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1744 During Georgia's first decade, lack of adequate funding was always a problem. To meet many emergencies, James Oglethorpe first used personal funds.
When those ran out, he borrowed heavily from many different English creditors using his Godalming home, Westbrook Manor, and other property holdings in nearby Haslemere as security.
Godalming, England – James Oglethorpe's Hometown
After his final return to England in 1743, he petitioned the British War Office for reimbursement in order to pay off his loans. Otherwise, he stood to lose all of the personal properties he had earlier mortgaged on behalf of Georgia. The War Office finally agreed on a figure of £66,109 and recommended that Parliament pay this amount to Gen. Oglethorpe. Although there is some confusion over whether the date was March 20 or March 22, the House of Commons voted to reimburse Gen. James Oglethorpe the entire £66,109. [As noted in "In Their Own Words . . . " below, the Earl of Egmont recorded the day of the vote as March 20, 1744. Webb Garrison, author of Oglethorpe's Folly, however, says that according to the journal of the House of Commons, the vote took place on March 22.]
1777 Military leader Edmund Pendleton Gaines was born in Culpepper County, Va. He quickly rose through the military ranks to become a brigadier general in 1814. The following year, as commander of the Southern Division of the U.S. Army, Gaines came to Georgia to survey the boundaries of Creek land cessions. The Creeks believed the treaty had been nullified, however, and resisted. In 1816, a fort named for Gaines was erected on the Chattahoochee River to protect settlers. For a time Gaines commanded the Western Division, but returned to Georgia in 1825 to arbitrate the dispute between Georgia governor George Troup – who had signed another treaty ceding Creek lands with Creek chief William McIntosh. A majority of the Creeks did not agree to this cession and McIntosh was murdered. Meanwhile Troup insisted that the land in question belonged to Georgia. Gaines and Troup wrote angry letters to each other over the situation, but Gaines was able to ease tensions with the Creeks.
Most of the rest of his military career was spent outside of Georgia. While frequently in conflict with the Creeks and Cherokees, Gaines was one of the few military leaders who opposed the forcible removal of Indians from U.S. territory. In 1821, the new town of Gainesville, Ga. was named in his honor. Gaines died June 6, 1849, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1907 Politician Ellis Gibbs Arnall was born in Newnan, Georgia. He attended Mercer University and the University of the South before graduating from the University of Georgia Law School in 1931. The following year he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives at the age of twenty-five, becoming the youngest legislator ever to serve in the General Assembly up to that time. He served two terms in the legislature before being appointed assistant attorney general in 1937, then attorney general in 1939. Arnall decided to run for governor in 1942 because of the furor over then Governor Eugene Talmadge's dictatorial treatment of the Board of Regents over the matter of firing two professors, allegedly for supporting integration in public schools. Ten state universities and colleges would lose their accreditation over this matter. In the aftermath Arnall defeated Talmadge in the gubernatorial race, once again becoming the youngest person to hold that office for his time.
Because the Georgia constitution prohibited successive terms, Arnall only served one term as governor (1943-1947) – but it was a term noted for reform and progressive legislation. Under his leadership Georgia adopted a new state constitution, created a constitutional Board of Regents, State Board of Education, State Board of Pardons and Paroles, State Game and Fish Commission, and State Ports Authority. State appropriations were increased for education, and a teachers' retirement system was begun – all while erasing the state's debt without raising taxes. Reforms were initiated in the penal system; Georgia became the first state to lower the voting age to eighteen; the poll tax was abolished, and Georgia won a major U.S. Supreme Court case (with Arnall arguing for the state) allowing the state to sue railroads over rate-fixing practices. Arnall's term ended with the "Three Governor's Affair." Arnall went on to serve as director of the Office of Price Stabilization in the Truman administration. He unsuccessfully ran for governor again in 1966, before retiring from political life. Arnall died in 1992.
