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This Day in Georgia History

December 28, 1851

Joseph Mackey Brown Born

Politician Joseph Mackey Brown was born in Cherokee County, Georgia. Brown was the son of Georgia Civil War governor Joseph Emerson Brown; he later wrote on the military history of the momentous events surrounding him as a child. As an adult he became an executive with the Western and Atlantic Railroad during a time of its significant expansion; he worked with the railroads for twenty-three years. He was appointed to the Georgia Railroad Commission in 1904, then was surprisingly dismissed in 1907 by Governor Hoke Smith - touching off a decade long political feud between Brown and Smith. Brown was elected governor over Smith in 1908; then lost a narrow race for re-election to Smith in 1910. But when Smith resigned to become a United States senator, Brown won the election to succeed him. In 1914 Smith easily defeated Brown in the senatorial race and Brown retired from public life, though he continued to present his opinions in the Atlanta Constitution on matters such as the Leo Frank case, World War I, and women’s suffrage. Brown and Smith finally set their differences aside in 1928 to support Al Smith for president. Brown’s health began to decline that same year; he died in Marietta March 3, 1932.

Image of Joseph Mackey Brown Born View large image
Source: Photo: Ed Jackson