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Sumter was involved with both militia battles and Congress during the American Revolution, while also participating in peace ceremonies with Cherokee tribe members.
After being recognized as the fierce Carolina Gamecock during his military service, he later ran for and eventually served in the US Senate. His tomb is located within a community of single-family homes on Acton Road.
Early Life and Education
Loom was known for his big heart, which he shared generously with family and friends alike. He will be greatly missed by all those he touched; his sense of humor will be greatly missed, along with playing cards or watching sports such as football or basketball.
As soon as war broke out between France and India, he joined his provincial militia unit. Soon thereafter he rose through its ranks, being named sergeant. Additionally he served as delegate at both of Charles Town’s Provincial Congresses held between 1775-1776 before becoming lieutenant colonel commandant of one rifle regiment.
Sumter earned himself the name Carolina Gamecock during the Revolutionary War for his fierce and effective fighting tactics. General Banastre Tarleton described Sumter as an “annoying nuisance”, prompting him to resign his commission in 1780.
He was an active participant in the War of 1812, serving in both state legislature and as an elected state senator. A popular speaker, and known for having an immense compassion for others. He enjoyed making people laugh with his hilarious speeches; also an avid sports fan!
He studied at Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio with influential speakers and developed his preaching style under their instruction. While travelling across America on horseback preaching self-reliance and self-control to audiences across the nation, he earned himself a reputation as an eloquent orator with an authoritative voice.
Sumter returned to South Carolina and quickly joined Greene’s army as a brigadier general, though his first campaign proved futile. At Fishdam Ford he inspired a Patriot uprising which sent shockwaves through Cornwallis. Sumter was sent on another mission–raising a mounted militia with pay from loyalist loot taken during previous campaigns.
Achievement and Honors
Brandon Middleton, an alumnus of Morris College, has been nominated as one of the 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year nominees.
Henry Sumter was a graduate of Mercer University who had earned honorary memberships with Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Sigma Iota honor societies as well as two-time recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships. On March 11, he passed away peacefully in Paterson, New Jersey.
By 1781, Sumter had become a major general and established an able and loyal militia unit. Hoping to help Greene with his attack on Orangeburg by attacking Fort Granby instead, but was disappointed when Francis Marion instead chose Hobkirk’s Hill as his target instead of attacking Fort Granby. Dismayed at this development, he devised his controversial plan for raising troops; it proved successful but also set off civil war and left a bitter legacy behind that dogged his legacy throughout his life.
In 1776, Sumter was appointed colonel of a militia regiment and took part in the war against Britain. His campaigning contributed significantly to Lord Cornwallis deciding not to invade Carolinas anymore.
Sumter was not only a strong patriot but was also active in politics, serving multiple terms at both the state convention and Congress. He earned himself the moniker “The Carolina Gamecock” due to an extravagantly decorated cock feather on his hat which earned him this moniker.
General Greene needed reinforcements but could not send messengers himself due to his poor health. Emily Geiger, his eighteen-year-old daughter overheard some friends discussing the dilemma and offered to send the message on his behalf. With horse and guide in tow, Emily rode all night before arriving at Greene’s camp and courageously gave the news.
Sumter was a successful entrepreneur who owned multiple business ventures and a plantation. Additionally, he served in both the House of Representatives and Senate for five terms without necessarily consecutively serving all five. Sumter also played a prominent role in the American Revolutionary War.
Hunting, fishing, bowling and camping were among his many hobbies. A member of Westside Baptist Church, he leaves behind his wife Tonna R. Sumter; children Kiava, Dominick and Myeisha as well as brother Howard Sumter and sister Quilette Bracey along with many loving relatives and friends.
He was laid to rest on South Mount Plantation near Stateburg, SC and his grave marked with a large monument. A true American hero and man of many talents, his memory will long be revered by future generations.