Wade HamptonThe election of Abraham Lincoln President of the United States in 1860, in the minds of most South Carolinians, meant war against the South in the near future was certain.

No one wanted to avoid war more than Wade Hampton III, who had become one of the more successful planters in the region.

By that time, probably to please his father, Wade had entered politics. He had been elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and after one two-year term had made a successful run for the State Senate.

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Honor was a sacred trust for a Southern Gentleman. The third Wade Hampton had been taught that he had certain obligations to his race, class and region. At all times, and especially when facing adversity, he was expected to behave as a gentleman– sober, self-composed and most of all, polite. He was expected to uphold his family’s honor and never allow his actions to tarnish the Hampton name.

Young Wade III was quite protective of his 4 teenage sisters who spent much of their youth without the guidance of a mother. One situation within the extended family came close to sparking drastic action by Wade, who had the strength of character to rely on self-discipline to save the day.

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Wade Hampton III

General Wade Hampton III led the Second American Revolution in South Carolina in 1876, one hundred years after the first American Revolution in which his grandfather participated. The first Wade Hampton grew up on the Tyger River in what is now Spartanburg County, just east of Greer, across the river from the current Tab’s Flea Market.

A unique stone monument with engraved granite marker stands beside Wade Hampton Boulevard near where the Hampton family carved out a farm in the wilderness and began to make their mark on South Carolina and American History. The monument was erected by the Stonewall Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1933.

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Wade Hampton Memorial Statue in Columbia, SC.
Wade Hampton Memorial Statue in Columbia, SC.

A high school and a major highway in Greenville County, South Carolina carries the name of Wade Hampton. A statue of the man, larger than life mounted on a horse, stands proudly on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol. Members of the Hampton-Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) honor his memory in the Upstate to this day. Yet few South Carolinians and virtually no newcomers to the state and region know very much about this historical figure, his contributions and sacrifices and ultimately, the impact his life has had on the history of the Palmetto State.

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