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1738 Former Georgia Anglican minister John Wesley underwent a religious conversion at Aldersgate Chapel in London initiating what would become known as the Methodist Church.
1744 In London, Britain's War Office requested the convening of a board of general officers to consider charges made by Lt. Col. William Cooke against Gen. James Oglethorpe. While in London on a 12-month leave to recover his health, Cooke had begun making charges that Oglethorpe had charged the men of his Regiment for provisions. The War Office asked Oglethorpe to respond to Cooke's charges. Upon Oglethorpe's return to London, he would face a court martial in which he had to defend himself against 19 charges brought by Cook.
In the court martial, Oglethorpe was cleared of any wrong doings, and Cooke was dismissed from the British Army for bringing unfounded charges.
1850 Journalist Henry Grady was born in Athens, Georgia. He began his journalistic career in Rome, Ga., where he eventually purchased his own newspaper and earned a respected reputation as an editor. In 1872 he purchased one-third of the Atlanta Daily Herald, bringing him closer to the world of Georgia politics and business. A political moderate, Grady was an editorialist on the future of the South -- envisioning a region with developed industry and more diversified agriculture, united in harmony with the North. In a March 1874 editorial he first used the term "New South" to describe his vision. When his newspaper folded financially, Grady had several brief stints with other newspapers before being hired by the Atlanta Constitution. While it was little noticed at the time, Grady was responsible for the Constitution hiring a shy storyteller from Eatonton, Ga. – Joel Chandler Harris. It was also at the Constitution that Grady became nationally renowned for his coverage of the Tilden-Hayes presidential debates and the growth of southern railroads.
It was Grady's "New South" speech delivered in New York on December 22, 1886, that catapulted him into the public spotlight to the point where he was actually considered a possible running mate for Grover Cleveland in 1888. But Grady was not interested in holding political office. Back in Atlanta he stayed busy helping the city become the center of his "New South," organizing expositions, supporting progressive legislation, and calling for ever improving city services. His eloquence made him a popular speaker, both in Georgia and nationally. In December of 1889, Grady spoke on "The Race Problem in the South" at the meeting of the Boston Merchants' Association. Tragically, he caught pneumonia during the trip and died from complications at his home in Atlanta at the young age of thirty-nine. In 1905, the General Assembly named a new county in recognition of his achievements. In 1921, the University of Georgia's College of Journalism was named in his honor.
1865 In Lincoln County, Ga., unknown persons robbed two wagon trains filled with gold from the remnants of the Confederate treasury as well as gold coins from Virginia banks. [For more on the mysterious heist, click here.]
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1954 Georgia Lt. Gov. Marvin Griffin announced his candidacy for governor and immediately blasted the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education decision issued one week earlier.
1981 The body of Nathaniel
Cater was discovered downstream from a bridge where police had heard a splash
two day earlier. The man who had been driving the car that left the bridge
after the splash was Wayne Williams, who would soon be arrested for the last
two of the Atlanta Child Murders.
1992 In pitching the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 win over Montreal, John Smoltz struck out 15 Expos, tied the franchise record for most strikeouts by a Braves pitcher.
1993 In 1989, Athens-born actress Kim Basinger was a partner in the purchase of the Georgia town of Braselton, which is located in western Jackson County. The area was first settled in 1876 by William H. Braselton and his family. Several Braselton families owned most of the land in the area, and in 1916 were able to get the legislature to incorporate the town. In terms of population, Braselton remained a small, rural community;and in the late 1980s, the Braselton families (who owned most of the land in the city) took the unusual step of offering the city for sale. That offer, plus the location of nearby Chateau Elan Winery, which was expanding into a golf resort, led Basinger to partner with Ameritech Pension Fund and purchase Brasleton for $20 million in the hopes of promoting tourism, movie production, and film festivals. The transformation of Braselton into a tourist mecca did not occur, and on May 24, 1993, Basinger was forced to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying $7.4 million settlement.
Despite her financial setback, Basinger's screen career prospered, and in 1997 she won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in the film L.A. Confidential.
1996 In his Cy Young Award-winning year, John Smoltz pitched the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. This would give him ten victories by the end of May – a record only matched by five other National League pitchers since 1920.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1740 From Ebenezer, Johann Martin Boltzius wrote:
Source: George Fenwick Jones and Don Savelle, Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America . . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), Vol. 7, pp. 137-138.
1865 On the day the Union force that had been occupying Washington, Ga. pulled out, Eliza Frances Andrews continued recording in her journal of her dislike for Yankees. This time, she was really upset:
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), p. 267.
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