Joel Poinsett

The Poinsett Club was named for the 19th century South Carolina statesman, Joel R. Poinsett. His life and achievements set an example for the Membership of the Poinsett Club to follow. An outstanding political leader, world traveler and a supporter of the arts, Poinsett was born in Charleston, SC, March 2, 1779, to Dr. Elisha Poinsett and Ann Roberts. His formal education began in England, but he received the rudiments of his classical training in Charleston. He was proficient in French, Spanish, Italian, German and he later spoke Russian.

During his political career, Poinsett served as Secretary of War from 1837-1841 and as Minister to Mexico. During his term in Mexico, Mr. Poinsett found a brilliant red plant that he brought back to South Carolina. This plant is now known as the famous Christmas flower, the Poinsettia, named for Mr. Poinsett. Mr. Poinsett, who was married to Mary Pringle Poinsett, traveled all over the world, and might have been one of the most widely traveled Americans of his time.

Mr. Poinsett died Dec. 12, 1851, at Statesburg while on a trip from Greenville to Charleston. Poinsett's name also graces the Poinsett Hotel, the Poinsett Bridge near Camp Old Indian, a textile plant in Greenville, Poinsett Highway (US Highway No. 25 North), Poinsett Avenue, a group of apartments and nearly a score of businesses.