William Jones Lowndes (1782-1822)

William Lowndes, U.S. Congressman from South Carolina

Associated Houses

Lowndes Grove


He was born at the Horseshoe Plantation near Charleston and was educated in England before graduating from Charleston College. An outstanding orator, he entered politics in 1804 when he was elected to the General Assembly and supported bills that prohibited the import of slaves and favored establishing public schools. He was a Democratic-Republican, but a vocal opponent of Thomas Jefferson, and an ardent Nationalist. In 1810, he was elected to the U.S. Congress where he strongly supported going to war with Britain in 1812. He twice turned down offers to serve as Secretary of War, and neither did he accept diplomatic appointments to Russia, Turkey, and France. He was nominated for Speaker of the House in 1820, but lost the election by a single vote. In 1821, the South Carolina General Assembly nominated Lowndes for the U.S. Presidency, but to avoid damaging the chances of his friend, John Calhoun, he politely turned down the offer. Soon afterwards he resigned from politics and for the benefit of his health travelled north before sailing to London. He died at sea. In 1802, he had married Elizabeth, a daughter of Governor Pinckney, and they were the parents of three children. 


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 12/08/2020 and last updated on 12/08/2020.