TDGH - December 14
This Day in Georgia
- Ed Jackson and Charles Pou
- The University of Georgia
1793 Gov. George Mathews signed an act creating Screven
County as Georgia's 14th county. Created from portions
of Burke and Effingham counties, the county was named for Revolutionary
War general James Screven.
1809 Gov. David
B. Mitchell signed an act creating Twiggs
County as Georgia's 37th county. Created from portions
Wilkinson County, the county was named for Revolutionary War general
1827 Gov. John Forsyth signed legislation creating Meriwether, Harris, Talbot,
and Marion counties.
County, Georgia's 71st, was created from portions of Troup County and named for former congressman
and Indian commissioner David Meriwether.
County, Georgia's 72nd, was created
from portions of Muscogee and Troup counties and named for Savannah mayor Charles Harris.
County, Georgia's 73rd, was created from portions of Muscogee County and named for Gov. Matthew
County, Georgia's 74th, was created from portions of Lee
and Muscogee counties and named for Revolutionary
War hero Gen. Francis Marion.
1837 Gov. George Gilmer signed an act creating Macon
County as Georgia's 91st county. Created from portions
of Houston and Marion counties, the county was named for U.S.
Senator Nathaniel Macon.
1859 Gov. Joseph E. Brown signed an act prohibiting any slave owner from providing
for the slave's freedom in the event of the owner's death.
Georgia's great seal then in use contained no reference to the
United States, Art. 3, Sec. 2, Par. 9 of the Constitution
of 1861 directed that the General Assembly to "by law
cause the great seal to be altered." Accordingly, Gov. Brown
signed an act appointing two commissioners to work with the Secretary
of State in preparing a new state seal. Interestingly, the legislation
contained no instructions as to the new seal's design or wording
– leaving the matter entirely to the three officials.
Georgia State Seal Adopted in 1799 (left) and New State Seal Adopted in 1861
Supreme Court justice Charles J. Jenkins took office as Georgia's
first elected governor during Reconstruction. Born Jan. 6, 1805
in Beaufort, S.C., he attended the University of Georgia but graduated
from Union College. Coming to Georgia, he read law and was admitted
to the bar in 1826. In 1830, Jenkins began a political career
that would include terms in both houses of the General Assembly
(including four years as Speaker), state attorney general, and
superior court solicitor. Jenkins lost a close race for governor
in 1853, but he was named to the Georgia Supreme Court in 1860.
After Lincoln was elected president, Jenkins attended Georgia's
secession convention. After Georgia seceded, he supported Georgia
and the Confederacy – though he continued to serve on the Georgia
Supreme Court through 1866. Though a Democrat, he asked President
Andrew Johnson for a pardon after the war in order for him to
attend Georgia's 1865 constitutional convention. In Nov. 1866,
Jenkins was elected governor, taking office Dec. 14. A year later,
however, he was removed by Gen. Meade for refusing to authorize
$40,000 to pay for a constitutional convention meeting in Atlanta
in Dec. 1867. Before leaving office, Jenkins took $400,000 from
the state treasury (which he deposited in a New York bank), many
official books and documents, and the state seal (an action recognized in his official portrait that hangs at the state capitol.
For over two
years, Jenkins lived and traveled abroad, returning to Augusta
in late 1870 with the state's money, documents, and seal. Subsequently,
he retired to his home near Augusta, reemerging to chair the constitutional
convention of 1877. Jenkins died in Augusta on June 14, 1883.
1898 U.S. Pres.
William McKinley addressed a joint session of the Georgia General
Assembly as part of a Peace Jubilee to celebrate the U.S. victory
in the brief Spanish-American War. [See "In Their Own Words .
. ." entry below.]
