The son of Scots-Irish immigrants, Andrew Pickens was born on September 13, 1739 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. When Pickens was only a teenager, his family moved to the Waxhaws region of South Carolina. In 1760-61, Pickens took part in the Anglo-Cherokee War, serving as an officer in a provincial regiment. In 1764 he moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina, where, a year later, he married Rebecca Calhoun, the aunt of future pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun. When rebellion against the British broke out in 1775, Pickens was a made captain of militia. That winter he took part in a campaign against loyalists in the South Carolina backcountry. In the autumn of 1776, Pickens served as a major in an expedition that destroyed dozens of Cherokee towns. In the spring of 1778, Pickens became a colonel of a regiment of South Carolina militia which he later led to victory at Kettle Creek. In 1780, Pickens was captured and paroled when the British occupied Charleston, South Carolina. Later that year, he returned to battle after loyalists burned his home. On January 17, 1781, he commanded a brigade of South Carolina militia at the Battle of Cowpens, a decisive victory for the Patriots. After Cowpens, Pickens was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Later that year, at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, Pickens was wounded and shot off his horse. In 1782, Pickens was elected to South Carolina’s General Assembly, in which he would serve for a decade. After the war, Pickens purchased land on the Seneca River and constructed Hopewell Plantation, which would become a frequent site of negotiations with Native American tribes. From 1793 to 1795, Pickens represented South Carolina in the United States House of Representatives. On August 17, 1817, at the age of 77, Pickens passed away, several months after his son Andrew Pickens Jr. was sworn in as the Governor of South Carolina. Andrew Pickens is buried in Clemson, South Carolina.
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