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Thomas Dale

South Carolina

Physician, jurist, and poet

Thomas Dale was born in Hoxton, England. He attended Oxford University from 1717 to 1720, and in 1921, began his medical studies at the University of Leyden, where he graduated in 1723. Upon completion of his studies he undertook the practice of medicine in London. He supplemented his income by translating Dutch, German, French, Greek, and Latin medical texts.

Dale departed England for Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 1732. His wife, Maria, died shortly after their arrival in America. Dale became a prominent member of Carolina society and when he remarried, it was to Mary Brewton, daughter of a prominent Charleston merchant, Miles Brewton.

Although Dale appears to have had no legal education, he was appointed assistant justice in 1733 and a justice of the peace in 1737. During this period he served as administrator of the slave detention workhouse and overseer of the public slave markets. In 1739 he became a judge of the court of general sessions. In 1749 he served a term as elected representative for the Royal Assembly.

Dale's poems include: "Prologue to the Orphan," published in the South Carolina Gazette in 1735, "Epilogue to the Orphan," also in the South Carolina Gazette (1735), "Epilogue to the Recruiting Officer," in Gentleman's Magazine (1736), and "The Congratulation. Humbly Address'd to the Rev. Mr. Whitefield on His 68 Preachments in Forty Days, with the Great and Visible Effect of Meat and Money that Ensued Therefrom, &c," which appeared anonymously in the South Carolina Gazette in 1740. [Source: John A. Garraty & Mark C. Carnes (gen. eds.), American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)]

Thomas Dale


A. Franklin Parkes, "Thomas Dale," in James Levernier and Douglas Wilmes (eds.), 2 American Writers Before 1800: A Biographical and Critical Dictionary (1983)(2vols.)

R. E. Seibels, Thomas Dale M.D., of Charleston, S.C., 3 Annals of Medical History 50-57 (1931)