South Carolina Hall Of Fame: Eliza Lucas Pinckney

Eliza Lucas Pinckney

Born-(Died): 1722-1793
Profession: Agriculturist
Inducted: 2008

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Eliza Lucas Pinckney was born in Antigua, in the West Indies, in 1722, and was the daughter of George Lucas, a sugar planter and politician. She was educated in London and came to South Carolina in 1739. When her father returned to the West Indies, Eliza, only seventeen years old, took charge of his plantation on Wappoo Creek. After five years planting, cultivating, and processing indigo, Pinckney succeeded in establishing one of the first profitable crops in South Carolina. Her innovations in botanical experimentation and crop management, and the quality of the bright blue dye produced from indigo, soon made it the colony’s second-most profitable export after rice. She shared her ideas on growing indigo with other planters, and was accepted as an accomplished agriculturist in a pursuit and a society so dominated by men that her achievements were considered extraordinary. In 1744 she married Charles Pinckney, who was twenty-four years her senior he was a Charleston attorney and member of the Royal Council. Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Charles had four children, including sons Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Thomas Pinckney both sons were generals during the American Revolution, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney signed the U.S. Constitution. The Pinckneys lived in London 1753-58, while Charles Pinckney represented South Carolina before the Board of Trade he died soon after their return to South Carolina. Eliza Lucas Pinckney spent most of the rest of her life on her husband’s or childrens’ plantations. At her death in 1793 The South Carolina Gazette called Pinckney "so highly cultivated and improved by travel and extensive reading, and... so richly furnished, as well with scientific, as practical knowledge, that her talent for conversation was unrivaled, and her company was sedulously sought after by all."