A look back at the old 7th district

It’s been nearly 80 years since a representative was seated in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, but that will change in two years when the Palmetto State adds a bit of political clout as a result of the 2010 Census.

The last man to hold the seat was Hampton Fulmer, elected in 1921. He served until 1933, when the 7th was eliminated as a result of the 1930 census. Fulmer simply took over the 2nd Congressional District seat at that point and served until his death in 1944.

The 7th district has been eliminated before, as well. The seat was done away with in 1853, as a result of the 1850 census. It was added back in 1883.

Some of the individuals who have held the seat include:

Thomas Moore, the first individual to hold the seat, fought at the pivotal Battle of Cowpens at the age of 16 during the American Revolution. He served as a brigadier general in the War of 1812, and also served in South Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, which existed from 1803 until 1843;

Robert Rhett, who later served in the Confederate Congress;

Robert Smalls, a slave who gained fame for commandeering a Confederate transport ship in Charleston harbor during the Civil War and helping his family to freedom. He is also notable for authored legislation that created in SC the first free and compulsory public school system in America, founded the Republican Party of SC, and played a key role in convincing President Abraham Lincoln to accept black soldiers into the Union army;

William Elliot, who was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 as commissioner of the United States to mark the graves of Confederate dead in the North;

Thomas Miller, a black who served in the SC House and Senate before winning election to the 7th District in the early 1890s. He later became the first president of South Carolina State University, originally known as Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural, and Mechanical College of South Carolina; and

George Murray, the last black Republican from South Carolina, who served from 1893-95 and fought Jim Crow laws and worked as a member of Congress to make the white South and the wider nation aware of black achievements.

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