Thomas Heyward Jr.

Thomas Heyward Jr. (1746 - 1809)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Thomas Heyward Jr.
Born in St Luke's Parish, South Carolinamap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [half], [half], [half] and [half]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Jasper County, South Carolina, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 10 Feb 2010
This page has been accessed 1,685 times.

Categories: American Founding Fathers | Signers of the United States Declaration of Independence | Signers of the Articles of Confederation | Heyward Family Cemetery, Old House, South Carolina | South Carolina Militia, American Revolution | Prisoners of War, United States of America, American Revolution.

Thomas Heyward Jr. served in the South Carolina Militia during the American Revolution
Service started:
Service ended:



Thomas Heyward was a planter and lawyer and was one of three signers from South Carolina captured and imprisoned by the British. He was a member of the Continental Congress from 1777-1778. After his involvement in national politics, he returned to South Carolina and became a judge and a member of the state legislature. The British destroyed Heyward’s home at White Hall during the war, and he was held prisoner until 1781. After the war, he served two terms in the state legislature from 1782-1784. Thomas Heyward became the first President of the Agricultural Society of South Carolina.[1]


Thomas Heyward Jr. was a Prisoner of War during the American Revolution.

Thomas Heyward was born to Daniel Heyward and Maria Miles at Old House Plantation in St. Helena Paris. He was the eldest son of a wealthy planter and was, was born in at his father’s home, Old House, in St. Luke’s Parish (now Jasper County) in the Province of South Carolina, about 25 miles north of Savannah, Georgia, on July 28, 1746. Since an uncle named Thomas was living, the younger Thomas Heyward added "Jr." to his name, which was the custom of the times. His father was one of the wealthiest rice planters of his day.[2]

He was in the fifth generation of the Heyward family in America. That family’s pioneer settler, Daniel, was among the early English colonists who came to make a new settlement in Carolina in 1670. He came from Little Eaton, a tiny village near Derby on the west bank of the River Derwent in midlands England, today still a beautiful fertile valley of rolling hills and flood planes.[3]


Heyward, Jr. was a member of the militia of the state and captain of a battalion of artillery in Charleston. He and his battalion participated in William Moultrie's defeat of the British in 1779 at the Battle of Beaufort on Port Royal Island. He was wounded in the battle.
He also took part in the defense of Charleston but was captured and imprisoned in 1780.

Prisoner of War

In 1780 the British plundered his plantation and carried off all of his slaves. When they took Charleston, they captured Heyward /
Later he was sent to a prison in St. Augustine, Florida where he was held until 1781 when he was freed as part of a prisoner exchange[2]
He was one of three South Carolina signers captured and imprisoned during the Siege of Charleston. He was the last to survive among the South Carolina signers.[2][4]


Judge Heyward was married twice, at age 26 and at age 40, and each wife was named Elizabeth. The first Elizabeth, daughter of Col. John and Sarah Gibbes Matthews, born 1753, and whose brother, John, was Governor of South Carolina. They had six children, but only one son, Daniel, survived childhood.

When he was getting ready to be released in 1782, his pregnant wife traveled to Philadelphia to be with him upon his release. While in Philadelphia, Elizabeth went into labor and died in childbirth. She is buried there in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church yard. [5]

Thomas was heartbroken, and did not remarry until 1786, when he took another Elizabeth, the daughter of Col. Thomas and Mary Elliot Savage to be his wife. Together, they had 3 children, and fortunately, all lived to adulthood.

The second Elizabeth, 1769-1833, daughter of Col. Thomas and Mary Elliott Savage of Charleston, S.C., had three children to live to adulthood, Thomas, William and Elizabeth.
There are a number of descendants today in the 21st century surviving his four children Notable descendants include Duncan Clinch Heyward, twice elected Governor of South Carolina (1903-07) and 1937 published author of “Seed of Madagascar”, which relates the story of his rice-planting family; and Dubose Heyward, whose 1920’s novel and later stage play “Porgy”, portrayed blacks without condescension, and was transformed by George Gershwin into the popular opera “Porgy and Bess”, an American musical masterpiece.

Husband: Thomas Heyward
Spouse 1: Elizabeth Matthews[6]
Marriage Date: 1773[7]
  1. Daniel Heyward b: 05 FEB 1774 in White Hall Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina
  2. Mary Marie Heyward b: 08 AUG 1775 in White Hall Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina
  3. Joseph Johnson Heyward b: 27 FEB 1777
  4. Thomas Heyward b: 08 FEB 1778 in White Hall Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina
  5. John Heyward b: JUL 1779 in White Hall Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina
  6. Elizabeth Mathews Heyward b: 1780 in Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina
  7. Thomas Heyward b: 13 AUG 1782 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Husband: Thomas Heyward
Spouse 2: Elizabeth Savage[7]
Marriage Date: 1786[6]
Children: [7]
  1. Thomas Heyward b: 14 JUL 1789 in White Hall, Beaufort, South Carolina
  2. William Heyward
  3. Elizabeth Heyward b: 30 OCT 1794 in White Hall, Beaufort, South Carolina
  4. James Hamilton Heyward b: 17 SEP 1792 in White Hall, Beaufort, South Carolina


