TDGH - March 14
This Day in Georgia History
Ed Jackson and Charles Pou
The University of Georgia
1737 During a lengthy visit
to London, James Oglethorpe had visited with Prime Minister Robert Walpole. Walpole had offered Oglethorpe
the office of governor of South Carolina --but Oglethorpe declined. On Mar. 14, Walpole announced he would
appoint Oglethorpe's preference -- Samuel Horsey -- as governor. Walpole
also announced his willingness to commission Oglethorpe as general of the
combined forces of South Carolina and Georgia.
Oglethorpe, however, would
decline unless also given the rank of colonel in the British Army plus a
regiment of 700 soldiers under his command to take back to Georgia. [The distinction
in the two positions was Walpole's commission as general of the combined
forces would have been a temporary command, while being a colonel in the
British Army would have allowed permanent military status.] Several months
would pass before Walpole agreed to Oglethorpe's demand.
1794 Eli Whitney secured
a patent on the cotton gin. Whitney's invention made it possible
to clean 50 times the amount of cotton per day than when done by hand. However,
its simplicity of design made it easy to be copied by others, and Whitney
never realized major financial profits from his invention. [For more on Whitney's patent and the importance of the cotton gin, click here.]
8 entry a for biographical profile of Whitney.
1835 A segment of the Cherokee
Indians led by John Ridge signed the Treaty
of Washington with U.S. commissioners in Washington, D.C. The treaty
ceded all remaining Cherokee lands in Georgia to the U.S. However, because
of heavy opposition by other Cherokees, the U.S. Senate did not ratify the
1921 Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy was born in Atlanta, Georiga.
1942 The official name of
the Army Air Force Depot in Houston County was formally changed to Wellston
Air Depot -- though it would soon be renamed Warner Robins Air Force Base.
1956 Elvis Presley played his first concert in Georgia - at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
1975 Actress Susan Hayward died in Hollywood,
Born June 30, 1918, in
Brooklyn, New York, Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress in 1947,
1949, 1952, and 1955, she would win the 1958 Oscar for her performance of
Barbara Graham in the movie, "I Want to Live!" -- the story of a woman sentenced
to die in the gas chamber for murder. In her later life, Hayward lived with her husband, Floyd Chalkey, in Carrollton, Georgia. After her death, she
was buried there next to her husband. Her grave is simply marked, "Susan Hayward Chalkey."
2001 Georgia experienced
its largest multiple traffic accident in history. On I-75 in Catoosa
County near the Tennessee border, severe fog helped trigger an accident in
the northbound lanes. Because of zero visibility, speeding cars and trucks
began ramming into the first wreck, triggering collision after collision.
In a brief period, 125 cars and trucks were involved in both northbound and
southbound lanes, resulting in 5 dead and 39 injured and I-75 completely
closed at the site for the day.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1737 James Oglethorpe had
turned down the offer to become governor of South Carolina. Rather, what he
really wanted was formal command of the military forces of both Georgia and
South Carolina. At last, he was about to be granted that wish, as noted in
the diary of the Earl of Egmont:
"Mr. [Harman] Verelst [the Trustees' accountant] privately
told me that Sir Robert Walpole has agreed that Mr. Oglethorp shall go over
with the commission of General of the Forces of South Carolina and Georgia,
but that Mr. Oglethorp had desired they may be separate commissions; that
he [Walpole] has also agreed to make Colonel Horsey Deputy Governor of
South Carolina at Mr. Oglethorp's request, which will be of great advantage
to our Province, he being a friend of our's and under obligations to
our Board. Also that Mr. [William] Stephens will go to Georgia and be Secretary
of the Province, by which means we shall have constant accounts of what
passes there, and his influence will be of great service, as he is a very
sensible man. . . ."
Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary
of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office,
1923), Vol. II, p. 368.
1739 From New Ebenezer, Salzburger minister Johann Martin Boltzius wrote Trustees' accountant Harman Verelst in
England of his people's desire for to have more Salzburgers sent from Germany.
