Senator Thomas Middleton Raysor (1859-1925)
Grandson of Thomas Raysor (1797-1858)
"Thomas Middleton Raysor, son of Peter Andrew Raysor and Anna Milhous, was born 26 May 1859 in Orangeburg District. Initially educated in the Orangeburg schools, he attended Wofford College, graduating in 1878. His alma mater later awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree. Returning to Orangeburg, he read law under Samuel Dibble (1837-1913) and was admitted to the bar 13 December 1880.
"Settling as an attorney in Orangeburg, he was the senior member of the law firm of Raysor, Moss and Lide and the corporate attorney for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, Seaboard Air Line Railroad, Western Union Telegraph Company, Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, and American Railway Express Company. Active in the business life of his community, he was solicitor and director (1887-1897), vice president and president (ca. 1925) of the Bank of Orangeburg; incorporator of the Orangeburg Oil Mill (1890), Edisto Cotton Mills (1893), and Enterprise Mills in Branchville (1896); director of the Orangeburg Investment Company (1890); and incorporator and director of the Bowman Land and Improvement Company (1890).
"Orangeburg County chose Raysor, a Democrat, for the House for the Fifty-sixth (1884-1885), Fifty-seventh (1886-1887), and Fifty-eighth (1888-1889) General Assemblies. While in the House, he served on the committees on federal relations (1884-1885), railroads (1884-1885), judiciary (1886-1889), rules (1886-1889), and education (1888-1889).
"Elected to the state Senate in a special election, he qualified 14 January 1902 to represent Orangeburg in the Sixty-fourth General Assembly (1901-1902) and continued service in the Sixty-fifth (1903-1904), Sixty-sixth (1905-1906), and Sixty-seventh (1907-1908) General Assemblies. He served on the Senate committees on legislative library (1902-1904), education (1902-1908; chairman, 1905-1906), and public buildings (1907-1908).
"Throughout his political career, Raysor maintained a keen interest in education. In the legislature, he advocated compulsory education and supported funding for the rebuilding of The Citadel. Furthermore, he was assistant supervisor of education for Orangeburg (1882), trustee for the Orangeburg schools (1892-1895), member of the state board of education (1900), trustee for Converse College (1901-1910), and ex officio trustee for the University of South Carolina (1906-1908)"
"An Episcopalian, he was a vestryman for the Church of the Redeemer of Orangeburg (1887-1892) and a delegate to the diocesan convention (1898); at his death, he bequeathed $3,000 to his church. He married Mattie Mandeville Rogers of Darlington circa 1881. No issue was born to them. Thomas Middleton Raysor died 3 May 1925 in Orangeburg and was buried in Sunnyside Cemetery."
From the Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate 1776-1985, Vol II, by N. Louise Bailey, Mary L. Morgan and Carolyn R. Taylor, published 1986.
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