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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 580

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This is the grave of Wade Hampton, II.

Wade Hampton II is the son of the famed Revolutionary War leader and the father of the post-Civil War scumbag Wade Hampton III. And look, Hampton II was a South Carolina slaver with all that meant. He was born in 1791, was educated in elite schools, owned humans, built up his plantations to own even more humans, served in the War of 1812, and was an aide to Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. He became one of the largest slavers in the United States by the 1830s. He owned thousands of people in multiple states. He still had his plantations in South Carolina but also had a huge plantation in Mississippi that had about 335 slaves by 1860 (shortly after his 1858 death) and a home in the mountains of western North Carolina. There’s not much good to say about the man.

But there is one interesting thing about Hampton II, something that really speaks to the putrid, corrupt, and morally abhorrent behavior of the reactionary southern elite. His sister-in-law married James Henry Hammond, another South Carolina slaver elite who was later a senator. But here’s the thing–Hammond liked raping women. He liked raping his slaves too, but of course that was completely acceptable in southern society. Hampton and his wife had four daughters, in addition to their awful son and his namesake. And Hammond openly bragged about raping all four of Hampton’s daughters, writing of his “familiarities and dalliances” with them, which in the language of the mid-19th century was extremely explicit. Hampton, as you can imagine, was horrified and outraged as any father would be. So he went public with it. The response from the rest of the South Carolina elite was that Hammond’s behavior was unfortunate but not social death and Hampton’s was not OK at all. It was in 1843 that the allegations came out. Hammond’s career was delayed but not derailed. The South Carolina legislature sent Hammond to the Senate in 1856 since he was not only a rapist but also a fireeating defender of slavery as a gift from God, which was far more important to the South Carolina elite than a little sexual assault. Hampton’s daughters were considered tainted and not a one of them ever married.

Wade Hampton II died in 1858. He is buried in Trinity Episcopal Church, Columbia, South Carolina.

This grave visit was sponsored by LGM readers. I don’t think anyone actually is happy to read a post like this, but it’s also important to realize the depravity of these people. If you would like this series to visit other slavers of the region, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. James Henry Hammond, who was a real scumbag even if he wasn’t a rapist too, is in Beech Island, South Carolina and Alexander Stephens is in Crawfordville, Georgia. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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