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This Day in Georgia History

November 24, 1888

Margaret Davis Cate Born

Historian Margaret Davis Cate was born in Brunswick, Georgia. Davis lived her entire life in the Georgia coastal region and chronicled its history and traditions in a body of work spanning a study of Georgia’s colonial records in London to the study of oral traditions and native crafts of the region’s African-Americans. Her interviews with and photographs of ex-slaves and their crafts remain an invaluable historical resource. In 1941, largely through Cate’s efforts the Fort Frederica Association was formed; it raised close to one-hundred thousand dollars to buy and preserve the fort’s site. Given to the National Park Service, Fort Frederica was designated as a national monument in 1947. Working through the local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and United Daughters of the Confederacy, Cate was largely responsible for placing the area’s many historical markers and listing its Revolutionary and Civil War grave sites. In addition to her work as a historian, Cate served as a teacher, school board member, postmistress, planning and zoning committee member, as well as being a successful farmer. She wrote numerous newspaper articles and delivered many lectures on the unique history and folklore of the Golden Isles. Her publications included Our Todays and Yesterdays, Early Days of Coastal Georgia, Fort Frederica Color Book, and three articles in the Georgia Historical Quarterly. In 1956 she received the Georgia Writers’ Special Award. She is listed in American Women, Principal Women of America, and Women of Distinction in America. She remained active until suffering a stroke in 1961. She died on Nov. 29, 1961 in Brunswick, Georgia.