DUNCAM CLINCH HEYWARD
Duncan Clinch Heyward, governor of South Carolina, was born in Richland County, June 24, 1864. His parents were Edward Barnwell and Catherine Maria Clinch. A few years before the Civil War his father moved from Colleton county to his plantation in Richland county, where the family remained while military operations were in progress in the lower part of the state. His mother was a daughter of General Duncan L. Clinch, of the United States Army, a worthy representative of one of the most prominent families in Georgia. The Heywards have long been distinguished in the history of South Carolina. The first known ancestor in this country was Daniel Heyward, who came from England about 1672. For several generations the Heywards lived in what is known as the lower country, and were extensive rich planters. They were very successful in the management of large plantations upon which large numbers of black laborers were employed. As was the case with many other families in that section of the state, the control of hundreds of slaves and the management of a large estate developed in them the ability and training for command which has brought them to the front in times of war and directing large enterprises of other descriptions since the profits of the rice industry have been reduced by the opening of extensive rice fields in Louisiana and Texas.
In growing up Duncan Clinch Heyward was strong and well. His taste and interests were such as were common to a son of a South Carolina planter. He was fond of hunting, fishing, and horseback riding and in each of these sports he was recognized as an expert. After the was, the family returned to the plantation in Colleton county and within a few years both mother and father died. Thereafter, Duncan Heyward lived with his grandmother, Mrs. Chinch, who spent the winters in Charleston and the summers in the mountains of Georgia, Young Duncan attended private schools in Charleston, the Cheltenham Military academy in Pennsylvania and completed his public education in Washington at Lee University and Lexington University in Virginia.
In Colleton county, 1887, Mr. Heyward took up his ancestral occupation of growing rice on the plantation, which he in part inherited. While conducting his planting operations, he resided at Walterboro. There, he soon became known as a studious, thoughtful, practical and forceful citizen. In the low county the maintenance of military companies of white soldiers in the midst of an overwhelming population of freed blacks was absolutely necessary to help keep peace, and prevent trouble. Mr. Heyward was elected Captain of the Combahee Mounted Riflemen, Troop F, South Carolina Volunteers. He was also a member of Knights of Pythias, of the Masons and Odd Fellows Group. In the Pythian order he rapidly rose from one office to another, until he was made Grand Chancellor of the domain of South Carolina. In this position he formed many warm friendships and attained a popularity which was the beginning of the efforts to make him governor of South Carolina. At the solicitation of his friends, he announced himself a candidate in the fall of 1901, the Democratic primary election being held in the summer of the following year.
His race in 1902 was one of the most remarkable in the history of the state of South Carolina. He had never been a candidate for any political office, and to the vast majority of voters he was personally a stranger. His opponents were men who had been in politics for many years and were generally known by reputation to the electors. Yet, Mr. Heyward had formed a strong organization throughout the state among his personal friends, who exerted themselves in his behalf without reward. As the campaign progressed he was soon looked upon as the leading candidate for the next governor. He went into every county in the state, following the South Carolina custom in which the candidates for state offices, meeting together at gatherings to debate the issues and presenting their plans. In the first Democratic primary election none of the five candidates received the necessary majority, and a second election was held. In this election the candidates to be voted for were Heyward and W. J. Talbert, a former congressman and one of the most experienced politicians in the state. In the first election Heyward received 36,551 votes and Talbert 18,218. In the second primary just two weeks later, Heyward received 50,830 votes and Tolbert 40,494. Heyward was nominated by a majority of 10,336 votes. Mr. Heyward was elected governor without opposition, as the Democratic candidate. He took office on Janurary 22, 1903. At the end of his two year term, he again received the Democratic nomination for governor, this time without opposition. Again, he was elected as governor.
During his administration as governor, Mr. Heyward strengthened his hold on the people of this state, with marked firmness, conservation and good business judgment. Yet, soon after his second election he announced his retirement from politics. He stood strong for education for all, in common schools, and colleges. He recommended the passage of laws against child labor in factories, and urged the enactment of a compulsory education measure, but without success. In the campaign of his first election the whisky question was not an issue, inasmuch as all the candidates agreed to support the dispensary system.
In one of his messages to the general assembly he urged them to make as special appropriation for the enforcement of the law in cases of lynching and similar crimes where hard evidence is difficult to obtain. He pledged his own money for the employment of detectives to secure evidence against white men who were accused of lynching a black man at Eutawville. In all cases of this character he was active in sustaining the prosecuting officials to secure a conviction. His policy had marked effects in bettering the conditions of blacks in South Carolina, by making lynching parties pay for their crimes.
In the fall of 1905 Governor Heyward was elected president of Standard Warehouse Company, a company with a capital of $500,000. with their headquarters in Columbia. He announced that he would be retiring to Columbia, to engage in business at the end of his term as Governor of South Carolina.
Source:Men Of Mark in South Carolina, Volume I
Author:James Calvin Hemphill
Publisher:MEN OF MARK PUBLISHING COMPANY, Of Washington, D.C.