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1731 After subjecting Protestants in the Austrian province of Salzburg to a variety of restrictions and persecutions, Roman Catholic Archbishop Leopold Firmian issued a decree in an effort to halt the Lutheran Reformation. Protestants who were not citizens were given eight days to leave Salzburg. Those who were citizens gave up their citizenship and were given two months or less to sell any property before having to leave. As a result, during the winter of 1731-32, over 23,000 Protestants were forced from Salzburg.
Their plight became well-publicized in England, and by July 1732 Georgia's Trustees were offering to send some Salzburgers on charity to the new colony of Georgia.
1760 James Wright arrived in Georgia after a voyage from England. He took the oaths of office as lieutenant governor, but in actuality became acting governor when Henry Ellis left Georgia two days later. Wright was appointed royal governor in April of 1761, after Ellis's resignation, and would prove to be the last--and most able--of Georgia's royal governors.
1860 Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah. Her family traveled extensively, a habit she would carry on into adulthood. While traveling in England she met and married William Low in 1886. The marriage was not a happy one, and Juliette continued her pre-marriage traveling habit. Her husband died in 1905, giving her even more time for travel and discovery. While in England in 1911 she met Robert Baden-Powell, naval hero and founder of the Boy Scouts. When over 6000 young girls tried to enlist as Boy Scouts, Baden-Powell asked his sister to organize a Girl Guide organization based on similar principles. It was at this juncture that Juliette Gordon Low entered the picture. She recognized a need for such a girl's organization and it quickly became the central focus of her life.
Low established the first troops in Scotland and London, then soon decided to bring the Girl Guide organization home to America. The first meeting in America took place in Savannah on March 12, 1912. The popularity of the organization spread rapidly, thanks largely to Low's tireless efforts to promote and attract influential sponsors for the organization. The Girl Scouts of the United States of America was officially incorporated in Washington, DC in 1915, with Juliette Gordon Low elected as national president. Upon her resignation in 1920 she was designated with the title "Founder" and her birthday was proclaimed "Founder's Day." She continued to work with the organization, culminating in the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. hosting the Fourth International Camp in a brand new training center. The conference (held in 1926) was attended by both Low and Baden-Powell, plus delegates from twenty-nine countries. During her life she had seen the Girl Scouts grow from that first meeting of eighteen girls to an international organization with a membership of approximately 148,000 girls and women.
Juliette Gordon Low died in Savannah less than a year later, on January 17, 1927, and was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery.
1863 U.S. railroad businessman, lawyer, and politician William G. McAdoo was born near Marietta. He would serve as U.S. secretary of the treasury (1913-18), found the Federal Reserve Board and serve as its first chairman (1914), and director general of U.S. railroads (1917-1919). McAdoo also undertook fund-raising drives that contributed $18 billion to finance the Allies' war effort in World War I. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1920 and 1924, and later served a term as U.S. Senator from California (1933-39). He died in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 1, 1941.
1865 Henry Wirz, interior commandant of the Confederate military prison at Andersonville, Georgia, was found guilty by a Special Military Commission of murdering Union prisoners of war. He would be hanged just over a week later on November 10, the only Confederate officer executed for his actions after the Civil War.
1895 This was Atlanta Day at the Cotton States and International Exposition. Despite rainy and windy conditions the Exposition's largest crowd, estimated at near 100,000, turned out to show their civic pride.
1918 Lawyer, judge, and politician Griffin Bell was born in Americus, Ga. During World War II, he rose to the rank of major in the Army. Graduating from Georgia Southwestern College and Mercer Law School, Bell began the practice of law in 1948, and in 1953 he became a partner in the Atlanta law firm of King and Spalding. He served as Gov. Ernest Vandiver's chief of staff (1958-1961), judge on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1961-76, and U.S. Attorney General under Pres. Jimmy Carter (1977-79).
After Carter's administration, Bell returned to the practice of law at King and Spalding. He died in Atlanta on January 5, 2009.
1976 While Jimmy Carter was poised to be elected President of the United States – partly because of the progressive civil rights plank of his platform – a drama of a very different sort was being played out at his hometown Plains Baptist Church in Georgia. There, a black minister had stated his intention to attend service and join the church on Sunday, October 31. The pastor of the Plains Baptist Church, Rev. Bruce Edwards, was an avid supporter of Carter's and joined him in his civil rights views. Edwards wanted to accept the black minister – Rev. Clennon King – both because he did not want to see Carter embarrassed or his candidacy hurt, and more importantly simply because he felt it was the right thing to do. The deacons of the church disagreed, instead wanting to stand by a regulation passed in 1965 that banned "all Negroes and civil rights agitators" from the church. Instead of rescinding the ban and allowing King to attend church services, the deacons voted to cancel services that Sunday and recommend that Rev. Edwards be fired.
The issue did not significantly affect Carter's candidacy, and he was elected President two days later. Edwards received national acclaim for his stand and presided over a People's Prayer Service on inauguration day. But the deacons kept pushing for his ouster – even having a church vote on it canceled when Carter was scheduled to be present. Realizing the situation was not likely to improve, and wanting to avoid further controversy, Edwards soon resigned. He and the Carters, along with other like-minded members of the congregation, subsequently founded the Maranatha Baptist Church, which allowed members of all races.
In Their Own Words on This Day. . .
1733 In London, the Earl of Egmont recorded the decision by the Trustees to send to Georgia some of the Salzburger Protestants then temporarily living in Rotterdam after being expelled from Salzburg, Austria:
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), p. 36.
1735 John Wesley had just departed England for Georgia when he received a scare and found respect for sailors, as noted in his journal:
Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), p. 187.
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