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1837 George Gilmer was sworn in as governor of Georgia. He was born on April 11, 1790, in what is now Oglethorpe County (but then Wilkes County). Although he never attended college, Gilmer began reading law in Lexington. His legal studies were interrupted by the War of 1812. In 1813, he was placed in command of an infantry regiment that engaged the Creek Indians in the vicinity of present-day Atlanta. After the war, Gilmer returned to Lexington, where in 1818 he began the practice of law. The same year, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term.
Thereafter, he served in Congress (1820-24), governor of Georgia (1829-31), back in Congress (1833-35), and again as Georgia's chief executive (1837-39). After his first term as governor, the General Assembly created Gilmer County out of Cherokee territory in Dec. 1832. After his second term as governor, Gilmer retired from public office, dying on Nov. 15, 1859.
1843 George Crawford was sworn in as governor of Georgia. Born in Columbia County on Dec. 22, 1798, he graduated from Princeton University in 1820. After reading law, he was admitted to the bar in 1822 and began practicing law in Augusta. Crawford represented Richmond County in the Georgia House of Representatives (1837-42), served briefly in Congress (1843), and was elected for two terms as Georgia governor (1843-47).
Pres. Zachary Taylor appointed him U.S. Secretary of War in 1849, but Crawford resigned on Taylor's death in 1850. Crawford returned to Georgia, where in 1861 he served as president of Georgia's secession convention. He died in Richmond County on July 22, 1872.
1860 Two days after the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, citizens of Savannah held a public demonstration for secession and displayed the first flag of southern independence.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1864 Abraham Lincoln was reelected as president of the United States. Although Georgians did not participate, Lincoln's election in many ways sealed the fate of the Confederacy. Gen. Sherman, then occupying Atlanta, could now move forward on plans he had been contemplating. There would be two elements--the destruction of Atlanta and a march to the sea that would bring the cruelty of the war to the heart of Georgia.
For more, see This Week in Georgia Civil War History.
1900 Author and newspaper journalist Margaret Mitchell was born in Atlanta, where she lived her entire life except for a brief two-year stay at Smith College from 1918-19. After a failed marriage in 1922, she married John Marsh in 1925. Mitchell took a job with the Atlanta Journal as a feature writer for their Sunday Magazine. Admired by her co-workers and fellow journalists (including Erskine Caldwell), she suffered a streak of unlucky accidents that frequently kept her out of work. It was during one these respites, sitting at home nursing a broken ankle, that Mitchell began writing a historical novel set in Atlanta before, during, and after the Civil War.
After finishing the novel, which she entitled Tomorrow is Another Day, she set the manuscript aside without even trying to sell it. Then in 1935 an editor for the Macmillan Company "dug up" – in Mitchell's own words – the manuscript and was convinced it would be a bestseller. Mitchell spent several months rewriting and revising her volume, with publication was set for April 5, 1936. As word of this work spread, it soon became obvious that the original printing of 10,000 would not be sufficient, so the publication date was moved back, first to May 5, then to June 30. The Book-of-the-Month Club selected it as their July selection even before it was published. Finally, on June 30, 1936, Margaret Mitchell's epic historical novel was published, renamed Gone With the Wind. By December of that same year, total sales had already exceeded one million. In May of 1937 Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Since then worldwide sales of Gone With the Wind have exceeded thirty million; it has been printed in twenty-seven languages in thirty-seven countries, with some 180 different editions. David O. Selznick purchased the film rights to the book within a month of its publication. Mitchell, by her own choice, had no involvement in the filming of the movie, the popularity of which has equaled that of the book. The film premiered in Atlanta on December 15, 1939. While Mitchell was present for the premier, she was uncomfortable with all the media attention. But the success of her work meant she could no longer live as an average Atlanta housewife. She spent her time answering mail and trying to avoid curiosity seekers. She helped nurse her father and husband through years of invalidism, a task that prevented her from doing more writing. On August 11, 1949, she was struck by a taxi while crossing a street three blocks from her home. She died from the injuries on August 16 and was buried in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery.
1914 Politician John (Jack) Flynt, Jr. was born in Griffin, Ga. as the great-grandson of Dr. Richard Banks. Graduating from the University of Georgia in 1936, he obtained a LLB from Georgia (1939) and a a J.D. from George Washington University (1968). After serving in the Georgia House of Representatives (1947-48), Flynt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 4th congressional district (1954-65) and the 6th congressional district (1965-79), serving a total of 12 terms in Congress.
Flynt died at his home in Griffin on June 24, 2007.
