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This Day in Georgia History

January 25, 1799

John Wereat Died

To view an image of John Wereat, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Revolutionary war Whig politician John Wereat died in Bryan County, Ga. Born in England in the early 1730s, he came to Georgia in 1759 and became a landowner and successful planter before entering politics with the outbreak of the Revolution. He served as Georgia’s Continental agent for the course of the war. Wereat reluctantly became involved in the factionalism that divided many Georgians during this period, becoming the spokesman for the conservatives, who were opposed by radicals led by Button Gwinnett. Wereat fled to South Carolina when Savannah fell to the British, but returned with the withdrawal of British troops from Augusta in 1779. The members of the House of Assembly still in the area convened and elected a Supreme Executive Council to govern Georgia for the duration of the war. On August 6, 1779 Wereat was chosen president of the Council, making him the chief executive of Georgia. He served in this post for only three months before a new assembly, dominated by radicals, elected George Walton governor. Wereat resumed his duties as Continental agent, then assumed a similar role as auditor-general after the Revolution. In this post he helped bring some relief to Georgia’s war torn, shattered financial condition. So highly esteemed by this he was chosen to preside over Georgia’s convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution. After his retirement from politics Wereat engaged in land speculation, unfortunately becoming involved with the Yazoo land fraud, though Wereat denied any fraudulent behavior, insisting he was legitimately trying to invest in western lands. After this episode he returned to his Bryan County home, where he died in 1799.