J. Strom Thurmond, by mid-1997 the longest-serving U.S. Senator in history, was born here to J. William and Gertrude Strom Thurmond Dec. 5, 1902. educated at Clemson College, he taught high school 1923-29, was county superintendent of education 1929-33, state senator 1933-38, and circuit judge 1938-42. As a U.S. Army officer 1942-46, he participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and won the Bronze Star.
Thurmond, governor of S.C. 1947-51, ran for president on the States Right Democratic Party ticket in 1948. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954 as a write-in candidate but resigned his seat in early 1956 to fulfill a promise to voters. He was easily reelected that fall, then again in 1960, 1966, 1972, 1978, 1984, 1990, and 1996. He served as President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate 1981-86 and 1994-present.