Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maybank, Burnett Rhett

You may be familiar with the name of Maybank as a Malaysian, it is the name of largest bank in Malaysia. Maybank has its branches in other part of the world, including one in New York, USA. The name Maybank is the short form for Malayan Banking Berhad.

But there was a person in USA history, whose name is Maybank. Long before Maybank in Malaysia was formed. He was born in 1899 at Chaleston, South Carolina. He is Maybank , Burnet Rhett.

Maybank, Burnett Rhett (1899–1954), was Mayor of Chaleston, Governor of South Carolina, & U.S. senator.

The name of Maybank is familiar in Chaleston, South Carolina, USA. There are highway, bridge, university hall and scholarship named after him. But there is no Bank named after him, even he was member of the board of Bank Control, and Chairman of Committee on Banking and Currency in USA.

Burnet R. Maybank (1899–1954)

Burnet Rhett Maybank was born in 7-3-1899 at Chaleston, South Carolina. He was the Mayor of Charleston, US Senator from 5th November 1941 to 1st September 1954,and the governor of South Carolina from 1939-1941.

Maybank was the direct descendant of the six former South Carolina governors, he was the first governor from Chaleston. His son, Burnet Maybank II was also candidate for the governor.

Maybank attended the public school , and graduated from the Porter Military Academy (now Porter-Gaud School). He received his degree from College of Chaleston, and served in the United State Navy during the World War 1(or WW1). Later he was involved in cotton export business between 1920-1938

He started to involved in politic in 1927, a lifelong Democrat, he was appointed as Mayor of Chaleston in 1931, serving until 1938. He is strong supporter and personal friend of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Maybank won the election for governor of South Carolina in 1938, serving from December 1939 to 1941.

In January, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Senator James F. Byrnes (his mentor in politic) to the US Supreme Court, his vacant senator seat was won by Maybank in September 1941. In 1942, he won again for the full 6 years terms, and in 1948 he was re-elected without opposition, and served until his death in 1954. He died of heart attack in his summer home at Flat Rock, North Carolina. on 1-9-1954 , age 55. He was buried at Magnolia Cemetery at Chaleston, his birth place. Future President Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson attended his funeral service.

Maybank was a powerful senator, he was the chairman of Committee on Banking & Currency, co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Defense Production. As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he was interested in public housing and education issues. He was voted as “ Fortune Magazine’s 20 most Influential American”

There are many place of interest named after him in Chaleston and the state of South Carolina e.g. Maybank Highway, . Maybank Bridge(over the Wappoo cut), Maybank Hall at the College of Chaleston, and Burnet R. Maybank Scholarship at the University of South Carolina Law School.

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