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“In the House of REPRESENTATIVES, 1787” Rare South Carolina Payment to “John J. Pringle” as Speaker of the House of Representatives South Carolina for Travel Expense

JOHN JULIUS PRINGLE (1753-1843). South Carolina Politician and lawyer who Published Articles in Defence of Colonial Rights, Speaker of the State Assembly (1787-1789); from 1792 till 1808 he served as District Attorney-General of South Carolina by special request of George Washington; in 1805 President Thomas Jefferson tendered him the 1787 JOHN JULIUS PRINGLE South Carolina Patriot + Speaker of the State Assembly; Attorney-Generalship of the United States, but family reasons induced him to decline.

1787-Printed Date, With March 28th, 1787 Signed Endorsement in Receipt of funds, rarely encountered Partly-Printed Document Signed, “John J. Pringle” as Speaker of the House of Representatives in South Carolina, 1 page, measuring about 3” x 8” oblong octavo, Choice Very Fine. Likely the only opportunity to acquire this impressively printed Signed document on South Carolina. Boldly headed, “In the House of REPRESENTATIVES / 1787”, authorizing “the Commissioners of the Treasury.” for payment of Joseph Culpepper’s 79 Days Attendance as a Member and 6 Days Traveling as a “Member of the House of Representatives ... from and to his Home.” Docket on the blank reverse shows detailed payments “in full for the within - (Signed) Joseph Culpepper” in rich brown ink. Boldly printed in rich black on clean laid period paper with impressive eye appeal.

Additional Information:

John Julius Pringle (1753-1843) graduated at the College of Philadelphia in 1771, and read law with John Rutledge and in England, where his published articles in defence of Colonial rights attracted attention.

At the beginning, of the American Revolution he went to France, and in 1778 he became secretary to Ralph Izard, United States Commissioner in Tuscany. Returning home by way of Holland and the West Indies, he was admitted to the state bar in 1781, and attained high rank in his profession. In 1787-’9 he was Speaker of the State Assembly, and in the latter year he served for a short time as United States district attorney, by special request of General Washington. In 1800 Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, appointed Pringle to report on any infractions of the Treaty with Great Britain that might occur in his state, and from 1792 till 1808 he served as attorney-general of South Carolina. In 1805 President Jefferson tendered him the Attorney-Generalship of the United States, but family reasons induced him to decline. Mr. Pringle was for four years president of the trustees of the College of Charleston.


Joseph Culpepper was born about 1746 and died after 1820. An entry from the Biographical Directory of the Senate of the State of South Carolina 1776-1964, compiled by Emily Bellinger Reynolds and John Renolds Faunt, (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press) p. 201 notes that Joseph was "possibly the son of Joseph and Liddy Culpeper."

A source or reason for the speculation was not given. Liddy has been identified in land grant records, "Liddy Cullpeper" received a grant of land on Griffin’s Creek 22 Aug 1771 near Joseph’s grant on Tom’s Creek but it seems likely that the Joseph noted in the same records was her son and not her husband. Liddy and a possible husband will be covered in the next generation.

Lacking any record of Joseph’s birth and lacking proof of his parentage, it is necessary to look for clues in extant records and to compile circumstantial evidence. A 1767 deed Charleston Deed Book Y-3, 20 & 21 Jan. 1767, pp. 159-162 shows "Joseph Culpeper of Craven County planter" acquiring 100 acres of land from Joseph Jackson, "situate in the fork of Santee & Wateree Rivers, William Thomson, J. P." This record would seem to indicate that Joseph was at least 21 years old by 1767 which would mean that he was probably born before 1746.

On April 3, 1772, Joseph received a royal grant Colonial Plats, Vol. 14, p. 279 and Royal Plats, Vol. 25, p. 218 of 400 acres "situate in Craven County on Tom’s Creek in the fork between Santee River & the Wateree."

