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1838 Seminole chief Osceola died while in prison at Fort Moultrie near Charleston, S.C. He was born as Billy Powell in 1804 in the Creek Nation in an area that until 1802 had been part of Georgia's western territory (and would later become eastern Alabama). Powell later took the name Osceola and with other Creeks migrated into Florida after the Creek War to join the Seminoles.
Osceola was a leader in the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). In 1837, he came under a flag of truce to discuss peace, but on command of Gen. Thomas Jesup, U.S. military authorities arrested Osceola and sent him to prison at Fort Moultrie, where he died.
1846 The newly created Georgia Supreme Court held its first meeting at Talbotton, Ga.
Created from portions of Carroll and Polk counties, the new county was named for Hugh Haralson, a general in the Georgia Militia and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs during the Mexican War.
1861 Exactly one week after Georgia's secession, Louisiana became the sixth southern state to secede.
1914 Georgia jurist John Sammons Bell was born in Macon. After graduating from Mercer University in 1937, he earned his law degree from Emory Law School in 1948. He served as an assistant state attorney general in 1947, but entered the private practice of law in 1948. Bell served as chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party (1954-60). In 1960, Gov. Ernest Vandiver appointed Bell to a vacancy on the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 1969, he became chief judge of the court, serving in that position until resigning Jan. 31, 1979. He died Dec. 8, 2006.
Despite a long career as an appellate judge, Bell is probably best recognized for having designed, and drafting the legislation creating, a new state flag, which was adopted at the 1956 session of the General Assembly. In the photo below, Bell is shown behind Gov. Marvin Griffin, who is signing the act authorizing the new state flag.
1956 Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for speeding in Montgomery. He was jailed for the first time in his civil rights career.
In the first season, Atlanta's new professional football franchise would lose its first nine games. Under Hecker, the Falcons won four games, with 26 losses and one tie. In 1968, he was replaced by Norm Van Brocklin. After the Falcons, Hecker served as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants and as an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers. He died at age 76 on Mach 14, 2004.
2001 After having passed the Georgia House of Representatives two days earlier, a measure to change the Georgia state flag was approved by a 4-3 vote in Senate committee. [For more information, see Jan. 24 entry and the Flags That Have Flown Over Georgia site.]
1850 Buena Vista (Marion County) and Tunnel Hill (Murray County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1736 In his journal, John Wesley recorded the frustration he felt concerning his mission to Georgia and then proceeded to critique a famous work on politics -- Machiavelli's The Prince:
Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 214-215.
1737 For the first four years of Georgia's existence, the Trustees had been dependent upon James Oglethorpe to keep them informed of conditions in their colony. Oglethorpe, however, was often too busy to write -- which was a frequent source of irritation for the Trustees. Three weeks after Oglethorpe's return to England, he attended a Trustee meeting at which a change was initiated. As noted by the following entry in the journal of the Earl of Egmont, the Trustees accepted an offer by William Stephens (who would eventually become president of Georgia) to be their secretary in the colony,
Source: Robert G. McPherson (ed.), The Journal of The Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), p. 230.
1865 In this day's issue of the Christian Index, published in Macon, editor Samuel Boykin responded to the Jan. 15 Confederate surrender of Fort Fisher on North Carolina's coast, with editorial comment suggesting that southern losses may be a divine response not to the institution of slavery but rather to abuses of slavery (such as not recognizing slave marriages):
Source: Philip D. Dillard, "The Confederate Debate Over Arming Slaves: Views from Macon and Augusta Newspapers," 79 Georgia Historical Quarterly (Spring 1995), p. 131.
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