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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History


Mary Stead Pinckney (m. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 1786)

Mary Stead Pinckney (1752-1812)
(m. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 1786)

Mary Stead Pinckney was the daughter of Mary Johnson (b. 1724) and merchant Benjamin Stead, and the granddaughter of South Carolina Governor Robert Johnson (ca. 1676–1735). In the 1750s, she moved to London with her family and she lived with them in France during the American Revolution. She became the second wife of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746–1825) on July 23, 1786. Mary traveled with Charles Cotesworth to Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and to France in 1796 when he served as United States minister. Her letterbook (published) from this last voyage extensively describes her views on society, politics, and the arts of the time. She was related to the Manigault and Izard families, with whom she traveled and corresponded. Mary and Charles Cotesworth had no children from their marriage, but were the parents to Charles Cotesworth’s three daughters from his first marriage to Sarah (Sally) Middleton (1756–1784).