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1736 After having sailed from England on Dec. 10, 1735, James Oglethorpe, John and Charles Wesley, and 254 new Georgia colonists -- including a number of Moravians and Salzburgers -- arrived at Savannah. While John Wesley would stay behind to minister to the Savannah colonists, the others would sail south to St. Simons Island to begin the Frederica settlement.
1777 Meeting in Savannah, delegates to a constitutional convention adopted the Constitution of 1777 -- Georgia's first official state constitution. [Although some historians consider the Rules and Regulations adopted by Georgia's Provincial Congress on April 15, 1776 as Georgia's first constitution, that document was adopted before Georgia proclaimed its statehood on July 4, 1776.]
1777 Georgia's first constitution created the state's first eight counties. All but the first consisted of former parishes that had existed under royal government.
Counties named in the Constitution of 1777 in order of creation were:
Wilkes County -- Georgia's first county -- was created from the "ceded lands north of Ogechee" -- a reference to the land ceded by the Creeks and Cherokees in the Treaty of Augusta of 1773. The county was named for British politician John Wilkes, who supported the cause of the American colonies' cause in the House of Commons.
Richmond County -- Georgia's second county -- consisted of the former St. Paul Parish. The county was named for the Duke of Richmond, a supporter of the American colonies' cause in Parliament.
Burke County -- Georgia's third county -- consisted of the former St. George Parish. The county was named for Edmund Burke, another member of Parliament who championed the rights of the American colonies.
Effingham County -- Georgia's fourth county -- consisted of the former Saint Matthew Parish and the portion of Saint Philip Parish above the Canouchee River. The county honored Lord Effingham, an English nobleman who supported the American colonies.
Chatham County -- Georgia's fifth county -- consisted of Christ Church Parish and the portion of Saint Philip Parish south of the Canouchee River. It was named to recognize British Prime Minister William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham.
Liberty County -- Georgia's sixth county -- consisted of Saint John, Saint Andrew, and Saint James parishes. Reportedly, the county was named in recognition of the patriots who lived in Midway, the first Georgia community to send delegates to the Continental Congress.
Glynn County -- Georgia's seventh county -- consisted of Saint David and Saint Patrick parishes. The county's name honored John Glynn, yet another member of the British House of Commons who supported the American colonies.
Camden County -- Georgia's eighth county -- consisted of Saint Thomas and Saint Mary parishes. The county was named for the Earl of Camden, who supported the American colonies cause prior to the Revolution.
1934 Baseball great Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama. He signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves at age eighteen and was playing in the major leagues by age twenty. On April 23, 1954 Aaron hit the first of what would be a record setting number of home runs. By August 15, 1957 he had amassed one hundred homers; that same year he led Milwaukee to the World Series championship. His two-hundredth homer came July 3, 1960, then his three-hundredth April 19, 1963.
The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, where Aaron collected home run number four hundred on April 20. His milestone five-hundredth homer came July 14, 1968. But Aaron was doing more than just hitting home runs, by May 17, 1970 he had collected his three thousandth base hit. But it was his chase of Babe Ruth's home record that captivated the baseball world. The Braves won a division championship in 1969, but lost in the playoffs to the "Miracle Mets." Meanwhile Aaron's home run assault went on; number six hundred came April 27, 1971. On June 10, 1972 Aaron hit home run number 649, passing Willie Mays for second place on the all time list. Only Babe Ruth's 714 was left to conquer. As the 1973 season neared it's end, Aaron connected for number 713 on September 29. On opening day in 1974, Aaron hit the record tying round tripper. Then, in one of the most memorable moments in sports history, Hank Aaron broke the seemingly unbreakable record when he hit number 715 before a roaring Atlanta Stadium crowd on April 8, 1974 . In May of 1975, Aaron also surpassed Ruth's RBI mark. He finished his career with 755 home runs and over 2200 RBIs. Aaron was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame on August 1, 1982. He currently works in the front office for the Atlanta Braves, has a street named in his honor adjacent to the Braves' new stadium, and has received numerous other honors and recognitions.
1943 Gov. Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to transfer the governor's clemency powers to a new State Board of Pardons and Paroles. This was one of a series of constitutional amendments proposed by Arnall to reduce the powers of the governor following the administrations of Eugene Talmadge. In the subsequent general election, Georgia voters approved the amendment.
1945 Gov. Ellis Arnall signed legislation abolishing the poll tax, making Georgia the fourth southern state to drop the tax on voting.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1741 Though James Oglethorpe's family home was in the Surrey County town of Godalming, he was elected to the House of Commons from the nearby community of Haslemere. [See map] During his stay in Georgia, Oglethorpe remained a member of Parliament, but on this day his friend and fellow-Trustee, the Earl of Egmont, learned some sad news. Egmont's son had decided to challenge Oglethorpe for his Haslemere seat, as noted in Egmont's diary:
Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. III, p. 188.
1797 Traveling through Creek Indian territory, Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins described a pristine creek in what is now southwestern Georgia:
Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. IX, Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1916), p. 73.
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