member, State house of representatives 1827-1828, serving as speaker; chancellor of the State of South Carolina 1828-1830; returned to Columbia, S.C.; appointed judge of the court of appeals 1830-1835; member of the State convention in 1832 and 1833 (known as the Nullification Convention); again chancellor of the State from 1835 until his death in Fairfield District, S.C., October 10, 1847; interment in Means Family Burial Ground, Fairfield County, S.C.

Boston Public Library
Boston, MA
Papers: 1 item.

University of South Carolina
South Caroliniana Library
Columbia, SC
Papers: 1847. 2 items. Includes sketch of his life. Also a portrait bust.

  • Harper, William. "Memoir on Slavery.'' In The Pro-Slavery Argument, as Maintained by the Most Distinguished Writers of the Southern States, pp. 1-98. 1852. Reprint. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968.