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John Lewis Gervais

John Lewis Gervais (1741-1798) was an American planter and statesman from South Carolina. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783.

John was born in Hanover, Germany where his parents were French Huguenot refugees in 1741. He emigrated to South Carolina, arriving in Charleston in 1764. He started in the mercatile business, but soon expanded his interests to include a plantation.

Gervais first served in the revolutionary Provincial Congress in 1775. He was a member of the state’s Committee of Safety from 1775 to 1781. Under the new state government, he was elected to South Carolina’s Senate in 1781 and 1782.

The legislature sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1782 and 1783. He came home in 1784, and was returned to the State Senate. In 1786, Senator Gervais led the efforts in the legislature to establish a new state capital. The result was the founding of Columbia, South Carolina.

He died in Charleston on August 18, 1798 and is buried in St. Phillip’s Churchyard there.

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