About this Famous Person
Confederate cavalry leader during the American Civil War, 77th Governor from South Carolina
Source : Tim DOWLING
Hampton was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the eldest son of Wade Hampton II (1791–1858), known as "Colonel Wade Hampton", one of the wealthiest planters in the South (and the owner of the largest number of slaves), an officer of dragoons in the War of 1812, and an aide to General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. He was grandson of Wade Hampton (1754–1835), lieutenant colonel of cavalry in the American War of Independence, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and brigadier general in the War of 1812. His uncle, James Henry Hammond, was a member of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as a Governor of South Carolina.
Hampton grew up in a wealthy family, receiving private instruction. He had an active outdoor life, riding horses and hunting, especially at his father's North Carolina summer retreat, High Hampton. He was known for taking hunting trips alone into the woods, hunting American black bears with only a knife. Some accounts credit him with killing as many as 80 bears. In 1836 he graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina), and was trained for the law, although he never practiced. He devoted himself, instead, to the management of his great plantations in South Carolina and Mississippi, and took part in state politics. He was elected to the South Carolina General Assembly in 1852 and served as a Senator from 1858 to 1861. Hampton's father died in 1858 and the son inherited a vast fortune, the plantations, and one of the largest collections of slaves in the South.