Thomas Boone

Royal Governor of South Carolina Province 1761 to 1764

Thomas Boone was governor of New Jersey and Royal Governor of South Carolina (1761-1764). He was appointed governor of New Jersey in 1760, was succeeded by Thomas Hardy the following year, and was appointed governor of South Carolina in April of 1761, but arrived in Charles Town on December 22, 1761 and took the oaths of office. In May of 1764, Governor Thomas Boone sailed for London, never to return to South Carolina.

He incensed the people of South Carolina by interfering with the elective franchise, claiming the exclusive right to administer the oath, and assuming the power to reject members whom the Commons House of Assembly had declared to be regularly elected. The representatives in the legislature, led by Laurens, Gadsden, Lynch, Pinckney, and the Rutledges, refused to hold any discussions with him. In 1764, he was superseded by Lt. Governor William Bull, Jr.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned disputes, the population of South Carolina increased significantly during the adminstration of Governor Thomas Boone. The peace with the French and the Spanish, secured by the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763, made the backcountry relatively safe for settlement for the first time. Immigrants began to pour in from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and from Europe.
One of the most widely known and admired persons in the province of South Carolina during the decade preceding the American Revolution was Captain John Stuart (also spelled Stewart in many documents), a descendant of Scotland's royal line. Although an untitled private gentleman, he became the Royal Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern Districts of North America in 1762 largely because of the most amazing example of friendship between an Indian and a white man ever recorded. Captain Stuart was appointed to this post based on a recommendation by South Carolina Governor Thomas Boone.

By the 1760s, the job market for Indian traders had become glutted, prompting traders to resort to dangerous practices, such as increasing rum sales among the southern tribes. There is also a subtle shift in the goals of traders. Although the tribes already were saturated with debt, traders continued to extend credit in hopes of gaining land in the near future.

John Stuart's solutions to frontier Indian conflicts were based on his view of the southern Indians as British subjects and his prioritizing of frontier order over profit. Stuart's pro-Indian bias even led him to support a plan to allow southern Indians to adjudicate their own disputes with whites. These kinds of approaches increasingly agitated Stuart's former supporters such as Governor Thomas Boone.

For immigrants who were expected as a result of bounty encouragement, three square-shaped townships were laid out in 1762 west of Ninety-Six: Boonesborough; Hillsborough, 28,000 acres centering near where Long Canes enters Little River and containing the town of New Bordeaux; and Belfast (later often called Londonborough), comprising 22,000 acres and lying on both sides of Hardlabour Creek above its junction with Cuffeetown Creek.

The survey of Boonesborough Township was certified on December 20, 1762 with the township covering 20,500 acres. The Boonesborough name was in honor of the new Royal Governor of South Carolina, Thomas Boone, who had taken office on December 22, 1761. Patrick Calhoun, a pious Scot who had lived for some time in Virginia, was heavily involved in settling this group of Presbyterian Scots who had moved to Ulster (Northern Ireland) from Scotland. The settlers wanted fertile land, watered by springs or fronting on creeks, land described as "lying well." They wanted convenient access to their land and routes to get their farm products and livestock to markets. The land selected for them was bountifully supplied with creeks, lying on the headwaters of Long Cane Creek, and included parts of the watersheds for the Chickasaw River, Park's Creek, and a bit of Turkey Creek.

Boonesborough Township never actually developed into a township as the name implies. The towns of Donalds and Due West eventually became established in the area. Donalds formed in 1842 and is located on what was the north corner of Boonesborough. Due West became a town in the western corner of what was Boonesborough.

On April 5, 1763, South Carolina Governor Thomas Boone began to grant Georgia land south of the Altamaha, mostly to speculators but some to wealthy friends. On May 30, 1763, the Board of Trade, ruling English authority in the matter, instructed South Carolina Governor Thomas Boone to cease granting Georgia land and withdrawing the land he had already granted.
The spirit of insolence was most offensively manifested by Governor Thomas Boone to the whole legislature of South Carolina, and Mr. Christopher Gadsden was, accidentally, an interested party in the transaction.

It had pleased Governor Thomas Boone to recommend an alteration of the election laws of the provinces. The Commons House of Assembly, not agreeing with the views of the governor, made no change in the law. During the session, some time after the orgainzation of the House, Mr. Christopher Gadsden presented himself for qualification as a member for St. Paul's Parish. After his credentials were approved by the Commons House of Assembly, he was, according to an old custom, sent to the governor to take before him what was called the "state oaths," viz: an oath of allegiance to the King, and an oath abjuring all cognizance of the right of the Stuart family. When he presented himself before Governor Thomas Boone, the latter not only refused to recognize him on account of the invalidity of his election, but dissolved the Commons House of Assembly for contumacy.

In thus determining against the validity of Christopher Gadsden's election, Governor Boone violated all parliamentary law, and established a personal despotism. In the next Commons House of Assembly, which met in December of that year, 1762, Christopher Gadsden was again elected a member. The Assembly immediately protested against the illegality of the late dissolution; and as the governor would make no concessions, they declared that they would transact no business with him until he should concede the just claims of the House; and this state of defiance continued for two years, until Governor Boone, wearied with the contest, left the province, and went home.

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