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Subject: Manigault
From: Steven J. Coker
Date: September 22, 1998

The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina 
By Arthur Henry Hirsch, Ph.D.
1928, Duke University Press
reprinted 1962 by Archon Books
(pp 228-232)

   No name in South Carolina provincial history is better known than that of
Manigault. Gabriel Manigault combined the labors of merchant, factor, trader,
manufacturer and planter, but made large amounts of money in his foreign
commercial enterprises as well. He was an excellent specimen of the resolute,
self-possessed, thrifty business-man of French extraction. He owned a number of
ships, among which were the "Neptune" and "Sweet Nelly", and was in the habit of
making frequent trips to England, Barbadoes or the northern American ports, in
his own vessels. The "South Carolina Gazette" of the period contains a large
number of advertisements giving evidence of his commercial interests. As
colonial expansion continued and with it new opportunities presented themselves,
he entered with zeal into the general movement among American merchants to
secure better equipment, more efficient vessels and larger ships. After reading
the heart-rending letter of Judith Giton Manigault, replete with pathetic
settings that reveal the hardships of exiles fleeing from a beloved fatherland
and the privations endured on a strange soil, it is a wholesome antidote to read
the will of Gabriel Manigault, at the time of his death one of the three richest
men in America, and the inventory of his property and that of his brother
   Judith Giton, better known as Judith Manigault, born in la Voulte, Languedoc,
France, escaped from her native country in secret with her associates, one of
whom was her mother.[78] Abandoning the house and its furnishings to the enemy,
they reached England by way of Holland.[79] On her arrival in Carolina,
penniless, she married Noe Royer,[80] a weaver, also a refugee for conscience'
sake. She tells how with her husband she grubbed the land, helped fell the trees
and with him operated the whip-saw. For periods of six months at a time they had
no bread, in fact saw no bread. In this toil and hardship lay the foundation of
what was to become one of the largest fortunes in America prior to the American
Revolution. In the rich Santee soil they secured their start. On the death of
her first husband, she married Pierre Manigault in 1699,[81] who with his
brother Gabriel had emigrated to Carolina after the repeal of the Edict of
Nantes. These two brothers brought money with them, but it was quite limited in
amount. Pierre's first step On reaching Carolina was either to purchase or to
rent a small property and take boarders and lodgers.[82] While his wife was
occupied with the details of this part of their work, he built a distillery and
a cooperage. Having become familiar in France with these industries he soon
built up a good business and before long doubled his capacity in the erection of
another distillery. From the earnings of these activities he set himself up in
business, building massive warehouses in Charles Town harbor and retail stores
on her principal streets. He was among the first refugees to prosper. When he
died, in 1729, he left to his two heirs, a son Gabriel and a daughter, Mrs.
Judith Banbury, several storehouses and warehouses, two distilleries, a city lot
and dwelling as well as considerable other property, such as slaves, a
cooperage, and ready cash.[83] Gabriel Manigault's share of the property thus
accumulated by his father formed the basis for the fortune that Gabriel was to
possess later. Like his father he maintained great warehouses and stores where a
wholesale and retail business was carried on, principally with the West Indies,
England, and La Rochelle, dealing in the main in negroes, liquors, clayed
sugars, clothing, bricks, building material, and grain. In 1754, following the
popular tide, he invested large amounts of money in indigo and rice plantations,
in which, with large numbers of slaves to work the land, he became increasingly
prosperous.[84] That he was also an inveterate money lender is evidenced in the
advertisements of the South Carolina Gazette, as well as the numerous bonds and
other commercial papers still in the possession of Mrs. Josephine Jenkins, of
Adams Run, South Carolina. At the time of his death his estate was valued at
$845,000.[85] His estate consisted of 47,532 acres of land, including the
Johnson barony of 14,000 acres. There were 490 slaves, store houses in Charles
Town, residences and vacant lots and large sums of money represented in notes,
bonds, mortgages, etc.[86] Gabriel Manigault was all through his mature life a
prominent figure in South Carolina. As a member of the Assembly, as Public
Treasurer and Receiver General, as one of the founders of the Charles Town
Library Society, and, as its Vice-President and President, he figured in no
small way in the political and cultural as well as the financial development of
the commonwealth. When in 1753 funds were necessary, he advanced 3,500 for the
use of poor Protestants coming from Europe to settle in South Carolina.[87] In
1763 he was one of the five appointed to carry on trade with the Cherokee
Indians[88] and two years later was made Commissioner of Indian Affairs.[89] He
enlisted in the War of the Revolution at the age of seventy-five and made a loan
of $220,000 to the government, of which only about $40,000 was ever recovered.
Though he was not in the habit of courting favor, he was a general favorite, for
in one of the contested elections in Charles Town, the mechanics walked in
procession to the polls and by a unanimous ballot elected him.[90]
   The manuscript extracts of the diary of Mrs. Gabriel Manigault throw a good
deal of light upon their family history.[91] She was a connoisseur who
entertained South Carolina Governors, members of the Council, wealthy sea
captains and prominent merchants of two continents. She occupied a prominent
place in the audiences of the sessions of the Assembly and made regular visits
to the local theatre, mentioning in her diary the names of plays she attended
and commenting on their merits.
   Their son Peter, born in 1731, was educated in England and traveled
extensively on the continent after his classical education was completed in
Charles Town.[92] On his return to South Carolina he was elected to the Assembly
in 1755 and retained his seat eighteen years. In 1765 he was elected Speaker of
the House, being honored with the position three times. He opposed the
enforcement of the Stamp Act in 1765. When Parliament repealed the Act he wrote
a letter of appreciation to Charles Garth, his representative in London. Until
1773 he was engaged in a general legal practice and brokerage business in
Charles Town, with branches in London.[93] Frail in body, he never became the
great magnate that his father had been. He died in his forty-second year.

77 S. C. Gaz., July 7, 1739; T. H. S. S. C., IV. 54 f ; S. C. Gaz., Oct. 30,
1736; Sept. 6, 1735; Baird, Hug. In America, II. appendix; Ramsay, Hist. S. C.,
6; MS Pr. Ct. Rcd., 1783-86, 135; 1783-97, 434.

78 Letter, Judith M. to brother in Germany, reprint in Baird, Hug. in Am., II.
appendix; or in Ramsay: Hist. S. C., I. 6 f.

79 Ibid.

80 Baird, Hug. in Am., II. 112.

81 She died in 1711. In 1713 Pierre was married again, this time to Anne Reason,
a woman of English parentage. She died in 1727. Pierre died in 1729. See T. H.
S. S. C., IV. 56 f.

82 Ibid.

83 MS Pr. Ct. Rcd., 1671-1727, 216 f. 

84 T. H. S. S. C., IV. 58.

85 MS Pr. Ct. Rcd., 1783-97, 434; 1783-86, 424; T. H. S. S. C., IV. 61-2.

86 T. H. S. S. C., IV. 63.

87 MS Archives Colonial Dames S. C., no. 62; Ramsay, Hist. S. C. II. 501; S. C.
Gaz., Jan. 27, 1733; March 24, 1733; May 30, 1743; Jan. 2, 1775; Cooper,
Statutes, IV. 5.

88 S. C. Gaz., June 4, 1763.

89 Ibid., July 20, 1765.

90 T. H. S. S. C., IV. 36; McCrady, Royal Govt., 403.

91 Preserved in the library of the South Carolina Historical Society is what is
supposed to be a manuscript epitome of the original diary of Mrs. Gabriel

92 MS Letters in possession of the Misses Jervey, Charleston.

93 Col. Dames Archives, no. 62.

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