John Geddes (politician)

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John Geddes (December 25, 1777 – March 4, 1828) was the 47th Governor of South Carolina from 1818 to 1820.


Early life and career

Born in Charleston, Geddes was the son of a merchant and received his education at the College of Charleston. He then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1797. Afterwards, Geddes became active with the South Carolina militia as a Cavalry Major and later as a Major General.

Political career

In 1808, Geddes won election to the South Carolina House of Representatives and became Speaker of the House for two years. He was a member of the House of Representatives until his election to the South Carolina Senate in 1816. The General Assembly chose Geddes to be the Governor of South Carolina in 1818 for a two-year term because of his strong Republican views.

Later life and career

Upon leaving the governorship in 1820, Geddes was given the position of Brigadier General of the South Carolina militia. In 1821, he purchased the island of Key West from a sloop trader, but could not secure the rights of the island before John W. Simonton, who also claimed the island and was helped by some influential friends in Washington, D.C. He remained active in politics and ran for mayor of Charleston in 1823, serving from 1824 to 1825. Having felt that his honor was insulted by Edward P. Simons during the campaign, Geddes challenged Simons to a duel. Simons managed to fire four shots, two hitting Geddes' son in both of his thighs, but the duel resulted in Simons' death. Geddes died in Charleston on March 4, 1828 and was buried at the Scotch Presbyterian Churchyard.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Pickens
Governor of South Carolina
1818 – 1820
Succeeded by
Thomas Bennett, Jr.