Planter, entrepreneur, soldier. Hammond was born on February 18, 1728, in Richmond County, Virginia, the son of John Hammond and Katherine Dobyns. In 1765 he moved to Augusta, Georgia, where he soon became a merchant and also operated a ferry across the Savannah River. Before leaving Virginia, he married Mary Ann Taylor, with whom he produced one son. Prior to the Revolutionary War, he purchased six hundred acres of land on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River and lived there by 1771. Operating a store, Hammond also cultivated tobacco and later became a tobacco inspector for the area. By around 1770, the firm of LeRoy Hammond & Company had received more than £10,000 from the colonial government to purchase land and build courthouses and jails in the upcountry.
As war with Britain drew near, Hammond volunteered his services to the patriots. One of his first duties was to aid William Henry Drayton and William Tennant in their 1775 tour of the upcountry to win support among its residents for independence. The following year he served as one of Andrew Williamson’s captains in the Cherokee War of 1776. Hammond distinguished himself by rallying his mounted ranger unit after it was ambushed near Seneca Town. The unit was initially stopped and on the verge of running from the field. Hammond dashed forward to rally his men and force the enemy to retreat. While some Loyalists and Cherokees were captured, the main leaders escaped. Two years later, in 1778, Hammond was appointed a commissioner to conciliate the Indian nations and to negotiate a peace with the Upper and Lower Creeks. He served in several skirmishes and battles of the war, including the Battle of Stono (June 20, 1779), the siege of Ninety Six (May 22–June 17, 1781) and the Battle of Eutaw Springs (September 8, 1781). By the summer of 1781 Hammond was serving under General Nathanael Greene, who assigned Hammond’s regiment to defend patriot areas against Loyalist incursions.
During and after his military service, Hammond represented Ninety Six District as a representative in the First (1775) and Second (1776) Provincial Congresses, and then in the new General Assembly. In 1776 he resigned from the state House on his election to the Legislative Council. After the war he returned to represent his district in the Third (1779–1780) through the Seventh (1787– 1788) General Assemblies. Hammond also served in local offices including justice of the peace for Ninety Six District (1774) and for Edgefield District (1785), road commissioner (1778, 1784), and commissioner for inspection and exportation of tobacco at Snow Hill (1785). At his death, Hammond owned fifty-four slaves, an inspection warehouse at Falmouth in Edgefield District, and two lots in Springfield. He died between May 14, 1790, when his will was written, and July 1790, when it was proved.
Bailey, N. Louise, Mary L. Morgan, and Carolyn R. Taylor, eds. Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate, 1776–1985. 3 vols. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1986.