At the same time, he repeated their opposition to slavery:
". . . Whereas our Salzburgers know now by experience
of five years what wholesome, fruitful for industrious people, very convenient
and profitable climate this country is in which we live by the wonderful
providence of God, they have taken the liberty to entreat the General [Oglethorpe]
in a letter to join with the Honourable Trustees in sending over from Germany
to Georgia another transport of Salzburgers and to allow them the same
encouragements which the first-comers had by the free gift and benevolence
of them. . . . And when they are brought hither to Ebenezer they will be
here as well satisfied as we are, having not the least reason to make any
complaint about the hot season of the country, being not so very hot as
idle and delicate people endeavor to persuade themselves and others and
for that unreasonable reason would like it mighty well rather to employ
Negroes in their work than white European people. As the Salzburgers have
beseeched General Oglethorpe, so I take this freedom to beseech the Honourable
Trustees not to allow any Negro men or women to be carried to and employed
at our place of neighbourhood, seeing that the consequence of it would be
very bad and the ruin of poor labourers. White people, if industrious
and desirous to follow the directions of God [in] Genesis 111:19, are capable
enough to plant here every country grain without huring their health in
the summer season, of which is witness my whole congregation. . . ."
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia:
Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 400-402.
1959 Ralph McGill authored
this column, entitled "Portrait In A Nightshirt," in the March 14 edition
of the Atlanta Constitution:
"A painting of Abraham Lincoln in a white nightshirt
was unveiled this week in the rotunda of the old Senate office building.
Some lay critics, a little shocked to see the gaunt bearded President in
a nightshirt, were dubious. But Sen. John Sherman Cooper, of Lincoln's native
state Kentucky, like it. 'This painting captured the simple dignity, the
solemn earnestness and determination of President Lincoln just before the
Battle of Antietam.' So it seemed to me. Too many of our great are pictured
to us in marble or painted on canvas all dressed out as if prepared
to give their Sunday-best front to posterity. This picture is a part of
America of Lincoln's time. Mean did wear nightshirts. The effete pajama
had not been invented. Men slept in their underwear or nightshirts. The
old kerosene lamp, the daguerreotypes in their round, walnut frames, the
four-poster bed -- all these are a part of our country that has been gone
a long time. The nightshirt is a long one. Not many inches of the President's
thin shanks may be seen. His left leg is crossed over the right at the
knee. And on his feet are the old brocaded felt slippers mentioned so often
in the stories of the war years. It was his custom to shuffle about the
White House on nights when the war news was bad or when there was no word
from a great battle known to be in progress. He liked to go and visit with
the telegraph operators, sitting with them, his legs crossed and the old
slipper half-falling from the crossed feet. A telegraph operator, David
Homer Bates, wrote of the President's rising from an old hair-cloth
sofa, where he often waited while telegrams were being de-coded, to discover
and brush from the presidential lapel a bedbug. 'Boy,' he said, 'I've become
very fond of that old lounge, but as it has become a little buggy, I fear
I must stop using it.' Once the captain of the White House guards, who knocked
each morning on the President's door at 7 o'clock, found Lincoln sewing
a button on a shirt, which he had to wear. 'Come in,' he said, 'wait
until I repair the damage.' America was young in those years. The frontier
was near. And not too many years were between young Lincoln, the railsplitter,
and the President sewing on a button. The painting depicts Lincoln working
on his notes for the emancipation proclamation of September, 1862. He was
not in the White House on the night pictured in the painting. He was
staying for a few days at the Soldiers Home, three miles out of Washington.
News came that the advantage lay with the Union Army in the Battle of Antietam.
Emancipation had been debated for some weeks. Indeed, the President previously
had written a preliminary draft, but had put it aside. News of the battle
seemed an omen. He wrote out the notes sitting in his bedroom -- much
as the painting has it. The preliminary proclamation provided for buying
and setting free the slaves of the border states and colonizing them. All
freed slaves who wished could have free steamer tickets to Haiti or Liberia.
It further provided that on Jan 1, 1863, all slaves in the states 'in rebellion
against the Union should be then and thence forward forever free.' The
proclamation was made public after Cabinet acceptance on Monday, Sept.
4. That night the President addressed serenaders from a White House balcony:
'What I did, I did after a full deliberation. . . .I can only trust in
God I have made no mistake. . . .' Looking at the picture of the deeply
intense man, sitting there in a nightshirt by an old four-poster bed, lost
in the momentous notes, one feels glad it occurred as it did. A lonely
man, with only the presence of God in the room, was then and there setting
in motion one of the great moral movements of all time."
Source: Michael Strickland, Harry Davis, Jeff Strickland
(comp.), The Best of Ralph McGill, Selected Columns (Atlanta: Cherokee
Publishing Co., 1980), pp. 162-163.
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