Born in Santuc, South Carolina, five miles north of Carlisle in Union County, Jeter attended and graduated from South Carolina College in 1846. He was admitted to the bar 1848 and practiced law in the Upstate while concurrently holding the position of president of the Spartanburg and Union Railroad. Additionally during antebellum, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1856. With the outbreak of theAmerican Civil War in 1861, Jeter volunteered for service in the Confederate Army and was made a captain of infantry.
After the war, Jeter resumed his law practice, but was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 1872 after becoming disenchanted by Radical Republican rule of the state during Reconstruction. He continued to serve in the Senate and became the President Pro Tempore in November 1877 because of the mass resignations of Republicans after their party’s defeat in the gubernatorial election of 1876, thereby giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. Wade Hampton won re-election in 1878 for another two-year term, but did not finish the term because he resigned in 1879 after being elected to the U.S. Senate.
Lieutenant Governor William Dunlap Simpson succeeded Hampton and Jeter as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, became the Lieutenant Governor. When Simpson resigned on September 1, 1880, upon appointment to be the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, Jeter became the 79th governor of South Carolina and served for three months.
In 1882, Jeter was appointed to the South Carolina Railroad Commission and served until his death on May 20, 1883. He was buried at Forestlawn Cemetery in Union.
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