Francis Marion was born in Berkeley County, South Carolina in 1732 to Gabriel and Esther. Marion had five siblings – Esther, Isaac, Gabriel, Benjamin, and Job. When he was about six, his family moved to a plantation in St. George, South Carolina for schooling purposes in Georgetown. When Marion was fifteen, he was the sixth crewman of a schooner heading for the West Indies, but the boat was sunk by a whale and two of the crewman died of thirst and exposure to the sun on their rescue boat. In 1759, he moved to Pond Bluff plantation near Eutaw Springs, in Berkeley County.
After the start of the American Revolution, Marion was a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress. On June 21, 1775, he was given the title of Captain in the Second South Carolina Regiment under the command of William Moultrie. Moultrie also served with Marion in the summer of 1776 to defend Fort Sullivan and Fort Moultrie in the Charleston harbor. In the September of 1776, Marion was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel under the Continental Congress.
In 1779, Marion took part in the siege of Savannah, the failed Franco-American attempt to capture the city in Georgia. He also took part in a siege of Charleston in 1780, the same year he was placed under Benjamin Lincoln and drilled militia. Because of this drilling, Marion started using guerilla warfare, a tactic in which the military fights brutally and without any order. This fighting led to his nickname, the Swamp Fox, because he was quick and sly in the swamps while fighting.
After the war, Marion returned to his plantation, but to his dismay it was burnt down from the war. His slaves had run away to fight for the British and were later evacuated from Charleston. He had to borrow money to gain more slaves. Marion also married his cousin Mary Esther Videau after the war. Earlier in his life, he loved Mary Esther Simons but she refused his proposal and married Jack Holmes. Since he served several years in the South Carolina State Senate, he was made commander of Fort Johnson in South Carolina. He was paid 500 Continental dollars a year because Americans feared using the British pound. In 1795, Marion died on his estate at the age of 63.