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Peter Manigault
Peter Manigault (South Carolina plantation owner).jpg
Speaker of the South Carolina House of Commons
In office
1765–1772
Personal details
Born (1731-10-10)October 10, 1731
Charleston, Province of South Carolina, British America
Died November 12, 1773(1773-11-12) (aged 42)
London, England
Spouse(s)
Elizabeth Wragg
(m. 1755; her death 1773)
Parents Gabriel Manigault
Ann Ashby Manigault

Peter Manigault (October 10, 1731 – November 12, 1773) was a Charleston, South Carolina attorney, plantation owner, slave owner and colonial legislator. He was the wealthiest man in the British North American colonies at the time of his death and owned hundreds of slaves. He was the son-in-law of Joseph Wragg, the largest slave trader of North America in the 1730s.

Early life

Manigault (pronounced MAN-eh-go) was born in Charleston on October 10, 1731, and was part of a wealthy French Huguenot immigrant family. Manigault was the son of Gabriel Manigault (1704–1781) and Ann (née Ashby) Manigault (1705–1782).

His paternal grandparents were Judith (née Jetton-Gitton) Manigault and Pierre Manigault, a French Huguenot who settled in the Santee area and became a successful rice planter. His maternal grandparents were John Ashby and Constantia (née Broughton) Ashby (whose brother Thomas Broughton was Governor of South Carolina).

He was privately educated in the Province of South Carolina and in England, traveled extensively in Europe, studied law at London's Inner Temple, and was called to the British bar in 1752.

Career

Mr. Peter Manigault and Friends
Mr. Peter Manigault and Friends. Folk art depicting Manigault and his friends drinking around his table, c. 1760.

He returned to South Carolina in 1754, where he practiced law, became a successful merchant and banker, and managed his family's extensive plantation holdings, that included hundreds of slaves. By 1774 Manigault was the wealthiest person in the British North American colonies, with his net worth of approximately £33,000 in 1770 equal to approximately $4 million in 2016.

Manigault served in the South Carolina House of Commons in 1755, and again from 1766 to 1773. From 1765 to 1772 he was Speaker of the House. He actively opposed the British Stamp Act of 1765, and was identified with what became known as the Patriot cause.

Letters

During Manigault's studies in London and travels in Europe, he exchanged frequent letters with his parents. This correspondence was published as part of several articles over several years in the South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine.

Personal life

Mrs. Peter Manigault (Elizabeth Wragg)
Portrait of his wife, Elizabeth, c. 1757, by Jeremiah Theus.

In 1755, Manigault was married to Elizabeth Wragg (1736–1773). She was the daughter of Judith (née Dubose) Wragg and Joseph Wragg, an English-born American who was one of the largest slave traders in British North America during his lifetime. Their children included:

  • Gabriel Manigault (1758–1809), who married Margaret Izard (1768–1824), a daughter of Continental Congressman and U.S. Senator Ralph Izard.
  • Anne Manigault Middleton (1762–1811), who married Thomas Middleton (1753–1797)
  • Joseph Manigault (1763–1843), who married Charlotte Drayton (1781–1855)
  • Henrietta Manigault Heyward (1769–1827), who married Nathaniel Heyward (1766–1851).

In 1773, Manigault's health worsened, and he left South Carolina for England in an effort to find a cure. His wife died on February 19, 1773. Manigault's health did not improve, and he died in London on November 12, 1773. He was buried at French Protestant Huguenot Church Cemetery in Charleston.

Descendants

Through his son, he was the grandfather of Elizabeth Manigault Morris (1785–1822), who married Col. Lewis Morris (a grandson of Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence), and were the parents of Capt. Charles Manigault Morris of the Confederate States Navy; Gabriel Henry Manigault (1788–1834); and Charles Izard Manigault (1795–1874).

The Manigault family has remained prominent in Charleston, including as owners of the city's daily newspaper, The Post and Courier, which was first purchased by Peter Manigault's great-grandson Arthur in 1896.

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