1920 Future University of Georgia football great Charley Trippi was born in Pittston, PA. Trippi would star for UGA for two years in the early 1940s, before serving in the Air Force for two years in World War II, then returning to finish his career at Georgia. In 1946 he won the Maxwell Award as the best collegiate football player in the nation. He also had a very successful professional career, and is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1939 Clarke Gable,
director Victor Fleming, and many motion picture executives flew
into Atlanta for the world premier of "Gone With the Wind." Late
that afternoon, the film stars rode in a parade through downtown
Atlanta. That evening, the Atlanta Junior League held a gala ball
in the city auditorium. Among those present was young Martin Luther
King, Jr., who participated in the singing of spirituals with
the Ebenezer Baptist Church choir. Also present was NBC, which
broadcast the introductions of stars and officials to a nationwide
Ernest Vandiver sent 150 National Guardsmen to Albany. Dr. William
Anderson, president of the Albany Movement, asked former college
classmate Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Albany to help.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated
by acts approved on Dec. 14:
In Their Own Words on This Day . . .
court recorder Thomas Christie wrote to James Oglethorpe (who
was then in England) about various problems being experienced
in Georgia, including the murder a slave and of one of the colonists:
"I have often spoke to Mr. [Noble] Jones
[the surveyor] to send you the plan and keep a journal of the
lands that he runs out, which I could never obtain. Indeed .
. . I believe little has been run out since your departure, 'till
very lately. The people have greatly complained of late for want
of knowing the bounds of their lots, for want of which they have
neglected fencing, so that most of the crop that was sowed last
summer have been eat up by the cows and horses. Another thing
I must not forget to mention: the corn and seeds, that was in
the Storehouse when you went away, was given to the people, was
musty, damaged or spoilt, so that it never came up. And it was
so long and late in the year before they got fresh seed that
it balked some, and other did not sow it 'till it was too late
in the year. . . . And indeed we have some people who never were
masters of any land and whose heads are turned no way but to
the alehouse, and others are so idle to think of nothing but
selling and running away. . . .
"We raise the envy of the people of Carolina,
by whom we suffer many aspersions and false reports although
we serve them for a bulwark against the Indians, a curb to their
Negroes, raise the price of their markets and the value of their
lands. And they get all our money into the bargain. They are
settling on the river May and all about us and, with the advantage
of their Negroes, report that we need not sow any corn or rice
for they will always undersell us. . . .
"[Indian trader Joseph] Watson has behaved
very ill since your departure and hath committed several irregularities,
has beat the Indians, presented a gun at Mrs. Musgrove's, proved
very dissaffected to the colony and unfit for a trader.
"The Indian Skee offering one day to
break open his storehouse in order to kill him, Watson escaped
out backwards. And they, finding him gone, in their mad freak
fell upon Justice, Musgrove's slave, and killed him. He is since
gone up in the country full of malice. . . .
"The unfortunate Mr. Wise, his effects
was sold except papers and manuscripts remaining in a trunk in
the store . . . . The manner of this murder was thus, which you
have no doubt been acquainted with. He lay over in the island
a considerable time in a very weak condition and kept [to] his
bed. He used to call for some water in the morning to wash himself
and White used to assist him in combing out his hair . . . .
Alice Riley [an Irish servant] by the direction and influence
of White brought a pail of water which she sat down by his bedside.
White came in also, pretending to assist him in combing his hair.
He usually wore a handkerchief about his neck and while he was
leaning over the bedside, instead of combing his hair, White
took hold by that handkerchief, which he twisted 'till he was
almost suffocated. Alice Riley at the same time took hold of
the poll of his head and plunged his face into the pail of water
and, he being very weak, it soon dispatched him. As to the rest
I refer to the proceedings of the Court. . . ."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's
Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press,
1990), Vol. I, pp. 66-72.
Stephens, the Trustees' secretary in Georgia, was responsible for
keeping the Trustees informed on what was happening in their colony.
