ROBERT FRANCIS WITHERS ALLSTON was born in Waccamaw, South Carolina. He graduated from West Point Military Academy in June, 1821 and was appointed a Second Lieutenant the following month, serving with the Coast Survey Corps. However, he was forced by personal circumstances to resign his commission in 1822. . A planter and scientific agriculturalist by trade, he was active with the Prince Frederick Church in Plantersville, South Carolina, was a trustee of South Carolina College from 1840 to 1864, presided over the Waccamaw Indigo Society from 1856 to 1861, and was a medal winner for rice culture at the Paris Exposition in 1855 and 1856. He also held the offices of state Surveyor General (1824 to 1828) and state Adjutant-General (1831 to 1838) and was a member of both the South Carolina House of Representatives and the South Carolina Senate prior to being elected governor. As governor, he advocated local taxation to augment state support for public education. Also during Allston’s gubernatorial term, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case weakened the argument of those who were calling for immediate secession. After leaving office, Allston served as a Presidential Elector of the Confederate States in 1861 and was a member of the Soldiers’ Board of Relief.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.