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1777 For months, animosity between Gen. Lachlan McIntosh and former Council of Safety president Button Gwinnett had been growing – especially when Gwinnett in March had ordered the arrest of McIntosh's brother for treason (at the request of the Continental Congress). Both the general and Gwinnett had been involved in a failed invasion of British Florida, and each blamed the other. When the Georgia legislature cleared Gwinnett of responsibility, McIntosh responded by calling Gwinnett "a Scoundrell & lying Rascal." The result was a duel on May 16 outside of Savannah. At close range, both fired their pistols at the same time, each striking the other. McIntosh's bullet shattered Gwinnett's thigh, producing a wound that would prove fatal days later.
1795 A convention met at Louisville to amend the Constitution of 1789.
1862 Confederate general Joseph Lewis Hogg died of dysentery while serving with his brigade in Corinth, Miss. Born Sept. 13, 1806 in Morgan County, Georgia, he later became a planter, lawyer, and politician, representing Texas in Congress. Hogg also served in the Mexican War. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he helped raise a contingent of state troops. In Feb. 1862, Hogg was promoted to brigadier general.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1901 The North Georgia Electric Company was incorporated to construct a hydroelectric power plan on the Chattahoochee River near Gainesville. This company would be one of several that would later form Georgia Power company.
1913 Investigators in the Mary Phagan murder case searched the National Pencil Factory looking for scraps of rope or twine. Hugh Dorsey, solicitor in the case, said the knot tied around Mary Phagan's neck was intricate and inexplicable – suggesting it must have been tied by a professional. Over $1500 had already been raised to bring William J. Burns into the case. Thomas Felder, the attorney responsible for bringing in the Burns Agency, said: "We will catch the guilty man and we won't be long about it. I am confident of success. Mary Phagan's murder will be cleared in less than a month." Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1938 For anyone traveling by train to Atlanta for a short visit, the most convenient place to stay was the Terminal Hotel, located at the corner of Spring and Mitchell streets right across the street from the Atlanta Terminal Station.
Around 3 a.m. on the early morning of May 16, a fire broke out in either the basement or kitchen of the Terminal Hotel. Fire trucks arrived within minutes of the alarm, but the fire spread so rapidly that nothing could be done.
The roof of the five-story hotel collapsed, plunging through the fifth and fourth floors. A total of 34 hotel occupants perished, making it the worst fire until that time in Atlanta history.
1998 In ceremonies at Warner Robins Air Force Base, the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame inducted Lt. Col. Chuck Dryden, Col. Joe Jackson, Captain Henry "Doc" Manget, Jr. and Col. Howard McWhorter, Jr. Capt. Manget was a U.S. Navy veteran; the other three served in the U.S. Air Force.
2007 Denver, CO based Liberty Communications purchased the Atlanta Braves from AOL/Time Warner. It was a complicated transaction, with stock and other assets switching sides, but in the process the baseball team was valued at $450 million.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1738 Two of the more important figures in colonial Georgia history met on this day in 1738. George Whitefield, only recently arrived in Georgia, wrote in his journal:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (The Beehive Press, Savannah, 1974), p. 288.
1738 Back in London, the Trustees wrote a series of letters with respect to Georgia. As summarized by the Earl of Egmont in his journal of Trustee proceedings, one letter was sent to George Whitefield stating:
Another letter was sent to the Trustees' secretary in Georgia, William Stephens, in response to his letter expressing that colonists' unhappiness with the Trustee policy limiting the inheritance of land grants to male survivors (a policy known as Tail Male). In it, they noted that the policy was not absolute, and enclosed a copy of the printed contract governing inheritance, which Egmont summarized thusly:
Source: Robert G. McPherson (ed.), The Journal of The Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), pp. 360-361.
1791 On the previous day, Pres. George Washington and his party had traveled about 15 miles from Savannah on the way to Augusta. He had spent the night at the house of a Mr. Sepncer. Today, they would make better time, as noted in his diary:
Source:John C. Fitzpatrick (ed.), The Diaries of George Washington: 1748-1799 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1925), pp. 178.
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