Joel Roberts POINSETT, Congress, SC


POINSETT, Joel Roberts, a Representative from South Carolina; born in Charleston, S.C., March 2, 1779; spent his early childhood in England; returned to America in 1788; attended private school at Greenfield Hill, Conn., and later in Wandsworth, near London, England; studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and attended the military school in Woolwich, England; returned to Charleston, S.C., in 1800; studied law for a few months; traveled extensively in Europe from 1801 to 1809, returning to the United States for short intervals; sent to South America by President Madison in 1809 to investigate the prospects of the revolutionists there in their struggle for independence from Spain; returned to Charleston, S.C., in 1816; member of the state house of representatives 1816-1819; served as president of the board of public works; declined the offer of commissioner to South America by President Monroe; elected as a Republican to the Seventeenth Congress reelected as a Jackson Republican to the Eighteenth Congress, and elected as a Jacksonian to the Nineteenth Congress and served from March 4, 1821, to March 7, 1825, when he resigned to enter the diplomatic service; Minister to Mexico 1825-1829; member of the state house of representatives, 1830-1831; Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Van Buren 1837-1841; died near what is now Statesburg, Sumter County, S.C., December 12, 1851; interment in the Church of the Holy Cross (Episcopal) Cemetery.


Hruneni, George A., Jr. “Palmetto Yankee. The Public Life and Times of Joel Roberts Poinsett: 1824-1851.” Ph.D. diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1972; Rippy, James Fred. Joel R. Poinsett, Versatile American. 1935. Reprint, St. Clair Shores, Mich.: Scholarly Press, 1970.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present