This Day in Georgia History
Ed Jackson and Charles Pou
The University of Georgia
1733 Georgia's Trustees met
and formally recognized the initial "anniversary" of Georgia. [See "In Their
Own Words . . . " below.]
Georgia's Charter of 1732 directed the trustees named in that document to meet the third Tuesday of
March 1733 to elect additional members of the Trustees as well as the Common
Council (which served as a type of executive board) in order to create a full
board and council, and to meet on the third Tuesday of each future March to
elect replacements as needed. Presumably having misread the actual day specified
in the Charter, the Trustees instead met on the third Thursday of 1733 –
a mistake thereafter repeated each year. In any event, the Trustees celebrated
the third Thursday of each March as a special day and customarily assembled
in a church for a sermon to mark the event. [Click here to read of the problem of assigning any single date as Georgia's birthday.]
1758 Royal governor Henry
Ellis signed an act of the General Assembly dividing the colony of Georgia
into eight parishes – Christ Church, St. Matthews, St. George, St. Paul,
St. Philip, St. John, St. Andrew, and St. James – as part of a broader act
providing for religious worship according to the rules of the Church of England.
Although parishes were primarily religious jurisdictions, they also had several
civil functions (such as setting taxes for relief of the poor and registering
all births, marriages, and deaths). [Click here for
text of 1758 act.] Four more parishes were added by an act of March 25, 1765.
The final lands added to colonial Georgia were lands ceded by the Creeks and
Cherokees on June 1, 1773. Later, the Constitution of 1777 redesignated the
12 parishes and area of ceded lands as 8 counties and renamed them. [Click here to see larger map of colonial parishes and ceded land.]
1858 Clergyman and author
Edward R. Carter was born in Athens, Georgia. Carter was an African-American
minister who became pastor of Atlanta's First Baptist Church in 1882. At the
time, the church was $3,000 in debt, but under Carter, the debt was erased
and the church ended up with $10,000 in assets. The money was put to good
use, as Carter was influential in the founding of Spelman College. In fact
some of the college's first classes were held in the basement of Carter's
church, renamed Friendship Baptist Church. Carter remained a friend to all
the African-American universities in the Atlanta area, an active participant
in many voluntary organizations associated with the church, and traveled throughout
the South preaching. Carter wrote a number of articles, plus one notable
book – The Black Side: A Partial History of the Business, Religion, and
Education of the Negro in Atlanta. He died on June 8, 1944, in Atlanta.
1883 Former Confederate
general Henry Constantine Wayne died in Savannah.
Born there on Sept. 18,
1815, Wayne graduated from West Point in 1838. During the Mexican War, he
performed both artillery and quartermaster service. Wayne also studied the
use of camels in the Southwest. In Dec. 1860, Wayne resigned his commission
in the U.S. Army. After Georgia's secession, he was appointed adjutant general
and inspector general of Georgia troops. In Dec. 1861, Wayne was appointed
brigadier general in the Confederate Provisional Army, but the next month
he resigned this commission after having been ordered to Virginia. Wayne
returned to Georgia as a major general in command of two brigades of Georgia
militia to help in the defense of the state as Sherman launched his Atlanta
Campaign. In June 1864, however, Wayne was relieved of command and assigned
to administrative duties. After the war, he became involved in the timber
1911 Future Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. was born in Atlanta, the only child of Ivan Allen Sr. and Irene Beaumont Allen. He served as mayor during most of the 1960s, some
of the most turbulent times of the civil rights era. He helped steer Atlanta
through this period of change and was noted for his progressive views on civil rights.
In 1981, Allen was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize.
He died July 2, 2003, and was buried in Atlanta's Westview Cemetery.
1916 Trumpet player and bandleader Harry James was born in Albany, Georgia. His mother was a trapeze artist and
his father the band leader for the traveling Mighty Haag Circus. In 1923,
the James family moved to Beaumont, where young Harry showed an early affinity
for music. He played drums by age seven, and began taking trumpet lessons
when he was ten years old. By age 12, he was playing trumpet in the Christi
Brothers Circus band. James was soon playing and touring with various bands,
most notably with Benny Goodman from 1937-38. James left Goodman to form
his own band, which debuted in February 1939. His band quickly earned a large
following, producing several best sellers throughout the 1940s. In 1943, the
popular musician married actress and wartime pin-up queen Betty Grabel – the
first of four marriages for him.
James continued to tour regularly in the
1950s, then retired for a brief time before returning for special engagements
in places like Las Vegas and New York. In addition to his trumpet playing
and band leading, James has done soundtracks for numerous movies, and is considered
a pioneer in the jazz genre. Harry James died on July 5, 1983, at age 67.
