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1754 Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins was born in Granville, NC. Hawkins was a federal commissioner for Indian negotiations in the late 1780s, before being elected senator from North Carolina in 1790. But he soon returned to his work among the Indians and was named "Principal Temporary Agent for Indian Affairs South of the Ohio River" by President Washington in 1796. Though the title may have been "temporary," Hawkins spent the remainder of his life working with Indians – much of the time among the Creeks bordering on Georgia.
Hawkins had a genuine interest in Indian welfare, and worked diligently to try and insure their fair treatment and to maintain peace among them. On the Flint River, Hawkins established his agency, which became the centerpiece of activity between the Creeks and whites. Unfortunately his attempt to maintain peace failed when civil war broke out among the Creeks in 1812. On June 6, 1816, Hawkins died at the Creek Agency in Crawford County. Though disillusioned with his efforts, Hawkins left a legacy of letters and a journal detailing his experiences with Georgia Indians.
1756 King George II appointed Henry Ellis Lieutenant-Governor of Georgia. Ellis arrived in Savannah on Feb. 16, 1757. However, he suffered from health problems while in Georgia and left Georgia in November 1760 to return to England.
1817 Former governor Peter Early died in Greene County, Georgia. Born in Virginia in 1773, he moved to Oglethorpe County at age 20. Here, he practiced law until around 1800, when he moved to Greene County. In 1797, Early began a career in politics that would involve all three branches of government, as well as all three levels of government. That year, he was named to the board of trustees of the University of Georgia – a post he would hold for 17 years. In 1802, Early was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he fought efforts to tax slaves and totally ban slave importation during his two terms in Congress. Deciding not to run for reelection, he returned to Georgia, where he was elected a superior court judge. In 1813, the General Assembly elected Early as governor – an office he held for two years.
In 1816, Greene County voters elected Early to the state Senate. In Dec. 1818, the year after his death, the General Assembly created a new county and named it in Early's honor.
1869 Moina Michael was born near Good Hope in Walton County. She attended the Lucy Cobb Institute and the State Normal School – both in Athens – before attending Columbia University in New York (1912-1923). Michael subsequently taught in four different school systems, but with the outbreak of World War I she worked with the training headquarters for overseas YWCA workers (1918-1919). During this period, Michael read the poem that would become known as "In Flanders Fields" and conceived the idea of selling memorial poppies to fund the care of disabled soldiers and their families. She subsequently became widely known as the "Poppy Lady."
Michael died in Athens, Georgia on May 10, 1944. Four years later, the U.S. Post Office Department issued a commemorative stamp in her honor.
For more about the Moina Michael stamp, click here.
1898 Lillian Gordy Carter, mother of Jimmy Carter, was born in Chattahoochee County, Georgia. She became a registered nurse, married James Earl Carter in 1923, gave birth to future president Jimmy Carter in 1924, followed by three more children – Gloria (1926), Ruth (1929), and Billy (1937).
Much later, she served in the Peace Corps as a nurse in India. She died Oct. 30, 1983, but had lived long enough to see her oldest son elected President of the United States.
1903 Gov. Joseph Terrell signed an act of the General Assembly appropriating $2,000 to allow the Compiler of Colonial and Revolutionary Records to secure copies of important records and documents in London that related to these two periods of Georgia history.
1903 Gov. Joseph Terrell signed an act of the General Assembly requiring that elementary principles of agriculture and the elements of civil government be taught in Georgia's public schools. The legislature left it up to each local board of education to implement the requirement.
1913 On the seventeenth day in the trial of Leo Frank, the defense called many more character witnesses, culminating in the testimony of Leo Frank's mother. Having already expressed her complete confidence in Frank's innocence, she identified a letter written by Frank to an uncle in New York the afternoon of April 26th, soon after the murder was committed. The letter was written in a precise, neat hand, dealing with various family matters. It did not, the defense claimed, show any signs of a nervous, guilt-ridden man. After the day's proceedings, the defense said they were prepared to call every female employee of Frank, if necessary, to prove he did nothing improper with them at the factory. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1917 Gov. Hugh Dorsey signed a proposed constitutional amendment creating Atkinson County (named for former Georgia governor William Y. Atkinson) from portions of Clinch and Coffee counties. Because the maximum number of counties allowed by the state constitution – 145 – had already been exceeded, creation of any additional counties required a constitutional amendment.The amendment was ratified by state voters on Nov. 5, 1918, making Atkinson Georgia's 153rd county.