1928 Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Warm Springs, Ga. for his fifteenth visit to his "second home." He was fresh off a victorious campaign in which he was elected governor of New York and eagerly anticipated his return to active politics. He was in a jovial mood; this was among his last visits to Warm Springs before becoming a truly national figure, and he thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in a landslide over incumbent Herbert Hoover. In Georgia, with only a few precincts left uncounted, Roosevelt had won by a record margin of 156,060-11,541. All but three of Georgia's counties had gone for Roosevelt, and those three – Fannin, Towns, and Gilmer – were among those with returns still incomplete. Further showing the lopsided nature of Roosevelt's victory were the returns from two Atlanta area counties; Roosevelt won Fulton County 20,137-2063 and DeKalb County 5323-633! Nationwide, Roosevelt won the electoral vote 472-59, carrying all but six states.
1932 In Georgia's general election, Gov. Richard B. Russell was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Former state agricultural commissioner Eugene Talmadge was elected to succeed Russell as governor.
Talmadge ran on a platform of cutting auto tag fees, reducing property taxes, lowering utility rates, and cutting state spending--all popular ideas to Georgians suffering from the Great Depression.
1980 According to most observers, the most memorable football play in Georgia Bulldog history occurred this day at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. The occasion was the annual Georgia-Football game. Georgia entered the game unbeaten and ranked second in the nation. Ironically, the number one team – Notre Dame – was playing Georgia's arch-rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta the same day. Georgia started off like one of the top teams in the land, as freshman Herschel Walker took a pitchout on his first carry of the game and raced 72 yards for a touchdown.
Quarterback Buck Belue added a touchdown pass in the second quarter, but Florida then answered with a touchdown and field goal – and Georgia went into halftime leading 14-10.
In the third quarter, Bulldog Rex Robinson kicked two field goals to increase Georgia's lead to 20-10. However, Florida then began to rally. Scoring a touchdown, two-point conversion, and a field goal, Florida took a 21-20 lead. Georgia got the ball deep in its own territory. With just over a minute left in the game, the Bulldogs were faced with third down on on their own eight-yard line. Hopes for an undefeated season now seemed doomed. Then the miracle happened! Quarterback Buck Belue dropped back to pass; rushed by a Florida defensive lineman, he rolled to his right. Suddenly he saw wide receiver Lindsay Scott breaking open in the middle of the field.
Lobbing the ball over a defender's outstretched arms, Belue saw Scott make the catch, hoping it was enough for a first down. But Scott, who had spent time in Coach Vince Dooley's disciplinary doghouse early in the year and had been forced to work himself back into the coach's good graces, came down with the catch, simultaneously turning to look for room to run. He slipped, put his hand on the ground to catch himself, then sprinted for the sideline, hoping to get out of bounds and stop the clock. But his slip had forced the Florida defenders to overcommit themselves, and Scott found the sideline wide open. Turning on his blazing speed (second on the team only to Walker's), Scott out ran all defenders to the end zone for a ninety-two yard touchdown! The normally stoic Vince Dooley ran along with him, pinwheeling his arms ferociously! Legendary Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson abandoned all pretense of objectivity and bellowed "Run, Lindsay! . . . Lindsay Scott!!. . . Lindsay Scott!! . . . Lindsay Scott!!"
As Scott crossed the goal line the Georgia fans erupted into pandemonious cheering that broke all decibel and longevity records, many pouring out onto the field to join in the celebration!
But the game and good news were not over. Florida had one final chance – but that ended when Jacksonville-native Mike Fischer intercepted a Florida pass, and the clock ran out. Georgia won by the score of 26-21.
But, then came the unbelievable word from Atlanta – Georgia Tech had tied Notre Dame! The Georgia Bulldogs were now the number one team in the nation!
1998 Playing in Foxboro,
Mass., the Atlanta Falcons beat the New England Patriots 41-10 to go 7-2,
setting a record for best start in franchise history.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1797 As part of the treaty ceding lands to the United States, the Creek Indians were given an annual stipend of cash. In his entry for November 8, U.S. Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins detailed how part of the stipend was to be distributed; the first number indicates the mileage from Coweta, the main Creek town:
Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. IX, Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1806 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1916), p. 220.
1847 Georgia founder James Oglethorpe is credited with helping organize the first Masonic lodge in Georgia. Just over 100 years later, on Oct. 26, Atlanta got its first lodge. On Nov. 8, New York emigrant and Atlanta teacher Dr. William N. White commented on the growing strength of Freemasonry in in the state:
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of 1954 original volume), p. 250.
1860 In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as president, the Macon Daily Telegraph printed an editorial calling for a statewide convention in Georgia:
Source: Spencer B. King, Jr., Georgia Voices: A Documentary History to 1872 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1966, reprinted 1974), p. 270.
1864 From the Burge plantation near Covington, Ga., Dolly Lunt Burge recorded in her journal:
1864 After having been forced to leave Cobb County, Julia Butler wrote Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown from Washington, Ga., about the terrible conditions back in Cobb County:
Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 177.
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