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1785 Samuel Elbert was elected governor of Georgia. Born in South Carolina in 1740, Elbert was one of the earliest successful merchants in the colony of Georgia. Owning a considerable amount of land and running a profitable import business, he naturally was interested in British economic policies toward the colonies in the years preceding the American Revolution. Elbert was also a military leader and had risen to the rank of captain in the Georgia militia before war broke out with England. He was a major participant in the group of patriots who regularly met at Tondee's Tavern in Savannah to plan resistance to British policies. By February 1776, Elbert was a lieutenant colonel in the first continental troops assembled in Georgia. Being active in virtually all the Georgia efforts in the Revolutionary War, Elbert was taken prisoner after the Battle of Briar Creek on March 3, 1779. He was exchanged for a British general in 1781, promoted to brigadier general in the Continental Army, and immediately reported to General George Washington for duty. Elbert was on hand for the American victory at Yorktown and was placed in charge of the large deposit of arms and military stores taken in the battle.
After the war, Elbert returned to Savannah and his commercial business (left in disarray by the war), but soon was called upon for political service. In 1783 he acted as treaty commissioner for the Indian talks, and the following year was chosen as a delegate to the Continental Congress, but he declined to serve. In 1785, the legislature elected Elbert as governor of Georgia. Even though his health was beginning to fail, he accepted this position, devoting much of his attention to defense and Creek relations. Also noteworthy during his one-year term as governor was the passage of the act chartering the University of Georgia. After his term as governor, Elbert served one year as sheriff of Chathan County -- but by then his health was failing badly. He died on Nov. 1, 1788 and was buried near his home in Savannah. On Dec. 10, 1790, the Georgia General Assembly named a new county in his honor.
1805 Politician Charles Jones Jenkins was born in the Beaufort district of South Carolina. He studied law under John Berrien was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1826. Drawn to public service, Jenkins served a number of terms in the state legislature and as state attorney general. Jenkins is noted for drafting the "Georgia Platform," a conciliatory view on slavery in U.S. territories and the Compromise of 1850. He opposed secession, while defending the states' rights to do so. Elected governor following the Civil War, Jenkins improved Georgia's faltering credit and helped get the Western and Atlantic Railroad operational again. But he opposed military occupation during Reconstruction and was removed from office by General Meade. Jenkins took state funds, the executive seal, and documents and deposited them in a New York bank, while he lived abroad in Nova Scotia and Europe. When a Democratic majority was finally elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 1872, all the money and documents were returned, and Jenkins returned to Georgia to live out his retirement. He did appear on the public stage once more, as president of the constitutional convention of 1877. He died at his home in Augusta on June 14, 1883. The Georgia General Assembly named a county in his honor on August 17, 1905.
1976 Ted Turner purchased the Atlanta Braves, reportedly paying $12 million for the franchise.
1988 The U.S. Postal Service released a new stamp commemorating Georgia's ratification of the Constitution in 1788.
Click here to read about the stamp.
1995 The Atlanta Hawks beat the Washington Bullets 112-90, giving coach Lenny Wilkins his 939th win -- an NBA record.
1997 Former Atlanta Brave knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
2005 Former Georgia Congressman
Ronald "Bo" Ginn died. See May 31
entry for biographical infomation.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1741 Thomas Stephens came to Georgia in Dec. 1737 with his father William Stephens, the Trustees' new secretary. Although William eventually would become president of the entire colony, his son soon became a spokesman for the Malcontents -- colonists who opposed the Trustees' policies on slaves and land ownership. On two occasions, Thomas went to England to lobby the Trustees to change their policies. On this day, the younger Stephens concentrated on changing the mind of the Earl of Egmont. Although Egmont remained convinced that the Trustees were acting in the best interests of Georgia, Stephens argued at length -- and even threatened to take the issue to Parliament -- as recorded 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. II, pp. 174-176
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