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George II was the British monarch under whom Georgia was created and for whom Britain's 13th American colony was named.
1735 At the invitation of Tomochichi, the chiefs and headmen of the Upper and Lower Creeks convened in Savannah to receive gifts from the King George II and the Georgia Trustees and to set a boundary for Georgia's settlement.
1735 In London, Georgia's Trustees decided to build a new town and fort at the mouth of the Altamaha River – the colony's southern boundary – and that the next colonists sent to Georgia would go there. In 1736, James Oglethorpe chose St. Simons Island (which lay immediately south of the mouth of the Altamaha) as the site Georgia's new settlement, which was named Frederica in honor of the king's son, Frederick.
1787 Abraham Baldwin arrived in Philadelphia from New York to join his three fellow delegates from Georgia at the Pennsylvania State House, where the convention to revise the Articles of Confederation was underway.
1880 Famous woman suffrage activist Jeannette Rankin was born in Missoula, Montana. In 1916 she became the first woman elected to Congress, where she pushed extending the right to vote to women. Here, she also became an activist for peace, voting against America's entry into World War I.
Moving to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925, Rankin created the Georgia Peace Society and over the next half century lobbied for the outlawing of all war.
In 1972, the National Organization of Women voted Rankin "the world's outstanding living feminist." She died on May 18, 1973, in Carmel, California. Her body was returned to Missoula, Montana for burial.
1913 Prosecutor Hugh Dorsey requested that Jim Conley be released from custody, but his petition was refused by Judge L.S Roan. Dorsey submitted the request because Roan had indicated that Conley should be moved to the Fulton County Jail (popularly known as The Tower) instead of being held at Atlanta police headquarters. At headquarters both Dorsey and detectives on the case had ready access to Conley, who had changed his story several times than at the county jail. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1948 Lawyer and politician Hugh M. Dorsey died. Born July 10, 1871 in Fayetteville, Ga., Dorsey graduated from the University of Georgia in 1893. He studied law at the University of Virginia before joining his father's law firm in 1895. In 1910, he was appointed solicitor-general [chief prosecuting attorney] of the Fulton Superior Court. After losing two notable murder cases, Dorsey achieved state-wide fame when he successfully prosecuted Leo Frank for the 1913 murder of Mary Phagan, a fourteen year old girl who worked at Frank's pencil factory.
The Leo Frank case received national attention for the lurid nature of the murder, the conflicting evidence and testimonies, the accusations of anti-Semitism (Frank was Jewish) and the fact that a white man was convicted largely on the testimony of a black man. Dorsey successfully fought off all appeals to the case before resigning his office in 1916. His prosecution of the Frank case made him extremely popular and, with the support of journalist Tom Watson, Dorsey was elected governor in 1916 and again in 1918. Dorsey devoted most of his administration to leading Georgia's efforts in World War I. Dorsey ran for the U.S. Senate in 1920, but was defeated by his previous ally Tom Watson. Dorsey returned to practicing law and finally served as superior court judge in Atlanta from 1935 until his death in 1948.
1967 Politician Eurith Dickinson ("Ed") Rivers died in Atlanta. Born in Center Point, Ark. on Dec. 1, 1895, Rivers attended Young Harris College and taught in public schools for a short time before entering politics. First elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1924, he served several terms there, including serving as Speaker from 1933-1936. In 1936 Rivers was elected governor, earlier defeating Eugene Talmadge in the Democratic primary.
Rivers ran on a platform of support for and involvement in the New Deal, calling his programs Georgia's "Little New Deal" [see article]. He lived up to his promise, and under his leadership Georgia invested heavily in New Deal Programs. While many state programs received additional funding, the growth in public health spending best exemplified Rivers' allegiance to the New Deal; spending increased from $100,000 to one million dollars in his first term alone.
But all the programs Rivers advocated cost money, not all of which could come from the federal government. In his second term Rivers encountered a legislature reluctant to raise taxes. His popularity was also damaged by a scandal involving several of his friends in the highway department, although Rivers himself was not involved. He held no further elective office after 1940, but his administration did institute many reforms and aided many Georgians through cooperation with the New Deal.
1985 The Georgia Supreme
Court ordered a new trial for Jim Williams, convicted in two earlier trials
for the murder of Danny Hansford in the case dramatized by both the book
and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
1997 Dr. Michael Adams, president of Centre College in Kentucky, was named 21st president of the University of Georgia, effective September 1, 1997. He succeeded Dr. Charles B. Knapp, who left the university to become president of the Aspen Institute.
1999 After an extended illness, Atlanta-born actor DeForest Kelley died at age 79 in Los Angeles, Calif. He was best known for his role as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy on the "Star Trek" television series and movie sequels.
See Jan. 20 entry for more biographical information on Kelley.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1811 Gov. John Milledge and Pres. Thomas Jefferson established a friendship while simultaneously holding office. Their correspondence continued even after both had retired from public life. After writing in detail on various aspects of his plantation, Jefferson wrote the following to Milledge:
Source: Harriet Milledge Salley (ed.), Correspondence of John Milledge, Governor of Georgia, 1802-1806 (The State Commercial Printing Company, Columbia, S.C., 1949), p. 158.
1864 Union Maj. Fredrick Winkler's letter to his wife from south of Acworth explains the temporary stall in the Atlanta Campaign:
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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