Date: April 17, 1809[6][7] [8]
Place: Jasper County, South Carolina[7]
Interment: Heyward Family Cemetery[6][8]

Thomas Heyward, Jr., died on April 17, 1809, at age 63, and was buried next to his father in the family cemetery at Old House, his father’s property near White Hall on the same marshy creek. This cemetery is now a state-designated historic site on S.C. Route 336 in Jasper County, the entrance to which is identified by a roadside historical marker. The state of South Carolina has also marked his grave with a memorial stone and a bust of the Signer.

Whitehall Plantation

Thomas Heyward, Jr., the son of Daniel Heyward, was born at Old House, and became a member of the Second Continental Congress. The manor house at White Hall Plantation, within a stone's throw of Old House, was built between 1771 and 1775, and stood three stories high, including the "flood floor." It was built on a "tabby" foundation, which consisted of oyster shells, bricks and mortar.

The foundations of White Hall are all that remain now. Part of the property burned in 1870 after having survived Sherman's March during the Civil War. The remainder of the house collapsed before 1964, leaving only the foundations standing.

The bricks that form the "grand entrance" are still in place, although they are overgrown with grasses. A massive black walnut tree grows next to the foundation for the ballroom. [9]

The Old House Plantation, was settled 1740 by Daniel Heyward. The plantation included a tidal mill, textile factory and an import-export business. All was destroyed by fire in 1865. The site includes the grave of Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation as a representative of South Carolina.[10]

  • 1733 – Earliest known date of existence

Captain Anthony Mathewes was issued a land grant on December 6, 1733 for 707 acres (2, p. 611). 1791, George Washington used this house as a base of operations 1823 – Edward's brother, Nathaniel Barnwell Heyward, inherited White Hall upon his brother's death (3, p. 226). 1858 – Heyward sold White Hall to the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, holding the mortgage himself (2, p. 613). 1866 – The Civil War destroyed the railroad and Heyward sued for mortgage default. The property was foreclosed on and sold at a sheriff's sale (2, p. 613).[11]

Additional information:

  • The Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by Robert Ferris and Richard Morris, National Park Service
  • Seed of Madagascar, by Duncan Clinch Heyward, UNC Press 1937
  • Heyward, by James Barnwell Heyward II, published privately in 1925.
  • Heyward Family Papers and Records, Rieman McNamara, Jr., DSDI member
  • The Signers of the Declaration of Independence, A Biographical and Genealogical Reference, by Della Gray Barthelmas, McFarland & Co.
  • Lives of the Signers of the Declaration, by B. J. Lossing, a reprint of the 1848 edition of Geo F. Cooledge & Bro.
  • Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, by the Rev Charles A. Goodrich,William Reed & Co,1856 (Colonial


  1. Constitution Facts:Thomas Heyward last accessed 1/24/2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 New World Encylopedia: Thomas Heyward Jr
  3. Signers by State: Thomas Heyward
  4. Biographical Sketches Retrieved September 18, 2008.
  5. Revolutionary War:Thomas Heyward Jr
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 FindAGrave: Thomas Heyward: Memorial ID: 2807 Maintained by: Find A Grave. Added: 28 Apr 1998. Last accessed Feb 25, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 The Early Families of the South Carolina Low County: Thomas Heyward
  8. 8.0 8.1 Thomson, Glendon Bruce. “‘Our Sacred Honor’: The Great Planters of the South Carolina Low Country, 1780-1810.” M. A. Thesis, University of New Brunswick (Canada), 1993; Salley, Alexander Samuel. Delegates to the Continental Congress from South Carolina, 1774-1789. Columbia, S.C.: Printed for the Commission by the State Company, 1927. Died on April 17, 1809, in St. Luke’s Parish, S.C.; interment in the Heyward Family Cemetery, St. Luke's Parish, S.C.
  9. Jasper County Sun Newspaper; Kelly Champlin. Published on Wednesday, May 2, 2012
  10. Wikipedia: Old House

See also:

  • Information about this individual was included in an article titled "Daniel Trezevant, Huguenot, and Some of His Descendents" which appeared in volume 3 (January 1901) of The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine at pages 24 to 56.

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Thomas by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Thomas:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 4
Thomas Heyward Image 1
Thomas Heyward Image 1

Thomas Heyward Image 2
Thomas Heyward Image 2

Thomas Heyward Image 3
Thomas Heyward Image 3

Thomas Heyward Image 4
Thomas Heyward Image 4


Thomas is 27 degrees from Jelena Eckstädt, 14 degrees from Theodore Roosevelt and 14 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

H  >  Heyward  >  Thomas Heyward Jr.