1937 Singer/musician/songwriter/actor/television host Jerry Reed was born in Atlanta. He learned to play the guitar at age eight. Later, he dropped out of high school and headed to Nashville. Reed's first fame came as a songwriter, composing songs tdhat were peformed by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tom Jones, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. He was widely recognized for his skill playing the guitar, and in 1970 was voted Instrumentalist of the Year by the Country Music Association. Reed became widely known for his "good ol' boy" persona as a singer and actor. Among his best known recordings was the hit, "When You're Hot You're Hot," for which he won a Grammy Award in 1971. But Reed is probably best remembered for his supporting roles in the original and sequel of Burt Reynolds' "Smoky and the Bandit" movies.
Reed died at age 71 on Sept. 1, 2008, in Nashville, Tenn.
1943 Gov. Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to elevate the Public Service Commission from a statutory to a constitutional agency. The distinction was that statutory agencies are totally subject to laws passed by the General Assembly and can be changed or abolished by legislative statute. Constitutional agencies, on the other hand, are provided for within the state constitution and can only be abolished by constitutional amendment.
1957 Filmmaker Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia. There, he attended Morehouse College before earning a masters degree from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Lee broke onto the film making scene in 1986 with "She's Gotta Have It," which won an award at the Cannes Film Festival. His next film, "School Daze," was very successful and launched the careers of several young actors. "Do the Right Thing," released in 1989, was nominated for three Academy Awards – Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director. Other critically and financially successful Lee films include "Jungle Fever," "Mo' Better Blues," "Clockers," and "Malcolm X." Lee has also produced music videos and a number of highly popular commercials for Nike, resurrecting his character Mars Blackmon from "She's Gotta Have It."
1958 Actress Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia. Despite her short height (5'2") and her noticeable southern accent, Holly Hunter developed into a highly respected actress in Hollywood.
Hunter began her career on Broadway in "Crimes of the Heart," then broke into movies in "Raising Arizona." She received critical acclaim for her work in "Broadcast News," then won an Academy Award for her 1993 role as a mute musician in "The Piano." Hunter won an Emmy that same year for portraying a Texas mother who murdered a cheerleader opposing her daughter.
[To view Georgia's other state symbols, click here.]
1970 Gov. Lester Maddox signed legislation making it a felony to manufacture, process, distribute, or possess LSD. The penalty for a first offense was a fine up to $2,000 and imprisonment from 2 to 5 years.
1994 Author, newspaper columnist, and humorist Lewis Grizzard died in Atlanta. Born on Oct. 20, 1946, in Moreland, Ga., Grizzard attended the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a degree in journalism in 1968. He subsequently moved to Atlanta, where he became sports editor of the Atlanta Journal at age 23. He subsequently became sports editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, then returning to Georgia to briefly become a sports columnist for the Atlanta Constitution. Grizzard switched from sports to humor, writing a a regular column which was syndicated nationally. Grizzard's columns were collected and edited into number of books with distinctive titles like Elvis is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself, They Took Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat ( a humorous look at his heart surgery), and If I Ever Get Back to Georgia I'm Going to Nail My Feet to the Ground (after his brief attempt stay in Chicago).
Click here for more information on Grizzard.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
Source: George Fenwick Jones and Renate Wilson (ed. and trans), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America... Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Volume Five, 1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980), p. 64.
1739 Former Georgia religious leader (and future founder of Methodism) John Wesley wrote in a letter:
"I look upon all the world as my parish."
1740 Each year, the Trustees celebrated the third Thursday of March as their anniversary day (see "When is Georgia's Birthday?"). On this anniversary, however, a number of Trustees who usually attended were missing, leading the Earl of Egmont to sadly note:
Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. III, p. 124.
1744 In his diary, the Earl of Egmont recorded a happy event for Gen. James Oglethorpe, who now was living in England. Parliament was going to repay Oglethorpe for all of the personal money he had spent in the defense of Georgia:
Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. III, p. 293.
1839 From St. Simons Island, Fanny Kemble Butler wrote in her journal of the final days of her visit to our husband's plantation. The English actress was opposed to slavery and during her visit continually tried to help the slaves (despite her husband's opposition):
Source: John A. Scott (ed.), Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 by Frances Anne Kemble (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984), pp. 271-272.
1862 From Camp Davis, Georgia, Pvt. J.G.F. McCall of the 50th Ga. Infantry wrote his father about how pleased he was with his company:
Source: Glen Spurlock, 50th Georgia Infantry Articles
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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