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This Day in Georgia History

June 06, 1803

Josiah Tattnall Died

Former Georgia militia general, member of the Georgia House of Representatives, U.S. Senator, and Georgia governor Josiah Tattnall died at age 38. Born in 1762 near Savannah, Tattnall’s father - a British loyalist - took his family away during the American Revolution. Josiah, however, favored the patriot side and enlisted in the Continental Army. After the war, he returned to Georgia and reclaimed the family plantation. He became a colonel - and ultimately brigadier general - in the Georgia State Troops. Elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1795, Tattnall was an important force in repealing the Yazoo Act. After the act was repealed, the General Assembly elected Tattnall to fill the U.S. Senate term of James Jackson, who had resigned his Senate seat to return to Georgia to fight for repeal of the Yazoo Act. Tattnall served in the U.S. Senate from Feb. 20, 1796 to Mar. 3, 1799. The legislature then elected him governor in November 1801. The following month, lawmakers named a new county for him. Failing health forced Tattnall to resign in late 1802. He then traveled to Nassau to recover, but died while there. His body was returned to Savannah, where he was buried in Bonaventure Cemetery.