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1807 Commissioners from Georgia and North Carolina agreed to recognize 35°N as the mutual boundary of the two states and "to run and mark the line [35th parallel] accordingly; which line, when ascertained and completed with joint concurrence, shall forever after be regarded as the line of separation and boundary between the two states." Commissioners, however, were unable to agree on where the 35th parallel should be marked. North Carolina's legislature ratified the agreement, while Georgia's would not. Faulty surveying later would mark the 35th parallel south of its true location for almost all of Georgia's northern boundary. Since then, both North Carolina and Tennessee have insisted on the surveyed boundary rather than true 35°N.
To this day, Georgia law continues to prescribe the 35th parallel as the state's northern boundary. If this boundary were observed, a good portion of southern Chattanooga, Tenn. would fall within the jurisdiction of Georgia. Perhaps more importantly, in view of recent droughts and the uncertain future for Atlanta's water supply, the northwest tip of Georgia would fall in the middle of the Tennessee River, giving Georgia access to water from the river. In recent years, Georgia has tried to get Tennessee to recognize the 35th parallel as the true boundary separating the two states – but Tennessee refuses to negotiate on the matter.
1841 Wesley O. Connor, known as the father of education for the deaf in Georgia, was born near Anderson, South Carolina. As a youth, he moved to Cave Spring, Georgia in 1849 to live with a married sister. Here, in 1857, he began working at the Georgia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb at Cave Spring in order to learn how to teach to the deaf. He taught there until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he joined the Cherokee Artillery, a volunteer unit from Rome, Ga. He fought in numerous battles, including the Atlanta Campaign and the battles of Franklin and Nashville. He was captured by and sent to a Union prison in Ohio, where he stayed until the end of the war. After he was released, Connor returned to Cave Spring to manage the farm of his sister, whose husband had been killed in the war. In 1867, he was offered the position of principal of what would become known as the Georgia School for the Deaf, a position he held for 49 years. Conner became nationally recognized for his work with deaf students and was elected president of the American Convention of Instructors for the Death in 1895. He also associated with others in the field, most notably Alexander Graham Bell and Helen Keller. Connor died in Cave Spring on Feb. 18, 1920.
1862 Seven of the raiders who had hijacked the General locomotive were taken from the Fulton County jail to a wooded area outside of Atlanta. Here, on a long scaffold that had been built for the execution, the seven were hanged and their bodies buried in a shallow trench that had been dug near the scaffold. At the end of the Civil War, the U.S. government dug up their remains and reinterred them at the national cemetery in Chattanooga.
In recent years, a monument was erected just inside the brick wall in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery next to Memorial Blvd. to mark the execution of the raiders, which took place a block immediately behind the memorial.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1894 After the Richmond & Danville Railroad went into receivership in 1892, Drexel, Morgan & Co. assumed control and reorganized the rail line into the Southern Railway Company, with headquarters in Richmond, Virginia – later moved to Washington, D.C. Absorbed into the Southern were a number of rail companies serving Atlanta, including the Atlanta & Charlotte Air-Line and Georgia Pacific Railways. Samuel Spencer of Columbus, Georgia became the first president. During his twelve years, the Southern would grow dramatically in terms of equipment and geographic markets served.
1917 Politician and lawyer Judson Clements died in Washington, D.C. Born in northwest Georgia's Walker County in 1846, Clements served in both the Georgia House and Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1880. Here he served for ten years, his expertise and interest mainly in transportation. Clements was influential in creating the legislation leading to creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
After retiring from Congress, Clements acted as U.S. attorney in acquiring the lands which became Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. In 1892 he was appointed to the Interstate Commerce Commission, where his knowledge of railroad transportation proved invaluable. He served on the commission for 25 years, retiring just three months before his death.
1933 In Washington, D.C., Georgia senator Walter F. George was hospitalized for exhaustion following the adjournment of Congress. As a member of the U.S. Senate's finance committee, George had worked tirelessly throughout the session that had dealt with Pres. Franklin Roosevelt's legislative agenda to combat the Great Depression.
1977 Former Athens-area resident Kenny Rogers' record "Lucille" peaked at number one in the UK pop singles chart and number seven in the U.S.
1998 On the centennial of the original issue, the U.S. Postal Service released a bi-color reissue of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition set of nine commemorative stamps – one of which was a 5-cent stamp featuring Savannah-born John C. Fremont. Click here for more information on the stamp.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1735 Francis Moore was another early Georgia colonist who kept a journal. He recorded a military ruse on this day:
Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), p. 153.
1865 From his home near Lithonia, Thomas Maguire wrote in his journal:
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), Vol. I, p. 678.
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