Joseph Emile Harley
100th Governor of South Carolina
In office
November 4, 1941 – February 27, 1942
Preceded byBurnet R. Maybank
Succeeded byRichard Manning Jefferies
74th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 15, 1935 – November 4, 1941
GovernorOlin D. Johnston
Burnet R. Maybank
Preceded byJames Sheppard
Succeeded byRansome Judson Williams
Mayor of Barnwell, South Carolina
In office
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Barnwell County
In office
January 11, 1927 – January 13, 1931
In office
January 10, 1905 – January 12, 1909
Personal details
Born(1880-09-14)September 14, 1880
Williston, South Carolina, United States
DiedFebruary 27, 1942(1942-02-27) (aged 61)
Resting placeBaptist Cemetery, Barnwell, South Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Agnes Richardson
Alma materUniversity of South Carolina
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Unit1st South Carolina Volunteers
Battles/warsSpanish–American War

Joseph Emile Harley (September 14, 1880 – February 27, 1942) was the 100th Governor of South Carolina from 1941 to 1942 and a member of the "Barnwell Ring."

Early life and education

Harley was born September 14, 1880, in Williston, South Carolina. Harley received an LLB from the University of South Carolina in 1902. He married Sarah Agnes Richardson and had three children with her.[1]


Harley served as a colonel in the South Carolina National Guard and as sergeant of Company L, 1st SC Volunteers in the Spanish–American War. He also worked as a lawyer, where he fought on behalf of three major railway companies including: the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, Southern Railway, as well as the Seaboard Airline Railroad. As a member of the democratic party, Harley was a delegate at the 1908, 1924, 1928, and 1932 party conventions.[1] Harley also served as the mayor of Barnwell, South Carolina for ten years from 1912-1922.[2]


After being elected Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in 1934 and re-elected in 1938, Harley became Governor of South Carolina on November 4, 1941, upon the resignation of Governor Burnet Maybank, who was elected to serve in the US Senate.[3]

On February 27, 1942, Governor Harley died in office after having served only four months. He died of terminal throat cancer. Harley could only communicate by writing in the last months of his life. He is buried in Baptist Cemetery, Barnwell, South Carolina.


  1. ^ a b Edgar, Walter, ed. (2006). The South Carolina Encyclopedia. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 9781570035982.
  2. ^ "South Carolina Governor - Joseph Emile Harley - 1941-1942". Archived from the original on December 11, 2018. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
  3. ^ "Joseph Emile Harley". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
Political offices
Preceded by
James Sheppard
Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Ransome Judson Williams
Preceded by
Burnet R. Maybank
Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Richard Manning Jefferies