Notable Heywards (and Some In-Laws)

Daniel Heyward (1720 – 1777) Daniel Heyward, a prosperous planter and aggressive land speculator in colonial South Carolina, founded a rice-planting dynasty that lasted 100 years. At the time of his death he owned 17,000 acres of land and nearly a thousand slaves.

Daniel’s brother Thomas Heyward (1723 – 1795) was also a wealthy planter in what is now Beaufort County. Less is known of Thomas because of the destruction of records in a Beaufort courthouse fire sometime after the Civil War.

All living Heyward descendants can trace their ancestry back to Daniel Heyward (1720 – 1777) or his brother Thomas.

Thomas Heyward (1746 – 1809) Thomas Heyward, oldest son Daniel Heyward (1720 – 1777), was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

He was educated in law at Middle Temple in London and was admitted to the bar after he returned to South Carolina in 1771. He was elected to the Commons House of Assembly of South Carolina in 1773 and he became Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Charleston in 1778. He was Circuit Court Judge from 1782 to 1789.

In the War of Revolution he was Captain of the Charleston Artillery. He was wounded in battle and was later taken prisoner by the British and confined at St. Augustine, FL for over a year.

In 1791 President George Washington stayed a week at Thomas Heyward’s residence at 87 Church Street in Charleston. That house has been restored and is now a tourist attraction known as the “Heyward-Washington House.”

Thomas Gibbons (1757 – 1826) As Mayor of Savannah, Thomas Gibbons hosted George Washington.

Rice planting in Georgia bored him and he moved to New Jersey, where he became a shipping magnate.

Thomas Gibbons married Anne Miles Heyward, daughter of Thomas Heyward (1723 – 1795).

Nathaniel Heyward (1766 – 1851) Nathaniel Heyward, son of Daniel Heyward (1720 – 1777) and his second wife Jane Gignilliat, has been called the “the South’s greatest rice planter.”

Starting with a relatively modest inheritance and $50,000 of his wife’s money, he began purchasing slaves and rice lands in the low country of South Carolina in the late 1700’s. His wealth increased during his long life as he carefully managed his large holdings, fought off legal challenges to his properties and, on at least one occasion, defended his family’s honor in a duel. At one point he owned over twenty plantations and 2,500 slaves.

Nathaniel Heyward believed the large fortune he left to his children and grandchildren would enable them to live indefinitely as landed aristocrats. However, his heirs saw the value of their legacies reduced to nothing as a result of Civil War destruction and the war’s chaotic aftermath.

William Drayton (1776 – 1846) William Drayton was a politician, banker and writer.

He was so incensed over South Carolina’s ratification of the Ordinance of Nullification that he left the state and took up residence in Pennsylvania.

William Drayton married Maria Miles Heyward, daughter of William Heyward (1753 – 1786).

James Hamilton, Jr (1786 – 1857) James Hamilton, Jr was Mayor of Charleston, US Congressman and SC Governor.

He presided over the convention that produced the Ordinance of Nullification in 1832.

James Hamilton, Jr married Elizabeth Matthews Heyward, a grand daughter of Thomas Heyward (1746 – 1809), signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Ward McAllister (1827 – 1895) Ward McAllister was a New York socialite, considered the “self-appointed arbiter of New York society from the 1860’s to the early 1890’s.

According to Wikipedia, he “coined the phrase ‘the Four Hundred’. According to him, this was the number of people in New York who really mattered; the people who felt at ease in the ballrooms of high society (‘If you go outside that number,’ he warned, ‘you strike people who are either not at ease in a ballroom or else make other people not at ease.’).”

Ward McAllister was married to Sarah Taintor Gibbons, grand daughter of Anne Miles Heyward (b. 1757) and Thomas Gibbons.

James Barnwell Heyward II (1848 – 1931) James Barnwell Heyward II was a great-grandson of Nathaniel Heyward (1766 – 1851). He spent a lifetime researching the history and genealogy of the South Carolina Heywards.

