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Oglethorpe had attended Corpus Christi but never graduated. History books universally have attributed the honorary degree a recognition of Oglethorpe's humanitarian work – particularly with respect to prison reform. However, in 1996, Corpus Christi College president Sir Keith Thomas revealed that such honorary degrees were a common practice for "gentleman commoners" in Oglethorpe's time – if they kept their name on the books long enough. (For an excellent discussion of Oglethorpe's college career and the impact of Corpus Christi on his life, click here.)
1816 George H. Thomas was born in Southampton County, Va. Thomas graduated from West Point, then served in the Mexican War before returning to teach at West Point. When the Civil War began he sided with the Union, eventually serving under General Ulysses Grant and General William T. Sherman, and attaining the rank of General himself.
At the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, the Union forces were on the verge of being routed when Thomas rallied his troops for a stand on Snodgrass Hill. He was able to hold the line until darkness fell and the Union forces could retreat in orderly fashion. This feat earned him the nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga."
1864 Union Maj. Gen. George Stoneman, having failed in his goal to free 30,000 Federal prisoners being held in Macon, was retreating back to join Sherman when his cavalry force ran into three cavalry brigades under Confederate Gen. Joe Wheeler. The Confederates prevailed in the Battle of Sunshine Church, forcing Stoneman to surrender.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1871 Henry Grady is often credited with the "New South" movement. But, on this day fifteen years prior to Grady's famous speech in New York City, former Confederate senator Benjamin Hill issued the first call for a new South in a speech to the University of Georgia Alumni Society as part of commencement activities.
Hill's address, which was reprinted in part in the Aug. 2 issue of the Atlanta Constitution, had a mixed reception in Georgia. [Click here to read excerpt from Hill's speech.]
1906 Gov. Joseph Terrell approved a joint resolution of the General Assembly proposing a constitutional amendment to create Ben Hill County. Because there were then 145 counties – the maximum allowed by the Georgia Constitution then in effect – the creation of Ben Hill County would first require approval of a constitutional amendment to exceed that limit. The new county was to be created from portions of Irwin and Wilcox counties and was named for former U.S. and Confederate senator Benjamin H. Hill. On Nov. 6, 1906, voters approved the constitutional amendment making Ben Hill Georgia's 146th county.
1906 Gov. Joseph Terrell approved a proposed constitutional amendment creating a state Court of Appeals to hear appeals from lower courts in those cases where the constitution did not specifically confer jurisdiction on the state Supreme Court. Georgia voters ratified the amendment on Nov. 6, 1906.
1913 On day four of the Leo Frank trial, R.B. Barrett, a machinist at the factory, provided new information when he testified that he had found Mary Phagan's empty pay envelope and bloodstains near a machine on the factory's second floor. Until now, no mention had been made of the missing pay envelope. The main witness of the day was Harry Scott, Pinkerton detective in charge of their investigation of the case. He angered both sides during his testimony. He said Frank did not appear nervous on the Monday following the murder (it was Frank who brought Scott into the case), but was uneasy after his arrest. This angered prosecutor Hugh Dorsey, who argued that Scott had told him previously Frank was nervous at the factory on Monday. Scott then angered defense attorneys when he asserted one of them had asked him to forward all police evidence to the defense. Also testifying was former factory employee Monteen Stover, who said she had arrived at the factory at 12:05 PM to receive her pay, had waited in Frank's office for him for five minutes, then left. This contradicted Frank's statement that he had been in his office the entire time in which the murder took place. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1942 Albany-born Harry James and his band recorded the Columbia Records million-seller "I've Heard That Song Before."
1954 In a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Milwaukee Brave first baseman Joe Adcock hit four home runs and a double for a total of 18 bases in a game – a Major League record.
1960 Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Poole in 1897 in Sandersville, Georgia), leader of the Nation of Islam, called for creation of a Black state in America at a meeting in New York.
1962 D.B. Carroll, Vassa Cate, Sam Glassman Sr., Billy Henderson, Jim Nolan, and George O'Kelley were inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
1982 The Atlanta Braves management ordered the removal of Chief Nokahoma's teepee, which was then located on a platform in the field seats.
The Braves were on a winning streak, and team officials wanted to free up the seats blocked by the large platform that supported the teepee. After the teepee came down, the Braves lost 19 out of the next 21 games. Officials then directed that Nokahoma's teepee be erected again, and the Braves went on to win the division.
1985 Aboard the Challenger shuttle, Coca-Cola became the first soft drink in space.
1996 This was the thirteenth day of the 1996 Summer Olympics – and day 12 of Olympic competition. On this day, the U.S. gold medal winner was Kurt Angle in men's heavyweight freestyle wrestling. Click here for a summary of medals awarded during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
In the semi-final rounds of men's soccer at Sanford Stadium on the University of Georgia campus, Nigeria beat Brazil to advance to the gold medal round against the United States.
2011 The Atlanta Braves traded center fielder Jordan Schafer and three minor league prospects to the Houston Astros for center fielder Michael Bourn. Bourn was a two time gold glove center fielder who was batting over .300 and led the league in stolen bases.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved on July 31:
1920 Alpharetta (Milton
later Fulton County) and Poctaligo (Madison County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
Source: Robert G. McPherson, 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. 59.
1863 Gertrude Thomas noted the recent military setbacks of the Confederacy, but still maintained a positive attitude:
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. 218.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 Today, it was flies rather than Confederates that Lt. Col. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry worried about, as he wrote his wife:
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