Businessman, legislator, governor. Jeter was born in Union District on October 13, 1827, the son of John C. Jeter and Elizabeth Gaulman. Educated in local schools, he graduated from South Carolina College in 1846 and studied law with Andrew Wallace Thomson. Admitted to the bar in 1848, he became Thomson’s law partner—and eventually his son-in-law. Jeter married Ann H. Thomson on February 4, 1857. They had no children.
Eventually Jeter retired from his law practice to pursue several business interests before and after the Civil War. He was a director, president, and general superintendent of the Spartanburg and Union Railroad; vice president and director of the Merchants’ and Planters’ Bank of Union; director of the Spartanburg and Asheville Railroad; director of the Central National Bank; trustee of the Southern Life Insurance Company; and a director of the Farmers’ Fertilizer Company.
In 1856 Jeter was elected to represent Union County in the S.C. House of Representatives and served one term. After the Civil War, he represented Union as a delegate to the 1872 Taxpayers’ Convention and in the S.C. Senate from 1872 to 1882. From 1877 to 1880, he was elected president pro tempore of the Senate. On September 1, 1880, he became governor upon the resignation of William Dunlap Simpson. During his three months as governor, he did not resign his Senate seat and continued to represent Union County in the General Assembly. Upon his retirement from the Senate in 1882, he was elected to the South Carolina Railroad Commission. Jeter died on May 20, 1883, in Union and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery.
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.