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1737 Anglican minister George Whitefield received his commission from the Trustees of Georgia to serve Savannah and Frederica until another minister could be appointed. [See Dec. 16 entry for biographical information on Whitefield.]
1838 Pierce Butler, wife Fanny Kemble Butler, and their two young daughters arrived at Butler Island, located upstream near the mouth of the Altamaha River [see Dec. 29 entry]. Here, and on another plantation on St. Simons Island, Fanny witnessed slavery – an institution she opposed – as practiced on her husband's plantations.
Eleven years later, Fanny and Pierce divorced. In 1863, with the Civil War underway, Fanny's letters and diary from her brief stay in Georgia were published as Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839. These formed an important and insightful firsthand view of slavery.
1847 Gov. George Towns signed a constitutional amendment into law removing property qualifications for holding the office of governor. Previously, the governor had to own five hundred acres of land within Georgia, plus other property in the amount of $4,000 (with an estate sufficient to pay off all debts over this amount). The act identified the reason for the change as "property qualification is inconsistent with the genius of our institutions and the popular spirit of this age." At the time, voter approval was not needed to amend Georgia's constitution. Rather, the General Assembly had to enact the change at two successive sessions of the legislature. The first act had been approved Dec. 26, 1845. Thus, passage of the legislation again at the 1847 session made the constitutional amendment effective.
1847 Gov. George Towns signed an act setting the punishment for any white person convicted of gambling with slaves or free blacks at a fine up to $1,000 and imprisonment in the county jail up to six months for the first offense. For a second offense, the punishment would be imprisonment at hard labor in the state penitentiary for one to four years.
1851 Gov. Howell Cobb signed an act creating Whitfield County as Georgia's 98th county. Created from portions of Murray County, it was named for early American evangelist and founder of Bethesda Orphan Home George Whitefield. [The spelling of "Whitefield" was changed to "Whitfield" so that it would be pronounced correctly.]
1851 Businessman and philanthropist Asa Griggs Candler was born in Villa Rica, Georgia. Candler began his career as a pharmacist, from which he got into the business of buying and developing patent medicines. In 1886 he paid John Pemberton $2300 for the rights and formula of a new "brain tonic" known as Coca-Cola that Pemberton had developed. Candler believed Coca-Cola had a better future as a fountain drink than as a medicine, so he turned his advertising and financial talents to that end. It was largely due to Candler's innovative advertising and supportive employee relations that Coke became such a remarkable worldwide success.
Candler was very generous with his earnings – particularly in giving to the Methodist church and to education. In 1914, he donated one million dollars and seventy-five acres of land to establish a school of higher learning in Atlanta – Emory University. His gifts to Emory ultimately totaled over eight million dollars. When his adopted home of Atlanta suffered a physical and financial decline, Candler responded to the urging of worried business friends and successfully ran for the office of mayor. During his term, Atlanta went from a $150,000 deficit to a surplus of more than $40,000. Candler continued his philanthropic ways by donating land for a park in Atlanta, beginning the forerunner of the chamber of commerce, and supporting a bond issue for sanitary and school improvements. Candler died on March 12, 1929, in Atlanta and was buried in Westview Cemetery.
1914 Actor and long-time television host of the "Miss America" pageant and various game shows Bert Parks was born as Bert Jacobson in Atlanta, Georgia.
1961 Penn State beat Georgia Tech 30-15 in the Gator Bowl.
1978 After winning their
first ever playoff game the previous weekend, the Atlanta Falcons lost to
the Dallas Cowboys 27-20.
1982 Lockheed-Georgia received the largest single contract in its history to produce new C-5B aircraft. The first would come off the assembly lines in July 1985.
On April 17, 1989, the fiftieth and final C-5B was delivered to the Air Force, ending a $6.7 billion program. [Contributed by Dr. Tom Scott, Kennesaw State University]
1989 Georgia lost a close game to Syracuse by a 19-18 score in the Peach Bowl.
1990 The Atlanta Falcons defeated
the Dallas Cowboys; the win clinched a playoff spot for the Falcons.
1995 Georgia lost to Virginia by a score of 34-27 in the Peach Bowl.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved on Dec. 30:
1851 Antioch (Troup County)
1890 Pendergrass (Jackson County)
In Their Own Words on This Day . . .
1734 From Ebenezer, Salzburger minister Johann Martin Boltzius felt a responsibility to teach the Indians about Christianity but was unable because of the lack of a translator. On this day, several Indian families visited the Salzburgers, leading Boltzius to write in his journal of his difficulties in learning their language:
Source: George Fenwick Jones (ed.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America . . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Vol. Two, 1734-1735 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969), pp. 29-30.
1838 Four weeks and 300 miles away from their destination, the fourth detachment of Cherokees on the Trail of Tears camped for the night in Missouri. Here, Baptist missionary Evan Jones, who was accompanying this group, wrote in a letter:
Source: William G. McLoughlin, "The Reverend Evan Jones and the Cherokee Trail of Tears, 1838-1839, 73 Georgia Historical Quarterly (Fall 1989), pp. 580-581.
1864 Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteers found out that his unit would be leaving Savannah, as indicated by his diary entry for this day:
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1870 From Richmond County, Ella Gertrude Thomas recorded the tense situation as blacks exercised their franchise:
Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 219.
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