Profession: Patriot/Political Leader
William Henry Drayton was born at Drayton Hall in Charleston, S.C., in 1742. As a young man Drayton attended Westminster School and Balliol College in Oxford, England, and pursued classical studies. Upon his return from England he took an active part in the pre-Revolutionary movement and was an outspoken proponent of severing ties with England and creating a new nation. Drayton was president of the Council of Safety in 1775 and later president of the S.C. Provincial Congress. He designed one side of the S.C. state seal and was chief justice of the S.C. Supreme Court in 1776. In 1778, he co-authored the S.C. Constitution. He was appointed a member of the Continental Congress in 1778 and served until his death in Philadelphia on Sept. 3, 1779, at the age of 37. Drayton is credited with successfully sponsoring a motion in Congress calling for the first official use of fireworks to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He is buried in Christ Church Cemetery in Philadelphia.