John Calhoun Sheppard

52nd Governor of the State of South Carolina 1886

Date Born: July 5, 1850

Date Died: October 7, 1931

Place Born: Edgefield District, SC

Place Buried: Willowbrook Cemetery, Edgfield, SC

Residence: Edgefield Court House, SC

Occupation: Lawyer

Bethany Academy in the Edgefield District

Furman University: Honorary degree awarded 1925

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1876-1882

Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina: 1882-1886

Governor of South Carolina: 1886

South Carolina Senate: 1898-1904, 1919-1920

On July 10, 1886, Lieutenant Governor Sheppard succeeded to office following the resignation of Governor Hugh Smith Thompson and served until November 30, 1886 when Gov. John Peter Richardson, Jr. took office.

Governor John Calhoun Sheppard served only five months

John Calhoun Sheppard was born on July 5, 1850 in the Edgefield District, the son of James Sheppard and Sarah Louisa (Mobley) Sheppard. His preparation education was mostly at the Bethany Academy in Edgefield District. He then attended Furman University, and after studying law, he was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1871.

John Calhoun Sheppard then entered into a lucrative law partnership with LeRoy F. Youmans at Edgefield Court House (later, simply Edgefield). Three years later, Youmans moved to Columbia, Sheppard continued on his own for another year, then was joined by his brother Orlando Sheppard.

In 1876, John Calhoun Sheppard was first elected as one of five men to represent Edgefield County in the House of Representatives of the:
- 52nd General Assembly that met from 1876-1878 - elected Speaker of the House after W.H. Wallace resigned
- 53rd General Assembly that met from 1878-1880 - elected Speaker of the House
- 54th General Assembly that met from 1880-1882 - elected Speaker of the House

On December 7, 1877 Sheppard was elected the Speaker of the House when his father-in-law, William Henry Wallace, resigned as Speaker to accept an open circuit judgeship. He was the youngest man to ever be Speaker of the House in South Carolina, except for Henry Clay. He had been a strong supporter of Martin Witherspoon Gary in his gubernatorial campaign of 1880 which got him noticed by those opposed to the Conservative wing of the state Democratic party.

In 1879, John Calhoun Sheppard married Helen Elizabeth Wallace, daughter of Judge William Henry Wallace and Sarah Louisa (Dunlap) Wallace, and they had seven known children.

In 1882, Sheppard was placed on the Democratic statewide ticket for the post of Lieutenant Governor and easily won election and re-election in 1884. When Gov. Hugh Smith Thompson resigned on July 10, 1886 to be the U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Sheppard succeeded to the governorship. In the nomination battle to be the Democratic nominee for governor in the election of 1886, he was promoted by Ben Tillman and the News and Courier. Tillman tried to force the delegates of the Farmers' Association to support Sheppard at the Democratic Convention, but they refused and instead John Peter Richardson III emerged as the nominee for governor.

After leaving the governorship on November 30, 1886, he returned to Edgefield Court House and resumed his law practice. Sheppard then became President of the Edgefield Bank of South Carolina. He was mentioned as a potential candidate for governor again in 1890, but Tillman had rigged the Democratic convention to force his nomination for governor. Sheppard continued to remain active in South Carolina politics and participated at the SC Constitutional Convention of 1895.

In the 1898 general election, John Calhoun Sheppard was first elected to represent Edgefield County in the SC Senate of the:
- 63rd General Assembly that met from 1899-1900 - elected President Pro Tempore after Scarborough resigned
- 64th General Assembly that met from 1901-1902 - elected President Pro Tempore
- 65th General Assembly that met from 1903-1904 - elected President Pro Tempore

In 1908, Sheppard was the President of the South Carolina Bar Association.

In 1919, John Calhoun Sheppard was elected in a special election to represent Edgefield County in the SC Senate of the:
- 73rd General Assembly that met from 1919-1920

He replaced SC Senator Benjamin Edward Nicholson who had died in office.

On October 7, 1931, John Calhoun Sheppard died and was buried at Willowbrook Cemetery in Edgefield, SC.

John Calhoun Sheppard was born in Edgefield District, SC. He studied law and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1871. He became a partner in Sheppard Brothers Law Firm in 1875 after practicing law for four years with another firm. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1876 to 1882 (Speaker from 1877 to 1882) and Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina from 1882 until 1886, when he succeeded to the governorship upon the resignation of Gov. Hugh Smith Thompson to become Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. During his brief time in office, Gov. Sheppard was faced with the aftermath of an earthquake that struck Charleston, killing ninety-two people and causing considerable property damage. He was defeated in his effort to secure the nomination for governor in his own right, going on instead to become President of the Edgefield Bank of South Carolina. He was also a member of the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention and served on the SC Board of Pardons. He was a member of the SC Senate for a number of non-consecutive terms, serving as President Pro Tempore for four of those years.

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