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John Lowndes McLaurin (May 9, 1860 – July 29, 1934) was a United States Representative and Senator from South Carolina. He was born in Red Bluff, South Carolina and attended schools at Bennettsville, South Carolina and Englewood, New Jersey as well as Bethel Military Academy (near Warrenton, Virginia) and Swarthmore College (in Pennsylvania.) He graduated from the Carolina Military Institute, studied law in the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, was admitted to the bar in 1883 and practiced in Bennettsville. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1890-1891 and was attorney general of the State from 1891 to 1897. And a time when Benjamin Tillman was making demagogic appeals to the white working class, McLaurin became one of the first upper-class South Carolinians to support him. Tillman in 1892 pin the nickname Little Curly Headed Joe" that stuck for the remainder of McLaurin's life.[1]

John Lowndes McLaurin
John Lowndes McLaurin.jpg
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
June 1, 1897 – March 3, 1903
Preceded byJoseph H. Earle
Succeeded byAsbury Latimer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th district
In office
December 5, 1892 – May 31, 1897
Preceded byEli T. Stackhouse
Succeeded byJames Norton
Attorney General of South Carolina
In office
December 10, 1891 – December 5, 1892
GovernorBenjamin Tillman
John Gary Evans
Preceded byYoung J. Pope
Succeeded byDaniel Townsend
Member of the South Carolina Senate from Marlboro County
In office
January 14, 1913 – November 3, 1914
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Marion County
In office
November 25, 1890 – December 10, 1891
Personal details
Born(1860-05-09)May 9, 1860
Marlboro County, South Carolina
DiedJuly 29, 1934(1934-07-29) (aged 74)
Bennettsville, South Carolina
Political partyDemocratic

McLaurin broke with Tillman in 1894 and they became bitter enemies. Tillman accused him of accepting bribes from the Textile industry, which led to the famous fistfight between the two on the Senate floor on 22 February 1902. Both men were censured.[2]

McLaurin was elected In 1892 as a Democrat to the Fifty-second Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Eli T. Stackhouse; he was reelected to the Fifty-third, Fifty-fourth, and Fifty-fifth Congresses and served from December 5, 1892, until May 31, 1897, when he resigned. He was appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Joseph H. Earle and served from June 1, 1897, to March 4, 1903; he was not a candidate for reelection. In Congress, he specialized in fiscal affairs.

McLaurin practiced Law in New York City. He later returned to farming in Bennettsville and was Elected to the South Carolina Senate, 1914-1915. He was author of the State warehouse system for storing and financing cotton, and served as State warehouse commissioner from 1915 until his resignation in 1917. He died at his estate near Bennettsville in 1934; interment was in McCall Cemetery. His home, the Robertson-Easterling-McLaurin House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Leonard C. Schlup; James Gilbert Ryan (2003). Historical Dictionary of the Gilded Age. M.E. Sharpe. p. 307.
  2. ^ Richard A. Baker; Emily J. Reynolds (2006). 200 Notable Days: Senate Stories, 1787 to 2002. Government Printing Office. p. 94.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Eli T. Stackhouse
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Norton
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Joseph H. Earle
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from South Carolina
Served alongside: Benjamin R. Tillman
Succeeded by
Asbury C. Latimer