Remembered as one of America’s Founding Fathers, Charles Pinckney (1757-1824) served as a delegate to the Third Continental Congress in 1777-1778 at the tender age of 20. He fought with the Patriots at the Siege of Savannah and was captured when Charleston fell to the British in 1780. He was later exchanged in a prisoner swap.

After the American Revolution, Pinckney served his new country as a political leader and diplomat to Spain. His “Pinckney Plan” is often cited as playing a large role in framing the U.S. Constitution in 1787, though scholars continue to debate its significance.

During his 1791 visit to Charleston, George Washington stopped by Pinckney’s Snee Farm plantation, today a National Park Service site in Mt. Pleasant, during his visit to Charleston in 1791. The grounds are open to the public Wednesday through Sunday.

Pinckney represented Christ Church Parish in the S.C. House of Representatives for three terms between 1779 and 1796. He also served as the state’s Governor for three terms: 1789-1792, 1796-1898 and in 1808. In 1819, Pinckney was elected to represent South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he is perhaps best remembered for his bitter opposition to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which proposed restrictions on slavery.

Yet even American heroes have their inglorious moments as well. According to author Mark Jones, on March 26 that same year, Pinckney was caught in an abandoned house with a “mulatto wench.” A butcher who had been robbed saw Pinckney covertly slip into the house and mistakenly assumed he was the robber. He and his neighbors surrounded the house demanding the “thief to come out!”

Panicked, Pinckney jumped out of a window to escape. Yet by this time in his career, Pinckney was no longer a young man, and the butcher’s posse easily caught up to him. Realizing they had captured the wrong man, they released him, and this incident in the life of Charles Pinckney quietly faded into history.