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1735 While in England, James Oglethorpe on this day helped secure the passage of a Trustee act entitled "An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia." The act provided that after June 24, 1735, "no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters" shall be imported into Georgia." Additionally, the selling of wine, beer, or ale without permission was prohibited.
In the months after the first Georgia colonists arrived in 1733, so many died that Oglethorpe was convinced that rum and other hard drinks were the cause – so he began a campaign to prohibit the possession of rum in the colony. Actually, the cause of most of these death was disease, primarily from drinking water from the Savannah River. Once a water well was drilled, death from disease dramatically declined. Still, Oglethorpe thought hard liquor should be banned – though he had no objection to beer or wine.
1818 Alabama governor John Gill Shorter was born in Monticello, Georgia, though his family moved to Eufaula, Ala. in 1833. Shorter graduated from the University of Georgia in 1837 and was admitted to the Alabama bar the following year.
A supporter of secession, Shorter represented Alabama in the Confederate Congress until his election as Alabama governor. He served one term (1861-63). Shorter died on May 29, 1872.
1865 Union forces occupied Richmond, Va. – the national capital of the Confederacy.
Confederate officials had departed the previous day. Their immediate destination was Georgia – and ultimately, perhaps, Texas.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1898 President William McKinley called for 3000 soldiers from Georgia to fight in the Spanish-American War.
1930 The U.S. government designated the Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge on the coast of Georgia.
1942 Singer and songwriter Billy Joe Royal was born in Valdosta, Ga. He is best remembered for this hit, "Down in the Boondocks."
1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis, Tenn., in support of sanitation workers striking for union recognition by the city.
That night, King gave his prophetic "I Have Been to the Mountain Top" speech , in which he said:
This was the last speech Martin Luther King, Jr. would give, as he was assassinated the following day.
1992 The U.S. Postal Service released a 29-cent Olympic Baseball stamp commemorating the entry of baseball as an Olympic sport.
First day of issue ceremonies were held in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, where Olympic baseball would be played at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Hank Aaron helped unveil the stamp at home plate on the baseball diamond.
2004 Dominique Wilkins, George Rogers, Claude Humphrey, Pat Swilling, Tim Simpson, John “Blue Moon” Odom, Pepper Rodgers, Wade Mitchell and James K. Harper, Jr. were inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
2009 The University of Georgia hired Mark Fox as the new men's head basketball coach. Fox had coached the previous five seasons at the University of Nevada.
2011 Georgia winners at the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards show, held in Las Vegas, were: Sugarland for Vocal Duo of the Year, Lady Antebellum for Vocal Group of the Year and Album of the Year ("Need You Now"), and the Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson for Vocal Event of the Year ("As She's Walking Away").
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1734 Almost most of Georgia's colonists had been members of the Church of England before coming, other religions were represented. The first group to settle were 42 Jews, who came in July 1733. Next were persecuted Lutheran Protestants from Salzburg, who arrived on March 12, 1734. Three weeks after their arrival, Lutheran minister Johann Martin Boltzius recorded in his diary of the great help one of the Jews had provided the Salzburgers while they were in Savannah:
Source: George Fenwick Jones (ed.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America... Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Volume One, 1733-34 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1968), p. 70.
1888 In one of her final journal entries, Gertrude Thomas expressed despair at her financial condition [because of years of bad decisions by her husband,they were almost completely bankrupt] – yet she retained pride in her children and grandchildren. She would not write in her journal after August 1889, but instead went on to become a very active member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and Georgia Women's Suffrage Association:
Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 443.
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