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1733 On the final day of the Georgia colonists' first week at Yamacraw Bluff, work on a crane at river's edge was completed.
This had been an essential project, as the bluff stood forty feet above the river and colonists needed a way of lifting the heavier supplies as well as cattle and pigs from boats. James Oglethorpe then divided the colonists into three work crews. One was assigned to cutting down pine trees so a town could be laid out.
A second group was responsible for creating a communal garden by clearing out tree stumps and preparing the land for planting seeds. The third crew began digging a trench in order to erect a wooden palisade around the settlement to protect the colonists against Spanish or Indian attack. Workers on the palisade apparently were soon reassigned to other projects -- probably building houses -- for in the famous 1734 engraving "View of Savannah," only a small section of completed palisade is shown.
[Note: Letters, diaries, and records of this time show dates based on the Julian calendar (referred to as "Old Style") then in effect in Britain and the American colonies. The Gregorian calendar ("New Style") was adopted in 1752. Thus, Feb. 7, 1732/33 (Old Style) represents Feb. 18, 1733 under our calendar now in effect. For a fuller explanation, click here.]
1795 The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was formally ratified. That amendment provides: "The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."
1905 Football coaching great James Wallace (Wally) Butts was born in Milledgeville, Georgia. In high school and college, he became a successful star in three sports -- football, basketball, and baseball. Butts coached football at several high schools and at Georgia Military College. In 1938, he was named an assistant coach at the University of Georgia, and the following year he became head coach.
Butts' twenty-two year reign as Georgia's head football coach was a time of unprecedented success for the football program. His teams won 140 games, including four major bowl victories and four Southeastern Conference championships. While noted for his rugged coaching style and insistence on discipline and conditioning, Butts was also an innovator in developing passing routes in a time when most college football teams relied primarily on rushing plays. Butts was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 1942, 1946, and 1959.
He retired from coaching in 1960, but remained athletic director in 1963. It was during these last three years that the Saturday Evening Post published a story accusing Butts of giving an opponent inside information on Georgia's team and game plans. Former players and coaches rallied to his support, denouncing the article as absurd. Butts sued the Post for libel, and a jury agreed that the evidence did not support the allegations; Butts was awarded a large cash settlement for the damage to his reputation. After retiring from the University, Butts remained in Athens as owner of a successful insurance company. He suffered a heart attack while jogging, and died on December 17, 1973.
In 1987, the University of Georgia completed construction of the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall as home of the Georgia Bulldogs.
The complex contains the administrative offices of the Georgia Athletic Association, facilities for the coaches and players, and the Georgia Bulldogs Hall of Fame. The facility was named in honor of Coach Butts and another Georgia great, Harry Mehre.
1946 Former Atlanta Falcon great (1969-1986) Jeff Van Note was born. After lettering three years at the University of Kentucky, he was drafted by the Falcons. As center, he was named All-Pro in 1982 and played in six Pro Bowls (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1982).
1956 In the Georgia House of Representatives, S.B. 98 (which would change Georgia's state flag) was reported out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation. That same day, it received its second reading on the floor. By law, the third and final reading of the bill could not take place until the next legislative day. Immediately following third reading, S.B. 98 would be ready for floor debate and voting. For more on the history of Georgia flags, see the Flags That Have Flown Over Georgia site.
1961 At age 23, actress Jane Fonda (who later married Ted Turner) appeared in her first acting role in the NBC television drama, "A String of Beads."
2008 An explosion at the Imperial sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, GA (near Savannah) killed twelve people, injured dozens more, and set off a massive fire.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1733 Less than a week after arrival of the first Georgia colonists, Peter Gordon recorded a catastrophe:
Source: [no author or editors cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 14-15.
Source: Kenneth Coleman and Milton Ready (eds.), Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. 28, Part II (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1979), pp. 136-137.
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