In 1769, this portion of Craven County was designated as part of the Camden District and a 1773 map of South Carolina shows, as do today’s maps. that Tom’s Creek is in the fork of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers which join to form the Santee River. But the land grant was in the same area as the land that Joseph had acquired in 1767 and was very close to the land granted to Liddy Culpeper in 1771.

Joseph was probably in his mid 20’s by this time and, although it is not unreasonable to assume that he was or had been married, no record of a wife or children has been found. If, as seems likely, Joseph was the oldest son with a widowed mother and there were younger brothers to look after, he might have put off marriage until the family seemed more settled.

Joseph probably would have been in his early 30’s when the Revolutionary War began and, according to a record copied from the list of the Continental Service of South Carolina, "Joseph Culpeper" served as a private in "the 3d South Carolina Regt Commanded by Col. Wm. Thomson" from August 20, 1776. Joseph Culpeper’s Revolutionary War Pension Record R. 2565. By September of 1781, when he was wounded at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, N. Louise Bailey and Elizabeth Ivey Cooper, Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina), vol. III (1775-1790).

Joseph was serving as a first lieutenant in Alexander’s Troop, A "Cavalry Company" according to his son, Joseph Richard Culpepper, in a record in Joseph Culpeper’s Revolutionary War Pension File R. 2565. Wade Hampton’s Regiment, Sumpter’s Brigade and on October 1, 1784 he was authorized to receive 141 pounds sterling as "pay and bounty" for his service after April 1, 1782. South Carolina Archives Stub Entries to Indents, Book M No. 165.

From 1781 through 1783, Joseph also furnished sheep, and, according to a note by Lt. Col. W. Hampton, Joseph "had a waggon & team in the service of the Brigade of State Troops from 18th June to 25th Nov. 1782 inclusive." South Carolina Archives Stub Entries to Indents Book I No. 396, Book B No. 47 and Book Q No. 334.

Although the Revolutionary War effectively ended when General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, British troops continued to hold Savannah until July of 1782 and Charleston until December of 1782 and the Treaty of Paris was not signed until September 3, 1783.

Sometime prior to 1782, Joseph acquired 270 acres on Sandy Run Creek near the "Saxagotha Township" in the Orangeburg District across the Congaree River from the Camden District. The land was near what is now the town of Sandy Run in Calhoun County in an area that was designated Lexington District in the 1800 census and which formally became Lexington District in 1804. In 1782, Joseph represented Saxa Gotha in the Fourth General Assembly of South Carolina.

But Joseph still had ties and probably still owned land in Camden District, SC. On October 17, 1783, he was noted, along with Richard Perdue and Morris Moore, in Camden District, SC records witnessing the will of William Goodwyn, Sr. Brent H. Holcomb, G.R.S. and Elmer O. Parker, Camden District, S.C. Wills and Administrations 1781-1787 (1770-1796), 1978, p. 29. Sometime prior to 1785, Joseph married Ann Theiler, the widow of William Geiger. will probated 1 Jul 1781. Mrs Ann Culpeper, "late Mrs. Ann Geiger" qualified as administrator of William Geiger’s estate Jan 1785.

The marriage to Joseph Culpeper was her third since she had been married previously to Jacob Geiger who died in 1772 by whom she had a son, John. The Geigers of South Carolina, compiled by Percy L. Geiger, published by his sisters, Miss Louisa Geiger and Miss Anna Esther Geiger and Harold C. Geiger, brother, after 1945, p. 29. In addition to his continuing service in the South Carolina Assembly, Joseph was also active locally, serving as justice of the peace for Lexington County in 1786 and as tax inquirer for Saxe Gotha from 1786 through 1787.

N. Louise Bailey and Elizabeth Ivey Cooper, Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina), vol. III (1775-1790). In 1788, as a delegate from Saxe Gotha to the state convention which was held to consider the adoption of the Federal Constitution, Joseph Culpeper voted against ratification.

N. Louise Bailey and Elizabeth Ivey Cooper, Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina), vol. III (1775-1790) Joseph was elected sheriff of Orangeburg District, SC January 24, 1789 whereupon he resigned his seat in the General Assembly.
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