He published two important works about the Heyward family. The first was The Colonial History of the Heyward Family of South Carolina, 1670 – 1770. This short work examines, among other things, the wills of the first three generations of Heywards.

The second was entitled Heyward and is called “The Red Book” by present day family members. It brings the descendant tree up to about 1900 and contains his personal opinions about the qualities of particular family members and his speculations about the inheritability of those qualities. Heyward is an important resource for anyone interested in the history of the Heyward family.

Duncan Clinch Heyward (1867 – 1943) Duncan Clinch Heyward, a great-grandson of Nathaniel Heyward (1766 – 1851), was among the last rice planters of South Carolina.

He attempted to bring several of the Heyward Combahee River plantations to profitability in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He memorialized his family’s rice planting tradition in his 1937 book Seed From Madagascar.

Duncan Clinch Heyward ran for Governor of South Carolina in 1902. It was his first attempt to win political office and he defeated four experienced opponents. He ran again in 1904 and won, unopposed. After completing his second term in 1907, he never again sought elected office and spent most of his remaining years as a businessman in Columbia.

Anna Heyward Taylor (1879 – 1956) Anna Heyward Taylor was a native of Columbia, SC and a great-great granddaughter of Nathaniel Heyward (1766 – 1851).

She studied art at Radcliffe College and in London and Holland. In 1916 she accompanied naturalist William Beebe on an expedition into South America and returned with watercolors of exotic flora and fauna.

She spent most of her working life in Charleston, where she was a member of a movement known as the “Charleston Renaissance.”

The portrait at left was painted by her teacher and mentor William Merritt Chase. The original oil painting belongs to the Gibbes Museum in Charleston.

James Lynah (1881 – 1956) James Lynah achieved fame playing right end for the Clemson College football team of 1900 and 1901. Coached by the legendary John Heisman, his team won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title with a perfect record in 1900.

Lynah met the academic requirements for graduation from Clemson in 1902 but was denied a diploma. The reason: he was accused of stealing a turkey from the farm of one of his professors. Determined to complete his education, he transferred to Cornell, where he continued playing football as quarterback and team captain. Remarkably, his coach at Cornell was another coaching legend: Pop Warner.

Lynah was awarded degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering from Cornell in 1905. Afterwards, he held management positions at duPont, General Motors and Cornell’s department of engineering. In 1935 he was named Cornell University’s Director of Athletics.

In 1922, twenty years after the turkey incident, Clemson forgave Lynah and awarded him a BS degree.

James Lynah was a great-great grandson of Margaret Heyward, head of the family’s E-branch.

Edwin Dubose Heyward (1885 – 1940) Dubose Heyward was a Charleston poet, novelist and playwright.

His works include the novels Porgy, Mamba’s Daughters and Peter Ashley. He wrote the play Brass Ankle and, with his wife Dorothy Kuhns, a successful stage version of Porgy. Later, George Gershwin adapted Porgy into the opera Porgy and Bess. Dubose Heyward collaborated in this effort, writing the libretto for Porgy and Bess and the lyrics for some of the songs, including “Summertime” and “A Woman is a Sometime Thing.”

Dubose Heyward was a great-great-great grandson of Thomas Heyward (1746 – 1809), signer of the Declaration of Independence.

3 thoughts on “Notable Heywards (and Some In-Laws)

  1. Jim Glover

    Bill, we could add John Heyward Glover, Jr (1810-1859), Marietta Georgia’s first mayor, and also his descendant, Uma Thurman, the famous actor.

  2. William B Heyward

    John Watts Young was an American astronaut, naval officer and aviator, test pilot, and aeronautical engineer. He became the ninth person to walk on the Moon as Commander of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. He flew on four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo command and service module, the Apollo Lunar Module and the Space Shuttle. His grandmother was Lucy Izard Heyward (C-branch)

    1. Bill Hamilton Post author

      When I created this web page many years ago, I listed only dead Heyward descendants. Commenters are welcome to mention living descendants.

      – Bill Hamilton


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