Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DRAYTON, William, jurist, born in South Carolina in 1733; died 18 May 1790. After studying law four years in the Middle Temple, London, he returned to this country in 1754, and in 1768 was appointed chief justice of the province of East Florida. He was deprived of his office during the Revolution on account of suspected sympathy with the patriots of his native state, but was afterward reinstated, and spent some time in England with his family. After the close of the war he became judge of the admiralty court of South Carolina, was associate justice of the state from March till October 1789, and in the latter month was appointed the first U. S. judge for the district of South Carolina.
His son, William Drayton, soldier, born in St,. Augustine, Fla., 30 December 1776; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 24 May 1846, was the youngest of ten brothers ; his mother died soon after his birth, and he was brought up as the foster brother of Robert James Turnbull, the champion of nullification. He was educated in England, but returned to his home at his father's death and became an assistant to his brother, Jacob Drayton, then clerk of the court of general sessions in Charleston. He was admitted to the bar in 1797, and before 1812 had an extensive practice. He had become a lieutenant in the "ancient battalion of artillery" in 1801, and at the beginning of the war of 1812, though, as an earnest federalist, he had opposed it, he offered his services to the government, gave up his law practice, and was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 10th U. S. infantry.
He became colonel of the 18th infantry on 25 July 1812, and inspector general on 1 August 1814, and shortly before the close of the war was associated with General Scott and General Macomb in the preparation of a system of infantry tactics which was afterward adopted by the war department. On his resignation, 15 June 1815, the government was about to tender him a brigadier general's commission. He was recorder of Charleston in 1819'24, and was then elected to congress as a Union democrat, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Joel R. Poinsett, who had been appointed U. S. minister to Mexico. He served from 1825 till 1833, and in 1830, though hostile to the tariff, unflinchingly opposed nullification.
He was a warm friend of President Jackson, and was offered by him the portfolio of war after the resignation of General Eaton, and also the English mission, both of which he declined. After the close of his congressional career he retired from public life and removed to Philadelphia, partly influenced by the political differences resulting from his course in the nullification contest. In 1839'40 he was Nicholas Biddle's successor as president of the U. S. bank, and tried to revive it, but retired as soon as he had placed the remaining assets of the bank in the hands of assignees, which he had decided to be the only honest and manly course, though it was unpopular.
Thomas Fenwick Drayton, son of the second William, born in South Carolina about 1807, was originally named Thomas. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1828, and served in garrison in Jefferson barracks, No., and Newport, Kentucky, in 1828'32, and then on topographical duty, but resigned on 15 August 1836, and became a civil engineer in Charleston, Louisville, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. He was also a planter in St. Luke's parish, South Carolina, in 1838'61, was a state senator in 1853'6, and president of the Charleston and Savannah railroad in 1853'61. At the beginning of the civil war he entered the Confederate service, was commissioned brigadier general, and commanded the Confederate troops on Hilton Head Island at the time of the Port Royal expedition, in which his brother, Captain Percival Drayton, commanded a national vessel. After the war General Drayton became a farmer in Georgia, and in 1878 was made president of the South Carolina immigrant association, and removed to Charlotte, N. C.
His brother, Percival Drayton, naval officer, born in South Carolina, 25 August 1812; died in Washington, D. C., 4 August 1865, entered the navy as a midshipman, 1 December 1827, was promoted to lieutenant, 28 February 1838, and served on the Brazilian, Mediterranean, and Pacific squadrons. He was attached to the naval observatory in Washington in 1852, and soon afterward was associated with Commander, afterward Admiral, Farragut in ordnance experiments, forming a close intimacy with that officer that lasted through life. He was made commander, 14 September 1855, took part in the Paraguay expedition of 1858, and in 1860 was on ordnance duty at the Philadelphia navy yard. Though strongly bound by family ties to the seceding states, he rejected all offers of place in the southern confederacy, and remained loyal to the national government. He commanded the "Pocahontas" in the Port Royal expedition, and was afterward transferred to the " Pawnee," in which he made valuable reconnaissance of St. Helena sound and adjacent waters.
He was promoted to captain on 16 July 1862, and in the autumn of that year was ordered to the new Ericsson monitor " Passaic." In this ironclad he bombarded Fort McAllister, and was in the first attack on Sumter under Admiral Du Pont, who spoke in the highest terms, in his last report, of Drayton's " capacity and courage." He afterward became fleet captain of the West Gulf squadron, and commanded Farragut's flagship, the " Hartford," in the battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864. In his detailed report of that action Farragut spoke of Drayton's "coolness and ability," and said:" He is the fleet captain of my squadron, and one of more determined energy, untiring devotion to duty, and zeal for the service, tempered by great calmness, I do not think adorns any navy." Captain Drayton afterward accompanied Farragut to New York, where a formal reception was given to the two officers on 12 December 1864. On 28 April 1865, Captain Drayton was made chief of the bureau of navigation, and died while discharging the duties of that office. He was especially distinguished as a flag officer, and his refined manners and knowledge of languages caused his services in that position to be sought by every commanding officer with whom he sailed.
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