"A" is for Alston, Joseph [ca. 1778-1816]

May 19, 2017

"A" is for Alston, Joseph [ca. 1778-1816]. Governor. Although admitted to the bar in 1799, Alston devoted his career to the management of his extensive rice plantations in All Saints Parish. In 1801 he wed Theodosia Burr, daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr. Alston was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives and was its Speaker, 1805-1809. His support of upcountry demands for reapportioning the legislature led to the Great Compromise of 1808 and a constitutional amendment apportioning the House based upon population and taxable wealth. In 1812 he was elected governor by a narrow margin after a bitter campaign. His administration was one of the most discordant in the state’s history. Ironically, like another prominent 19th century political figure [James Chesnut]—Joseph Alston is primarily remembered as the husband of a legendary wife.