William Sayle

Governor 1670 – March 1671

William Sayle was nearly eighty years old when he was appointed the first governor of the Carolina colony. The Lords Proprietors had authorized Sir John Yeamans, who was in Barbados, to serve as governor or to name a governor. Yeamans selected Sayle, who had governed Bermuda for several terms between 1641 and 1662. Accompanied by his sons and three African slaves, Sayle embarked with the Carolina, which reached South Carolina in February 1670.

Not long after he settled his colonists on the west side of the Ashley River, Sayle directed that 600 acres between the Ashley and Cooper rivers should be set aside for a town. When he died on March 4, 1671, houses had already been built at “Oyster Point,” although the principal settlement was still at Albemarle Point (Charles Towne Landing State Park). Sayle bequeathed “all that my Mansion House and Town Lot on Albemarle Point” to his eldest son Nathaniel Sayle.

Bates, Susan Baldwin, and Harriott Cheves Leland, eds. Proprietary Records of South Carolina. Volume Three: Abstracts of the Records of the Surveyor General of The Province, Charles Towne, 1678-1698. Charleston: History Press, 2007.
Duff, Meaghan N. “Sayle, William.” Walter Edgar, ed. South Carolina Encyclopedia. University of South Carolina Press, 2006.