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1791 Pres. George Washington left Waynesboro for the final leg of his journey to Augusta. Approaching Georgia's capital city, the presidential party was met by a host committee headed by Gov. Edward Telfair and George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. On his first day in Augusta, Washington was guest of honor at a spectacular dinner hosted by Gov. Edward Telfair. That evening, Mrs. Telfair hosted a gala ball, which the president attended.
1798 Union General Ethan Allen Hitchcock was born in Vergennes, Vermont. He graduated from West Point in 1817 and served in the U.S. Army until 1855, when he resigned. In Feb. 1862, Hitchcock was appointed major general of Union Volunteers. He subsequently was appointed commissioner in charge of exchanging prisoners of war.
After retiring from the Army in 1867, Hitchcock moved to Georgia, where he died in Sparta on Aug. 5, 1870.
1913 Thomas Felder claimed to have turned a new piece of evidence in the Mary Phagan case, but it was not revealed to the public. The Atlanta Constitution also reported that Atlanta police were questioning a new suspect in the case and had asked him for handwriting samples. The new suspect was identified as "James Connolly" [actually Conley], a sweeper at the factory, who had been arrested "several days earlier" [actually on May 1] when he was discovered rinsing a soiled shirt at the pencil factory. The stains on the shirt turned out to be blood.
Jim Conley would turn out to be the prosecution's lead witness in its case against Leo Frank. However, Conley was also the man who in fact committed the murder – according to Alonzo Mann, a thirteen year old employee of the factory. Mann, in a story he did not tell until 1982, claimed he saw Conley carrying Phagan's body at the factory that day; Conley threatened Mann with death if he ever was to report what he had seen. Mann's mother advised him to keep quiet, which he did for almost seventy years. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
1930 Actor Pernell Roberts was born in Waycross. Roberts became best known for his role as Adam Cartwright in the television series – "Bonanza" and as the star of the television series "Trapper John, M.D." He died in Malibu, California on Jan. 24, 2010.
Click here for more information on Roberts' acting career.
1933 Two New Deal items of note occurred on this day. First, President Roosevelt's public works industrial control plan was submitted to Congress; it included $10,176,000 for construction of primary and secondary roads in Georgia. Atlanta mayor James L. Key said he would "leave no stone unturned" in efforts to get a fair share of the $3 billion plus in funds to Atlanta, primarily to build a badly needed new sewer system. Second, Roosevelt signed legislation creating the Tennessee Valley Authority, a quasi-governmental agency that would provide flood control and – more importantly, inexpensive hydroelectric power – to areas of southern states in the Tennessee River basin (which included some counties in northern Georgia). (Click here to view map of TVA dams.)
1933 In the midst of the Great Depression, Georgia's State Board of Education announced that new school books would be provided as needed local to systems, but ordered that all old books be kept and used as long as possible.
1953 Jacqueline Cochran, who spent part of her youth in Georgia, held more flying records than any other pilot – male or female. On this day, flying an F-86 Sabre jet over California, Cochran flew at an average speed of 652.337 miles per hour – becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier.
1979 Dale Murphy became the 13th player in the history of the Braves franchise to hit three home runs in one game.
1980 Fourteen year old Eric Middlebrooks left his house to go fix his bicycle and disappeared. His body was discovered the following day, bludgeoned to death. He was the latest victim in the Atlanta Child Murders case.
2008 At the Academy of Country Music Awards presentation in Las Vegas, two Georgia groups won honors – Sugarland for Single of the Year and Song of the Year for their hit Stay, and Lady Antebellum for Top New Duo or Vocal Group.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1737 The few years John Wesley spent in Georgia were not particularly happy ones for him, as he viewed his ministry in Georgia as a failure. Evidence of this can be found in the following note from his journal in 1737:
Source: Ed Cashin (ed.), Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (The Beehive Press, Savannah, 1974), p. 220.
1791 Pres. George Washington finally arrived at Augusta, as noted in his diary for this day:
1865 Thomas Maguire of Rockbridge, Ga. wrote in his journal:
Source: Franklin Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its people and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), Vol. I, pp. 677-78.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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