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1802 John Milledge was sworn in as Georgia governor. Born in Savannah in 1757, he was elected governor by the General Assembly in 1802 and served two two-year terms. During his administration, the legislature voted to change the state capital from Louisville to a new site in newly created Baldwin County. The new capital city was named Milledgeville in honor of Gov. Milledge. Prior to his terms as governor, Milledge had served four terms in the U.S. House (1792-93, 1795-99, and 1801-02). After his last term as governor, he served in the U.S. Senate (1806-09). Milledge died near Augusta on Feb. 9, 1818.
1829 George Gilmer was sworn in as Georgia governor. Born in what today is Oglethorpe County, Georgia on Apr. 11, 1790, he was elected governor by the voters of Georgia for two different terms (1829-31 and 1837-39). In 1832, the General Assembly created a new county out of the territory taken from the Cherokees and named it for him. Gilmer died on Nov. 15, 1859.
1834 Future Georgia governor Allen D. Candler was born in Auraria, Georgia. Elected by Georgia voters to two two-year terms (1893-1902), Candler died in Atlanta on Oct. 26, 1910. Four years after his death, the General Assembly created a new county in southeast Georgia and named it for him.
1835 William Schley was sworn in as Georgia governor . Born in Frederick, Maryland on Dec. 10, 1786, Schley was elected governor by Georgia voters in 1835 and served one two-year term. In 1857, the General Assembly created a new county in southwest Georgia and named it for the former governor and congressman. Schley died in Augusta on Nov. 20, 1858.
1882 Though confined to a wheelchair, Alexander H. Stephens was sworn in as Georgia governor.
Born February 11, 1812 in Wilkes County, Georgia, Stephens was the one of the great orators of his day and played a pivotal role in many of the political crises of his time, including the Civil War. Ironically, while he was personally opposed to slavery, calling it "that abominable human tragedy," he was also an ardent supporter of states' rights, which led him to defend slavery when other politicians attacked the institution. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1832, Stephens set up a successful law practice, but soon became interested in politics. In 1836 he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, then to the Georgia Senate in 1842, then to the U.S. Congress in 1843.
In Congress he worked with Henry Clay to try and reach compromises as contention grew between slave and free states. Stephens was very instrumental in the passage of the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854.Speaking at Georgia's secession convention after the election of Abraham Lincoln, Stephens argued vehemently against secession, pointing out that no actual violations of states' rights had yet occurred. But when it became apparent that Georgia would secede, Stephens joined his colleagues in signing the Ordinance of Secession.
Stephens was chosen a Georgia delegate to the convention in Montgomery, Alabama, to form the new Confederate government. He helped write the provisional Confederate Constitution, and was then elected Vice-President of the Confederacy. His portrait was selected to appear on the Confederate $20 bill.
Early in the war he was an enthusiastic supporter of the new government, but eventually began to mistrust President Jefferson Davis, believing he was becoming dictatorial and growing ever more concerned when the Confederate government began conscripting troops and declaring martial law. Stephens joined with Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown in arguing that such acts violated the states' rights that the war was being fought to protect. As the war drew to a close Stephens was arrested and imprisoned for four months, but was never indicted. Stephens was among the Georgia contingent that the U.S. Congress refused to seat in 1866 because it contained so many Confederate veterans. During his time away from politics Stephens authored a two volume work – A Constitutional View of the Late War between the States. When the right to run for Congress was restored in 1872, Stephens ran for Senate, but was defeated by ex-Confederate general John B. Gordon. Soon, however, he returned to Congress as representative from his home district.
By this time, Stephens was crippled and in poor health, and he decided to retire from politics in 1882. But the Democrats in Georgia, bitterly divided, pleaded with him to be their candidate for governor and to help unify the party. He easily won the election, but served for only four months before dying in Atlanta on March 4, 1883. In 1905, the General Assembly created a new county in northeast Georgia and named it for him. In 1927, the state of Georgia placed a marble statue of Alexander Stephens in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol and later a marble bust of Stephens in the Georgia Hall of Fame in the Georgia Capitol.
1918 The few remaining quarantines at Camp Gordon were lifted as fears of the Spanish influenza epidemic waned. Concern with flu was not slowing the war effort, as 1,000 Atlanta women met at the Capital City Club to begin a new United War Work campaign, as Germany's last ally – Austria-Hungary – had surrendered, and Germany itself was reeling
1924 Georgia voters ratified a constitutional amendment creating Peach County as Georgia's 161st county.
The constitutional amendment was necessary because Georgia's constitution then limited the number of counties to 145. Rather than raise that limit, Georgia lawmakers chose to create additional counties through a constitutional amendment for each new county. Created from Houston and Macon counties, Peach County was named for the area's most famous crop. Peach marked Georgia's last new county, though in 1932 Milton and Campbell counties were merged with Fulton to leave Georgia with 159 counties.
1932 Georgia's first and only known dual execution of a father and son took place at the state prison in Milledgeville. William Hulsey, 58, and his son Fred, 31, were electrocuted for murdering three men at a poker game at the Hulsey farm in Rockmart, Georgia.
1932 Campaigning in Georgia for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gov. Richard B. Russell, Jr. gave a speech predicting an easy win for the Democratic presidential challenger and ridiculed President Herbert Hoover, speaking of the "extreme incompetence" and "monumental failures" of Hoover's administration during the Depression.
1979 With the support of the new Islamic Revolutionary Government of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iranian students and radicals stormed the US Embassy in Teheran, Iran, seizing 53 American hostages. The American hostages were held for 444 days total, which included a failed American rescue attempt. The hostage event plagued Pres. Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign and undoubtedly contributed to his loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Reagan won 43,904,000 popular votes, compared to 35,484,000 for Carter, 5,720,060 for Independent candidate John Anderson, and 921,299 for Libertarian Ed Clark. In terms of electoral votes, however, the race wasn't event close – Reagan won 489 electoral votes to only 49 for Carter.
1988 Television actor Bill Cosby and wife Camille gave $20 million to Spelman College in Atlanta. This was the largest individual gift to a predominantly black institution in history.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1742 From Frederica on St. Simons Island, Thomas Upton wrote the Earl of Egmont, the most prominent of the Georgia Trustees, about his dire situation:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. II, pp. 648-649.
1742 Georgia president William Stephens' journal entry for this day shows the problematic state of communication in colonial Georgia:
Source: E. Merton Coulter (ed.), The Journal of William Stephens, 1741-1743 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959), p. 134.
1864 Col. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry wrote his wife from outside of occupied Atlanta:
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
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