1922 The Atlanta Journal began operation of the first commercial radio station in the South. The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution had been in a race to launch the South's first radio station. On the afternoon of March 15, the Journal received a telegram from Washington, D.C. The U.S. Commerce Department had approved the Journal's application for a license to operate a commercial radio station. That evening, the new radio station began broadcasting with a 100-watt transmitter.
Henry Ford (seated) in the WSB Radio Studios During a 1922 Visit to Atlanta
the call letters WSB, the new radio station began a daily program of broadcasting
that started at noon with a weather forecast, followed by an afternoon of
crop and market information. At 6 p.m., there were 90 minutes of sports and
news. From 7:30 until 9 p.m., when the station signed off, WSB observed quiet
time in order to allow Atlanta radio owners to listen to concerts aired from
stations outside the South. Though it is not clear how long this policy remained
in effect, the Journal announced that it would be operating WSB "purely
for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, and there will be no commercial
features connected with it." As it turned out, the station's emphasis on weather
forecasts and crop news became very important to farmers, many of whom had
no other access to such news. Eventually, WSB-AM was given authority to operate
a 50,000-watt transmitter. Because no other radio station could operate
on its frequency at night, WSB's AM signal could be heard nightly across
much of the South. And, despite the tradition that the call letters "WSB"
stood for "Welcome South Brother," in reality the Atlanta station was the
second in the "WS" series of radio call letters, following station WSA in
1926 Former Atlanta Falcon
head football coach Norm Van Brocklin was born in Eagle Butte, Montana. As
a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, Van Brocklin passed for a game record
of 554 yards in 1951. The NFL Hall of Famer was the League's MVP in 1960.
He went on to become the first coach of Minnesota Vikings. In 1971, Van Brocklin was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That same year he became coach of the Atlanta Falcons, helping them to their first winning season. He
coached Atlanta through the 1976 season, replaced the next year by Leeman
Bennett. Van Brocklin died on May 2, 1983.
1933 Amidst the Great Depression,
Gov. Eugene Talmadge negotiated $2 million in loans from the First National
Bank, Citizens and Southern National Bank, and Fulton National Bank to keep
Georgia's public schools operating for the rest of the school year. Even with
this loan, some Fulton County teachers faced the prospect of not being paid
for April and May.
1943 At the request of owners
of the Cloister Hotel and of residents of an area of southeastern St. Simons
Island that was variously known as Long Island, Glynn Isle, Sea Island Beach,
and Sea Island, Gov. Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution of the General
Assembly officially designating the area in question as Sea Island.
1960 In Atlanta, 200 students
staged sit-ins at ten downtown lunch counters. The protests moved to the Georgia
State Capitol, where six students attempted to be served. When told to leave,
they were arrested and taken to the Fulton County jail.
1965 Eight days after civil
rights marchers were beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., Pres.
Lyndon Johnson addressed the nation and Congress with a special television address on civil rights.
In his speech, Johnson indicated that he would submit a
Voting Rights Act to Congress in two days. Under
provisions of this legislation, observers would begin monitoring elections
in Georgia and other southern states with a history of low voting participation
by minorities. Also set into play was an extensive framework of U.S. Justice
Department "pre-clearance" requirements before any city, county, or state legislative body
could enact any changes in voting or election laws. Most notably this would
affect Georgia with respect to efforts to reapportion local, state, and congressional election districts. But the impact would also place Georgia under federal review for changes affecting any aspect of voting and election laws
1980 Carl Vinson became the first living American to have a U.S. Navy ship named after him,
with the dedication of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier at Newport New,
1994 Because it appeared
that he would miss the 1994 season, starting leftfielder Ron Gant was released
by the Atlanta Braves. Gant had broken his leg in an off-road motorcycle accident
in early February.
1995 Shareholders of Lockheed
Corporation and Martin Marietta Corporation approved a $10 billion merger
of the two companies. Lockheed chairman Daniel M. Tellep became the first
chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, while his counterpart
at Martin Marietta, Norman R. Augustine, was to take over the company when
Tellep retired in two years. Perhaps, the biggest controversy about the merger
was the fact that Augustine received a $8.2 million bonus for his part in
the merger, and Tellep received another $770,000. At the same time the 170,000-employer
work force was expected to be trimmed by about 30,000 jobs, with most of the
losses coming in California. The merger was expected to have relatively little
impact on the labor force in Marietta, Ga., which was expected to stabilize
by the end of the year at about 9,000. The Marietta plant would continue
its forty-year history of turning out C-130s and continue managing the development
of the F-22 fighter. In Lockheed's last year of operation as a separate company,
the Marietta's Lockheed Aeronautical Group had generated $6 billion of Lockheed's
total $13.2 billion in revenues. However, Kenneth M. Cannestra, the Group
President, lost a fight to keep the Aeronautical Group headquartered in Cobb
County. Instead, Cannestra's successor, James "Mickey" Blackwell, would be
headquartered with other top company executives in Bethesda, Maryland. The
highest ranking official in Georgia was to be John S. McLellan, President
of the Marietta plant. [Contributed by Dr. Tom Scott, Kennesaw State University]
1999 Though illness prevented
him from attending, Atlanta resident and musician Curtis Mayfield was
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. This marked
Mayfield's second induction, as he and his group, the Impressions, were selected
to the Hall of Fame in 1991. Mayfield died later on Dec. 26, 1999, in Roswell, Georgia.
