Gary served as a bill clerk in the state legislature for nine years before being elected by Abbeville County to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1890. He remained there until 1900 and served as Speaker of the House from 1896 to 1900.
U.S. senator, jurist. Gary was born in Cokesbury, Abbeville District, on March 9, 1860, the son of Dr. Franklin Gary and Mary Caroline Blackburn and a nephew of Martin Witherspoon Gary. He was educated at Cokesbury Conference School and Union College at Schenectady, New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1882. On January 6, 1897, he married Marie Lee Evans. They had one son, Frank B. Gary, Jr.
Gary served as a bill clerk in the state legislature for nine years before being elected by Abbeville County to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1890. He remained there until 1900 and served as Speaker of the House from 1896 to 1900. He made an unsuccessful bid for the governorship in 1900. Three years later, Governor Duncan Heyward appointed Gary as special judge to preside over the trial of James Tillman, who was accused of murdering newspaper editor Narciso G. Gonzales. The trial ended in Tillman’s acquittal. Gary returned to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1907. In March 1908 he was elected by the General Assembly to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Asbury Latimer. Taking his predecessor’s position on the immigration commission, Gary gave a widely publicized speech on the subject of immigration. He opposed further admission of immigrants from Asia and Eastern Europe, declaring that “it is better that our uncultivated lands shall forever lie fallow, and our water power go unharnessed to the sea, than that we should be overrun by a lot of aliens.”
Completing his Senate term on March 3, 1909, Gary briefly returned to private life before being reelected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1910. In 1912 he was unanimously elected by the General Assembly as a judge of the state’s Eighth Judicial Circuit. After a brief illness, Gary died in Charleston on December 7, 1922. He was buried in Long Cane Cemetery, Abbeville.
Memorial Exercises Held in Honor of Frank Boyd Gary, Judge of the Eighth Circuit, Before the Supreme Court of South Carolina. [Columbia, S.C., 1923].