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Arnoldus Vanderhorst (March 21, 1748 – January 29, 1815) was a general of the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War and Federalist Governor of South Carolina from 1794 to 1796.


Early life and career

Born in Christ Church Parish, Vanderhorst took up planting at his plantation on the eastern half of Kiawah Island in the Lowcountry. He participated in the Revolutionary War as an officer under the command of Francis Marion. During the war, he also served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1776 to 1780 and in the South Carolina Senate from 1780 to 1786. After his service in the state Senate, Vanderhorst was elected mayor of Charleston for two terms.

As governor

In 1794, he was elected by the General Assembly as a Federalist to be Governor of South Carolina. During his administration, Vanderhorst pressed the legislature for the revision of the criminal code because the sentences were so harsh that jurors would grant acquittal. In addition, he advocated for a prison system similar to that of the state of Pennsylvania instead of the state jails that were of medieval barbarity.

Later life

After leaving the governorship in 1796, he returned to his plantation on Kiawah Island where he cultivated sea island cotton. Vanderhorst died on January 29, 1815 and he was buried at the St. Michael's churchyard in Charleston. He also proposed the need for a state penitentiary. Later the state penitentiary named Central Correction Institution that was open until 1994.


  • Wallace, David Duncan (1951). South Carolina: A Short History. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 347, 415.  

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
William Moultrie
Governor of South Carolina
1794 – 1796
Succeeded by
Charles Pinckney


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