However, by this time, there were two Georgias – the area around
Savannah (where Stephens lived) and the military frontier to the
south (where James Oglethorpe and his British regiment were stationed
at Frederica on St. Simons Island). Stephens' journal entry for
today showed his concern about Oglethorpe's absence:
". . . Indeed his Presence among us was
much wished for now, as well on Account of this Representation
so warmly carried on, as because our Stores were near exhausted,
by Means of divers very large Quantities that had been drawn
out, by several Creditors, who had it in their Option to take
Provisions instead of Money, if they liked so to do; wherein
they acted variously, as they were well or ill affected, or as
their Necessities obliged them to support their own Credit: And
there being yet no Appearance how the Stores would be recruited,
gave a melancholy Prospect of what might happen. . . ."
Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the
Proceeding in Georgia ([no city cited]: Readex Microprint
Corporation, 1966), Vol. I, p. 356.
1864 From General
Sherman's memoirs for this day:
"We still had in our wagons and in camp
abundance of meat, but we needed bread, sugar, and coffee, and
it was all-important that a route of supply should at once be
opened, for which purpose the aid and assistance of the navy
were indispensable. We accordingly steamed down the Ogeechee
River to Ossabaw Sound, in hopes to meet Admiral Dahlgren, but
he was not there, and we continued on by the inland channel to
Wassaw Sound, where we found the Harvest Moon and Admiral Dahlgren.
I was not personally acquainted with him at the time, but he
was so extremely kind and courteous that I was at once attracted
to him. There was nothing in his power, he said, which he would
not do to assist us, to make our campaign absolutely successful
He undertook at once to find vessels of light draught to carry
our supplies from Port Royal to Cheeve's Mill or to King's Bridge,
whence they could be hauled by wagons to our several camps; he
offered to return with me to Fort McAllister, to superintend
the removal of the torpedoes, and to relieve me of all the details
of this most difficult work. General Foster then concluded to
go on to Port Royal, to send back to us six hundred thousand
rations, and all the rifled guns of heavy calibre and ammunition
on hand with which I thought we could reach the city of Savannah
from the positions already secured. Admiral Dahlgren then returned
with me in the Harvest Moon to Fort McAllister. This consumed
all of the 14th of December. . . ."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Marching Through
Georgia: William T. Sherman's Personal Narrative of His March
Through Georgia (New York: Arno Press, 1978), pp. 165-166.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1898 Pres. William
McKinley came to Georgia to participate in a Peace Jubilee to
mark the end of the Spanish-American War. His address to the Georgia
General Assembly, however, was one of reconciliation over the
"Sectional lines no longer mar the map
of the United States. Sectional feeling no longer holds back
the love we bear each other. Fraternity is the national anthem,
sung by a chorus of forty-five states and our territories at
home and beyond the seas. The union is once more the common alter
of our love and loyalty, our devotion and sacrifice. The old
flag again waves over us in peace with new glories and sacrifice.
The old flag again waves over us in peace with new glories, which
your sons and ours have this year added to its sacred folds.
What cause we have for rejoicing, saddened only by the fact that
so many of our brave men fell on field or sickened and died from
hardship and exposure, and others returning bring wounds and
disease from which they will long suffer. The memory of the dead
will be a precious legacy, and the disabled will be the nation's
"A nation which cares for its disabled
soldiers, as we have always done, will never lack defenders.
The national cemeteries for those who fell in battle are proof
that the dead as well as the living have our love. What an army
of silent sentinels we have, and with what loving care their
graves are kept! Every soldier's grave made during our unfortunate
civil war is a tribute to American valor.
"And while when those graves were made
we differed widely about the future of this government, these
differences were long ago settled by the arbitrament of arms--and
the time has now come in the evolution of sentiment and feeling
under the providence of God, when in the spirit of fraternity
we should share with you in the care of the graves of the Confederate
"The cordial feeling now happily existing
between the North and South prompts this gracious act, and if
it needed further justification, it is found in the gallant loyalty
to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in the year
just passed by the sons and grandsons of these heroic dead.
"What a glorious future awaits us if
unitedly, wisely and bravely we face the new problems now pressing
upon us, determined to solve them for right and humanity."
Source: Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 15,
To the best of our knowledge, images on this site are either (1) in the public domain, or (2) qualify for educational Fair Use under federal copyright law, or (3) are used by permission.