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1866 Former Confederate general Martin L. Smith died in Savannah.
Born Sept. 9 1819, in Danby, N.Y., Smith graduated from West Point in 1842, after which he was assigned to survey coasts and rivers. During the Mexican War, he served as a civil engineer. In April 1861, Smith resigned his U.S. Army commission and served as a major of engineers planning the defenses of New Orleans. In 1862, Smith had a phenomenal rise in rank, in February being promoted to colonel, in April to brigadier general, and in November to major general. Smith became Robert E. Lee's chief engineer. In 1864, he served as chief engineer for Gen. Hood's defense of Atlanta. After the war, Smith practiced civil engineering briefly before his death.
1912 Religious leader Clarence Jordan was born in Talbotton, Georgia. Majoring in agriculture at the University of Georgia, he went on to obtain a masters and doctorate in theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While in school, Jordan began to minister to the inner city poor, which greatly affected his views on society and religion. In 1941, he met Baptist missionary Martin England. Together they had a dream of creating an interracial Christian community in the South that would be dedicated to peace, brotherhood, and sharing. In 1942, they decided to create Koinonia Farm (the term comes from a Greek word for sharing used by early Christians) on 440 acres of land eight miles southwest of Americus, Georgia.
Expectedly, many local citizens were not happy with what they saw as an interracial commune, and the KKK began a campaign to intimidate Jordan and his followers.
However, they refused to leave, and the size of the farm more than doubled in subsequent years. Jordon later prepared the Cotton Patch Version of the New Testament as a common folks' version of the scriptures.
Publicity from this helped revitalize Jordan's efforts. Then, in 1968, Millard Fuller joined forces with Jordan to try to eliminate substandard housing in the Sumter County area by loaning money to the poor at no interest and building homes at no profit. Thus was begun the Habitat for Humanity idea, though Jordan unexpectedly died of a heart attack the next year and was not able to see it to fruition.
1913 This was the second day of the trial of Leo Frank being held in the Fulton County Courthouse.
Newt Lee, the night watchman who discovered Mary Phagan's body, concluded his testimony by repeating his story for the defense. Altogether Lee spent four hours and forty-five minutes on the stand. The next witness was police Sgt. L.S. Dobbs, who took Lee's phone call and rushed to the factory. He said he found the body in the basement, face down, with a cord tied tightly around the neck, and a pair of women's underpants tied loosely around the neck. The back of the head was covered in blood. He also found two notes, her shoes, and a trail where the body was dragged to its location. Detective John Starnes then took the stand. He had called Leo Frank to inform him of the murder, and said Frank appeared extremely nervous when he arrived at the factory. The highlight of the day was strong verbal clashes between prosecutor Hugh Dorsey and defense attorney Luther Rosser over Rosser's attempts to discredit the testimony of Starnes. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
This feat was possible because baseball rules provide that if a catcher fails to catch the ball on a batter's third strike, that batter can try to make first base. In such a case, if the batter makes first base, the pitcher is credited with a strike out, but the out doesn't count against the team at bat.
1994 Officials of the U.S. Postal Service and the Kennesaw Civil War Museum held "second day of issue" ceremonies at the museum for a U.S. commemorative stamp honoring the locomotive "General" released the previous day.
First day of issue ceremonies had been held on July 28 in New Mexico [click here for story] and the stamp was only available at that site. So, on July 29 a special ceremony for the new stamp was held at the Kennesaw museum where the General is on permanent display. To mark the occasion, the Postal Service prepared a special pictorial cancel, and the museum sold souvenir covers using the new stamp and cancel.
1996 This was the eleventh day of the 1996 Summer Olympics – and day 10 of Olympic competition. On this day, U.S. gold medal winners were Michael Johnson in the men's 400-meters, Allen Johnson in the men's 110-meter hurdles, and Shannon Miller in the women's balance beam. Click here for a summary of medals awarded during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved on July 29:
1904 Ashburn (Worth County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
Source: George Fenwick Jones and Don Savelle (ed. and trans.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America . . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), Vol. VII, pp. 190-191.
1775 From Savannah, Gov. James Wright wrote Lord Dartmouth, British secretary of state for the colonies, about the near state of rebellion in Georgia. His letter included reference to the tar-and-feathering of a Savannah loyalist [click here to read a firsthand account of the incident written by the victim]:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 31.
1861 Gertrude Thomas recorded the excitement engendered by the initial Confederate victory of the Civil War:
Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), p. 189.
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If you have a date related to Georgia history or people that ought to be included, or if know of entries that should be corrected, send a note to Ed Jackson or Charly Pou.
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