1921 Gov. Thomas Hardwick signed an act creating the Georgia State Board of Forestry to promote Georgia's forest resources. This agency later became the State Forestry Commission.
1928 Educator, author, and active defender of the Confederate cause Mildred Lewis Rutherford died in Athens, Georgia.
See July 16, 1851 entry for biographical information on Rutherford.
1957 In a game against the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brave Hank Aaron hit his 100th home run. During the next two decades, over 600 homers would follow.
1962 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspected the ruins of Shady Grove Baptist Church in Lee County, Georgia, shortly after it had been firebombed by arsonists. Four days earlier SNCC volunteers had conducted a voter registration meeting in the church. The Lee County sheriff inspected the ruins and concluded that the church had been struck by lightning. [Contributed by Dr. Lee W. Formwalt] For more, see the Albany Movement from the Civil Rights Digital Library.
1978 Congress added Georgia's Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area to the National Park System.
1979 Andrew Young resigned under pressure as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations after unauthorized meeting with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
1994 Toccoa-born Olympic weightlifter Paul Anderson, known as the "World's Strongest Man," died in Vidalia, Georgia.
1995 A fire in Brooks Hall - home to the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia - destroyed the fifth floor of the building. It was the largest structure fire up until that time in the county's history, and took over 100 firefighters over six hours to extinguish.
1996 At only age 19, Andruw Jones made his Major League debut starting the game in right field for the Atlanta Braves. In five at-bats, Jones only got one hit, but he did knock in a run in the ninth inning.
1999 Well-known newspaper columnist and writer Celestine Sibley died on Dog Island, Florida. She was born Celestine Broxson Colley on May 23, 1914, in Holley, Florida. Her parents didn't get along well, and 7-year-old Celestine took a new last name when her mother married Reeder Sibley, an Alabama lumberman. Celestine grew up near Mobile, Alabama, where she became editor of the county high school's newspaper. At age 15, she became a weekend writer for the Mobile Press-Register. After attending college in Mobile, she worked as a full-time reporter for the Mobile newspaper from 1933-1936. In 1936, Sibley accepted a position with the Pensacola News-Journal, where she worked five years. She married Jim Little, a newspaper copy editor, and in 1941 they moved to Atlanta.
She became a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, while her husband took a job with the Associated Press. Little, an alcoholic, had difficulty keeping a job, and died at age 45. Sibley, however, did well with her writing, and her first personal column appeared in the Constitution on July 24, 1944. She went on to spend the rest of her professional life with the Constitution, where won a Christopher award for a column on how her daughter's prayers changed a charged atmosphere at an Atlanta lunch counter . In 1956 she was named Woman of the Year by the Piedmont Driving Club. She covered the Georgia legislature for twenty years, while also reporting on Lyndon Johnson's vice-presidential campaign, the trial of Arthur Bremer (who shot Alabama Gov. George Wallace during his presidential campaign), and the successful presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter. Between 1958 and 1978, Sibley covered Georgia politics and sessions of the General Assembly. Though battling cancer, she continued writing columns for the Constitution and earning numerous awards through July 1999. On August 6, 1999, the press gallery in the chamber of the Georgia House of Representatives was named in her honor.
Georgia towns and cities incorporated by acts approved on Aug. 15:
1903 Centralhatchee (Heard County) and Spread (Jefferson County)
1904 Chula (Irwin County), McCaysville (Fannin County), Rebecca (Wilcox County), Toomsboro (Wilkinson County), and Winterville (Clarke County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1745 As president of Georgia, William Stephens once again observed in his journal the success of the non-English settlers in Georgia:
Source: E. Merton Coulter (ed.), The Journal of William Stephens, 1743-1745 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959), pp. 237-238.
1863 Atlanta merchant Samuel P. Richards wrote in his diary:
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs:A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), p. 558.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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