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In Their Own Words

February 01, 1740

Guns Fired to Celebrate Anniversary of Founding of Georgia

William Stephens recorded in his journal on this day being the anniversary of the founding of Georgia. Guns were fired in salute to the occasion, although not without some controversy:

“…This being the Anniversary Day of the Colony’s first Landing here, under the Conduct of James Oglethorpe, Esq; the Gunner asked me whether or not he should fire any Guns, as had been formerly accustomed; to which Mr. Jones (then with me) answered, no; but I was of a different Opinion, and thought the Answer would more properly have come from me, as the General had left the Command of all the Militia with me, in his Absence; Who when here last, told us, that now in Time of War, Powder ought not to be wasted in needless Salutes, &c. Upon which Mr. Jones made that the Foundation of his Opinion, calling it a Saving; which I had before shewn a particular Regard to, by divers Restrictions made, where I thought it proper; which would be found Savings indeed, worth Notice; but to shew a Contempt of this Day, by such a poor Pretence, which in Effect was a bad Compliment to the General himself too, I thought a mean Act, and might carry such a Reflexion, as could not easily be justified: Therefore the least I could do, was to order five Guns to be fired; which I did, as a Memorial; hoping that Ages to come will celebrate this Day annually here, in a better Manner. …”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, p. 503.