TDGH - March 6
This Day in Georgia
Ed Jackson and Charles Pou
- The University of Georgia
1856 Gov. Herschel
Johnson signed legislation creating Towns
County as Georgia's 118th county. Created from portions of
Rabun and Union counties, the new county was named for George
Towns, former Georgia governor (1847-1851) who died two years
1857 The U.S.
Supreme Court issued its Dred Scott decision. The case had been filed in St. Louis
by Dred Scott, a slave who filed a lawsuit seeking his freedom.
The Supreme Court, however, turned his case down, holding that
black Americans were not citizens. Associate Justice James M. Wayne of Georgia issued a concurring opinion supporting the court's decision.
Though supported by politicians and newspaper editors in the South, the Dred Scott decision met angry opposition in the North and was an important factor leading to Abraham Lincoln's election three years later. [Click here to read the about the history and ramifications of the decision.]
1933 During the
Depression, America's banking system seemed on the verge of collapsing,
leading to nationwide run on banks to withdraw gold and currency.
On this day, Georgia banks closed as Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a nationwide four-day bank holiday in an attempt to save
the nation's faltering banking system. Most banks reopened after
a 10-day "holiday". However, many banks in Georgia, and indeed across the nation, permanently closed during the Depression.
1945 Gov. Ellis
Arnall signed legislation creating the Veterans Resettlement Corporation.
The new agency was empowered to issue revenue bonds to make loans
insured by the U.S. government to returning veterans of World
War II in order to allow them to purchase or construct homes,
farms, and business property.
1946 The U.S.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Primus E. King, an African
American from Columbus, Georgia, could vote in the Georgia Democratic
primary. King had brought the suit after being prohibited from
voting in July 1944. The court ruled this violated the 14th, 15th,
and 17th amendments, and that the Georgia's white primary was
a state election in which the Democratic Party acted as an instrumentality
of the state.
Elijah Muhammad [shown at podium at right of photo) renamed Cassius Clay [in black suit at left of photo] as Muhammad Ali.
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated
by acts approved by the governor on March 6:
1856 Weston (Kinchafoonee
now Webster County)
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1736 John Brownfield
came to Savannah in February 1736 to represent the interests of
an English firm wanting to sell goods and merchandise in Georgia.
However, he found that high prices and buying on credit had some
colonists deeply in debt. Even worse, some Georgia colonists were
being jailed because of their debts. Brownfield wrote the Trustees,
who must have been shocked since opposition to jailing debtors
was one of the reasons for the origin of the Georgia movement
"I had leave to go up to Savannah on
the 13th in order to settle my own little affairs. I found there
a cargo of goods consigned to me from Mr. Tuckwell and had the
favour of putting them in Your Honours' magazine for some days
'till I could get a house to put them into. Several of the freeholders
told me that the town was already overstocked with goods and
trade in general at a very low ebb. I could not help being a
little surprised at what they said but upon diligent inquiry
found it to be true. The present shopkeepers have used such extortion,
partly by taking advantage of the peoples' necessities, partly
through the extravagant prices they themselves paid for goods
from Carolina, that they are generally hated, but more particularly
so for their having frequently taken out executions and imprisoned
the persons indebted to them after two or three months' credit.
These means have been chiefly used a by a number of Scotch gentlemen
who arrived here soon after Mr. Oglethorpe went for England in
1734. Instead of improving their lands they fell into trade and
thereby dispirited the poor inhabitants of Savannah from any
attempts that way. When they had engrossed most part of the trade
they advanced their prices and by fair outward pretenses drew
abundance of the people into debt, soon after which they threatened
to serve executions in order to get houses and lands mortgaged
to them and succeeded with a few weak men. They have drained
the ready money into their own hands but seem now to be at a
full stand. The people in general hope that Mr. Tuckwell's wholesale
warehouse under Your Honours' protection will rescue them from
future extortion. I intend to set up three of four retailers
in Savannah and to make it their interest to deal reasonably
by fixing moderate prices at which they shall sell and allowing
them commission for their trouble. But I shall make it my chief
rule to decline the giving of credit since that has proved very
hurtful to those who have received it, for they quitted all thoughts
of labour upon finding that goods could be had without. When
the workmen had contracted a habit of idleness, their creditors
(the shopkeepers) were enraged and served executions upon them.
. . ."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's
Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press,
1990), Vol. I, pp. 248-249.
1838 The Treaty
of New Echota, signed in Dec. 29, 1835 by one faction of the
Cherokee Indians, obligated the entire nation to leave their homeland
and move to the west. Many Cherokees, however, refused to acknowledge
the validity of that treaty. As the deadline for removal approached,
there was uncertainty as to whether the Cherokees would voluntarily
leave. From Van's Valley in Floyd County, J. Hemphill wrote Georgia
Gov. George Gilmer with bad news:
". . . I have just been hand[ed] a letter
from Captain A. Bishop, who makes the following remarks: The
Indian news are rather unfavorable. Great excitement and alarm
prevails amongst the citizens and, I am inclined to believe,
not without good cause. Perhaps no immediate danger is at hand,
but not far ahead. I am apprised that a great many others differ
with me on this subject, and they may be honest, too, but I really
think that if our people will pursue a proper and prudent course
towards this people that may be removed without spilling a drop
of blood. I am fearful that the state of excitement that is said
to exist in some sections (and a great part of without a cause)
will lead our people to do acts of violence that may lead to
difficulties. One great cause of alarm and excitement originates
from the indifference manifested by the Indians about the treaty
and the non-preparation of them for emigration. Their intention
is to carry out Ross's policy, that is after having recourse
to every means of resistance and failing, then to suffer themselves
to be dragged off by government officers and troops. And in my
humble opinion that is the only call for a force: To gather the
Indians and drive them on to the place of rendezvous. They never
will resist the forces. They have not the means of defence. They
have neither arms nor ammunition, nor places to flee to."
Source: Edward J. Cashin (ed.), A Wilderness
Still the Cradle of Nature: Frontier Georgia, A Documentary History
(Savannah: Beehive Press, 1994), pp. 128-129.
Thomas recorded her humiliation at having her old house sold at
". . . Mr. Thomas rode into town. I remained
at home and determined I would not take time to think. I went
out into the vegetable and flower garden and had beets planted
and a hedge of flowering peas prepared leading from the wing room.
I tried to interest myself but the thought would constantly occur
'Now at this hour, the announcement is being made that' – What
shall I say? Not that my husband has failed for that was known
last summer when the goods were sold at the store, but this was
an additional calling of the public to notice our degradation,
perhaps that is too strong a word, but Oh it is humiliating –
Ma consoles me by telling me that 'we are not the first, or only
people who have been advertised by the sheriff.' I know that,
but it is little consolation to a person terribly deformed to
know that there are some cases in the world as bad & perhaps
worse than his own. . . . We have enough left yet of this world's
goods to keep hunger from the door and my boys will certainly
be able to support themselves and aid their sisters. If Mr. Thomas
was more hopeful it would infuse new life and vigor into our little
family circle. . . ."
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. 331.
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