About Clemson

The Calhouns and Clemsons

Here are a few of the stories about the Calhoun and Clemson family members whose legacy is Clemson University.

Calhoun and Clemson family connections

John C. Calhoun — Calhoun moved to what is now called the city of Clemson in 1825 — and the blueprint for the region was forever changed. During his lifetime, Calhoun served in the S.C. Legislature, the U.S. Congress and the Cabinet. He twice served as U.S. vice president, under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. It was Calhoun’s estate that ultimately became Clemson University, after Mrs. Calhoun left it to daughter Anna Maria, who then left it to her husband, Thomas Green Clemson.

Floride Bonneau Colhoun Calhoun — A strong, self-assured woman, Floride managed the estate duties of the Calhoun family plantation when she and her husband came back to South Carolina after he resigned as vice president. She willed the Fort Hill estate to her only living daughter, Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson.

Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson — Graceful and interested in politics, Anna Maria married Thomas G. Clemson at age 21. Upon her death, it was her wish that her husband preserve her father’s house and use the land for a state agricultural college.

Thomas G. Clemson — Recognized as the father of this extended family, Clemson had a great impact on our country’s politics, serving as an ambassador to Belgium under four U.S. presidents and then as the first secretary of agriculture. It was after Clemson married into the Calhoun family when his true interests in agriculture grew, and together with his wife, Anna, he began planning his vision for the creation of a “high seminary of learning.” Upon his death in 1888, he left his estate and his fortune for the betterment of education in South Carolina.

Floride Elizabeth Clemson Lee — Anna and Thomas’ daughter, Floride was a talented poet. Her wartime diary (1863-1866) was published as “A Rebel Came Home.”

Floride Isabella Lee Calhoun — The only grandchild of Thomas and Anna Clemson, Floride inherited her family’s love of music and poetry. Her composition “The Hills of Home” was put to music by Oscar J. Fox and published by Carl Fischer Inc. in 1925. Her youngest son’s child is the only great-great-grandchild of Thomas and Anna Clemson.