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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History

Frances “Fanny” Motte Middleton Pinckney (m. Thomas Pinckney, 1797)

Frances “Fanny” Motte Middleton Pinckney (1763-1843)
(m. Thomas Pinckney, 1797)

Frances “Fanny” Motte Middleton Pinckney was the daughter of Rebecca Brewton (1737–1815) and Jacob Motte Jr. (1729–1780). She grew up in Charleston and at the Motte family plantations of Fairfield on the Santee River and Mount Joseph on the Congaree River. At Fairfield, she was Harriott Pinckney Horry’s (1748–1830) neighbor after Harriott moved to Hampton at her marriage, and the Motte and Pinckney families had a long and close friendship. She was probably at Mount Joseph when Thomas Pinckney (1750–1828) traveled there to be with her sister and his first wife, Elizabeth (1762–1794), after he was wounded at Camden in 1781. On July 31, 1783 she married John Middleton (1755–1784), a wealthy planter who also owned property along the Santee River. They had one son, John Middleton Jr. (1784–1826). After her husband’s death, she took an active role in managing the Middleton plantations under her control, including the land on the Santee River near her family’s property. With her sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law Thomas then at Fairfield, she often sent boats and slaves back and forth between the plantations. She had a rice mill built at Washo Plantation, which many of her family and friends used. The correspondence also suggests that she, Thomas, and Harriott compared notes on agriculture and shipping. During her widowhood, she refused a proposal of marriage from Pierce Butler (1744–1822), but later accepted one from her widowed brother-in-law. On October 19, 1797 she married Thomas Pinckney, and his good friend Edward Rutledge (1749–1800) gave a party on the occasion. She and Thomas had two children, Edward Rutledge Pinckney (1800–1832) and Mary Pinckney (1804–1822), in addition to the six children from their earlier marriages. Their primary residence was at Fairfield, and later Eldorado Plantations, but they also spent time in Charleston, on Sullivan’s and Murphy’s Islands, and traveled to the northeast. During their marriage, Thomas served in the United States House of Representatives (1797–1801) and as commander of the Southern Forces of the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Surviving her husband, she died at the age of 80.