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1793 Gov. George Mathews signed legislation creating Warren, Oglethorpe, McIntosh, Bryan, and Montgomery counties.
Warren County, Georgia's 16th, was created from portions of Columbia, Washington, and Wilkes counties and named for Massachusetts' Gen. Joseph Warren, who was killed early in the American Revolution at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
McIntosh County, Georgia's 18th, was created from portions of Liberty County and named for the McIntoshes who settled Darien in 1735 and their descendants.
1793 Gov. Mathews signed legislation to discourage the foreign slave trade by requiring any person importing slaves into Georgia from the West Indies or East or West Florida to pay the state a fee of £50 for each slave.
1819 Gov. William Rabun signed an act prohibiting free blacks from purchasing or acquiring real estate in Georgia.
1823 Legislation was approved by Gov. George Troup providing for a system of registering births and birthdates in each county with clerk of the court of Ordinary [now termed probate court]. Rather than a system for collecting vital statistics on births, the registry was intended as a way of documenting the age of court witnesses.
1837 Lawyer, teacher, and Confederate general John Carpenter Carter was born in Waynesboro, Georgia. He died Dec. 10, 1864 following the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee. [See Dec. 10 entry for biographical information.]
1857 Gov. Joseph E. Brown signed an act creating Glascock County as Georgia's 122nd county. Created from portions of Warren County, the county was named for Gen. Thomas Glascock, who fought in the War of 1812 and Seminole War and later served in the Georgia General Assembly and Congress.
1859 Politician Mirabeau Lamar died in Richmond, Texas. Born in Louisville, Ga. on Aug. 16, 1798, Lamar became Gov. George Troup's private secretary in 1823. In 1828, he founded the Columbus Enquirer, and the next year was elected to the Georgia Senate. In 1833, Lamar founded the Georgia States Rights Party, and the following year he unsuccessfully ran for Congress.
After receiving an invitation to visit Texas from James Fannin, Lamar traveled west. In Texas, he joined Sam Houston's army and distinguished himself in battle. In May 1838, Lamar was elected vice president of the Republic of Texas, followed that fall by election as president. In the Mexican War, Lamar served as captain of the Texas Mounted Volunteers and as lieutenant colonel in the Texas Rangers.
1860 The Georgia General Assembly adopted a pro-secession resolution that among other provisions noted:
[Click here to read full text of resolution.]
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 Despite the blustery exchange of letters two days previous, Confederate General William J. Hardee had no intention of subjecting his small army to an attack by General William T. Sherman's powerful forces. Hardee's chief of artillery, Col. Charles C. Jones, Jr., wrote:
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1868 Congress opened hearings on the threats, intimidation, and even loss of life blacks faced when trying to vote in Georgia.
1897 Martin Luther King Sr. was born to Delia and James Albert King in Stockbridge, Georgia. In 1926, he married Alberta Christine Williams, daughter of A.D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The following year, King became assistant pastor at Ebenezer. They lived up the street from the church at 501 Auburn Ave., where on Jan. 15, 1929, their first son, Martin Luther King Jr., was born. King Sr. attended Morehouse College, obtaining a bachelor of arts degree in theology in June 1930. After A.D. Williams died in 1931, King was chosen to succeed his father-in-law as pastor of Ebenezer, officially becoming pastor in April 1932. He became active with the Atlanta Baptist Ministers Union, and was elected as its president in 1935. The same year, King staged a protest against segregated elevators in the Fulton County courthouse and also participated in a call for black voter registration. In 1936, King led a membership drive for the NAACP in Atlanta and was active in civil rights causes for the remainder of his life. In 1946, King was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Morris Brown College. After 48 years with Ebenezer Baptist Church, "Daddy King" retired as pastor on Aug. 1, 1975. He died in Atlanta of a heart attack on Nov. 11, 1984.
1904 Future Georgia Secretary of State Benjamin Wynn Fortson, Jr. was born in Tignall, Georgia. After graduating from Georgia Tech and starting a career in banking, Fortson's life was changed by a near-fatal automobile accident. After reading and reflecting while convalescing, Fortson decided to turn his life to public service, despite being confined to a wheelchair. He was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1939, then to the Georgia House in in 1943. When secretary of state John Wilson died in 1946, Governor Ellis Arnall appointed Fortson to fulfill the term. Fortson did much more, serving in the post until 1978, being elected to nine consecutive terms.
"Mr. Ben" – as he was commonly called by friends – was an energetic and entertaining speaker, particularly in the area of American and Georgia history. He always kept his office door open to the public, while staying above petty (and not so petty) political squabbles. The best example of this occurred not long after Fortson took office – when he refused to surrender the official state seal to any of the combatants in the three governor's controversy, hiding the seal under his wheelchair seat. Fortson was largely responsible for beautifying the state capitol grounds and for advocating for a new state archives building – which was eventually named in his honor. He was also concerned about the appearance and condition of Georgia's state capitol and in January 1979 helped kick off the drive to regild the capitol dome. Unfortunately, before that project could be completed, Fortson died in Atlanta on May 19, 1979.
1961 The last of the jailed civil rights demonstrators were released in Albany.
1970 Georgia Tech beat Texas Tech 17-9 in the Sun Bowl.
1998 In the first floor vote to impeach a U.S. president in 130 years, in a narrow and partisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of two of four impeachment articles by the House Judiciary Committee against Pres. Bill Clinton. Approval required a majority of the the total membership of the House. On the two articles approved, the vote was almost entirely on party lines.
On all four impeachment articles, Georgia's congressional delegation voted exclusively along party lines. Republican congressmen Jack Kingston (1st district), Mac Collins (3rd district), Newt Gingrich (6th district), Bob Barr (7th district), Saxby Chambliss (8th district), Nathan Deal (9th district), Charlie Norwood (10th district), and John Linder (11th district) voted in favor of all four articles. Democratic congressmen Sanford Bishop (2nd district) and John Lewis (5th district) and congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (4th district) voted against all four articles.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved on Dec. 19:
1859 Homer (Banks County), Powder Springs (Cobb County), and Quitman (Brooks County)
1860 Colquitt (Miller County)
1893 Powellville (Coweta County)
In Their Own Words on This Day . . .
1740 In London, the Georgia Trustees met to discuss Georgia affairs. After agreeing to petition Parliament for an appropriation of £7,000 for the support of Georgia, the discussion turned to the controversial issue of the exercise of civil authority in Georgia. The Trustees had appointed William Stephens as their secretary in the colony, and they had attempted to administer the colony through orders sent to Stephens. However, as indicated in the Earl of Egmont's diary, many colonists listened instead to James Oglethorpe (who was now a colonel with his own regiment stationed at Fort Frederica):
Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. III, p. 169.
1775 From Savannah, royal governor James Wright wrote British secretary of state for the colonies Lord Dartmouth about the return of Georgia Whig delegates to the Continental Congress:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 40.
1884 The first telephone exchange in America opened in New Haven, Conn. in 1878 with 21 customers. Interest in the telephone spread quickly, and within five years Atlanta had a telephone exchange. The 1884 Atlanta telephone directory consisted of a single page with over 500 names. On Dec. 19, Atlanta merchant Samuel P. Richards got a phone for his home, as noted in his diary:
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1966 reprint of 1954 original volume), Vol. II, p. 75.
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