2004 Norb Hecker, first head
coach of the Atlanta Falcons, died at age 76.
Hecker coached the Falcons from
1966-68. Before coming to the new Falcons team, Hecker had been a Green Bay
Packer assistant coach under Vince Lombardi, helping win three NFL championships.
Unfortunately, with the new Atlanta professional team, Hecker compiled a record
of 4 wins, 26 losses, and 1 tie.
2012 Hemy Neuman was found guilty, but mentally ill, of malice murder in the shooting death of Rusty Sneiderman on Nov. 18, 2010. Neuman admitted that he had shot Sneiderman, but claimed he was not guilty by reason of insanity. Neuman claimed he killed Sneiderman to protect their children, after suffering abuse himself as a child. The shooting occurred outside the day care center in Dunwoody where Rusty Sneiderman had just dropped off his children. Sneiderman's wife, Andrea, was a key witness in the case. She worked for Neuman and rumors abounded the two were romantically involved, which she denied. Neuman was sentenced to life without parole for his crime.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1733 Sir John Percival (later
the first Earl of Egmont) was a member of the Trustees and recorded in his
diary the initial anniversary celebration of the Trustees:
"This day being the anniversary day of our Georgia
Society, when by charter we are obliged to fill up the number of our Common
Council to twenty-four, and elect new trustees; we accordingly met in the
vestry of Bow church, and after sermon preached by Mr. Burton, by ballot
elected nine new Common Councillors . . . . We then dined at the King's
Arms in Paul's Churchyard, at a crown a head, and were with friends about
thirty in number . . . ."
Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary
of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office,
1923), Vol. I, p. 343.
1734 Baron von Reck accompanied
the first shipload of Salzburgers sent to Georgia by the Trustees. Five days
after their arrival at Savannah, he helped search for an appropriate place
to settle, as noted in his journal:
"I received the List of the Provisions and Tools for
the Saltzburgers. Mr. Oglethorpe, and Mr. Jenys, Speaker of the Assembly
of Carolina, arrived at Savannah, from Charles-town; the first having out
of Love to our Saltzburgers put off his Journey to England, being resolved
to see them settled before he went. Having informed him, that the Floods
had made it impossible for me to pass the Woods by Land; he said he would
go himself, to shew me the Country, and see what Place I would choose.
The Speaker desired to accompany him, and I did myself the Honour to make
one of the Company. He sent to the Indian King, to desire two Indians to
hunt for him in the Journey; who not only granted them, but his chief War
Captain, Tuskeneoi, out of Civility to Mr. Oglethorpe, came along with them
to accompany us. We went on Board a ten-oar'd Boat, to the Place where a
House was building by Mr. Musgrove, six Miles up the Savannah River."
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. 48.
1784 Writing to his friend
Henry Laurens in South Carolina, Savannah merchant Joseph Clay told how Georgia
was recovering from the Revolutionary War:
"...Our State is setling again very fast, especially
the back Country -- a large Cession of land as far So'therly as the Oconees
has lately been agreed to by the Creek Indians which will be setled immediately.
Some valuable setlers have and are coming in from East Florida. Our Ports
has been tolerably filled this Winter and though individuals will feel
the effects of the War for many years, I may Say all their lives, yet
the Country at large will soon recover. Nothing is wanting but hands to
cultivate the earth. I have entered into business again with a hope by my
Industry to retrieve past losses and with an expectation of being by that
means more in the way of collecting my Old Debts; how far it may answer
either of these purposes, time only can shew. . . ."
Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. VIII, Letters of Joseph Clay, Merchant of Savannah, 1776-1793 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1913), pp. 206-207.
1864 The Confederate Union of Milledgeville correctly guessed that the next move of the "enemy" (Northern army) would be a "grand movement against Georgia."
January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August / September / October / November / December
To the best of our knowledge, images on this site are either (1) in the public domain, or (2) qualify for educational Fair Use under federal copyright law, or (3) are used by permission.