1872 South Carolina gubernatorial election

← 1870 October 16, 1872 1874 →
Nominee Franklin J. Moses, Jr. Reuben Tomlinson
Party Republican Independent Republican
Alliance - Democratic
Popular vote 69,838 36,533
Percentage 65.44% 34.23%

County results

Moses:      50%-54%      55%-59%      >65%

Tomlinson:      50%-54%      55%-59%      >65%

Governor before election

Robert Kingston Scott

Elected Governor

Franklin J. Moses, Jr.

The 1872 South Carolina gubernatorial election was held on October 16, 1872, to select the governor of the state of South Carolina. Franklin J. Moses, Jr. won the election as a Radical Republican against the more moderate faction of the Republican Party and became the 75th governor of South Carolina.


Republican nomination for Governor
Candidate Votes %
Franklin J. Moses, Jr. 69 58.5
Samuel W. Melton 18 15.2
Daniel Henry Chamberlain 16 13.6
Reuben Tomlinson 15 12.7

The state Republicans met in Columbia for their nominating convention on August 21 through August 24. There were 115 black and 33 white delegates to the convention, many of them calling for reform in state government. The nomination for Governor proceeded after the organization of the convention and five men were mentioned, but Franklin J. Moses, Jr. was seen as the clear favorite.

Immediately, accusations of bribery were pegged against each candidate. Former Governor Orr accused Moses of offering a delegate from Barnwell $2,000 for his vote. Tomlinson was alleged by Judge Thomas Mackey to have been giving bribes to ensure the passage of the phosphate bill in 1870.

A vote was taken for the nomination of Governor during the commotion over the accusations of bribery and Moses emerged as the clear winner from the other contenders. Orr denounced the selection and led a walkout by some of the delegates from the convention. The Republican platform adopted at the convention called for a reduction in expenditures and financial reform.

Assembling at the Richland courthouse on August 22, Orr directed the formation of an Independent Republican ticket for the general election in October. Reuben Tomlinson was nominated for Governor and half of the Independent Republican slate for statewide office were black men. The platform consisted entirely of opposing Moses and advocating for reform in state government.

General election

The general election was held on October 16, 1872, and Franklin J. Moses, Jr. was elected as governor of South Carolina by a wide margin. Turnout was lower than the previous election because it was mainly a contest between Republicans; it was estimated that approximately 40,000 white voters did not cast a ballot in the election.

South Carolina Gubernatorial Election, 1872
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Franklin J. Moses, Jr. 69,838 65.4 +3.1
Independent Republican Reuben Tomlinson 36,533 34.3 +34.3
No party Write-Ins 351 0.3 +0.3
Majority 33,285 31.1 +6.5
Turnout 106,742
Republican hold
1872 South Carolina gubernatorial election map, by percentile by county.
  65+% won by Moses
  55%-59% won by Moses
  50%-54% won by Moses
  50%-54% won by Tomlinson
  55%-59% won by Tomlinson
  65+% won by Tomlinson

See also


Preceded by
South Carolina gubernatorial elections Succeeded by