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This Day in Georgia History

January 08, 1807

David Irwin Born

Jurist and politician David Irwin was born in Wilkes County, Georgia. Early in life Irwin became noted for his penmanship, which helped earn him a position as a superior court clerk. Becoming interested in the law, he studied and was admitted to the Georgia bar at age twenty. Though he served several terms in the state legislature and at two constitutional conventions, Irwin is most noted for his significant contributions to the codifying of Georgia law. Irwin, Thomas R.R. Cobb, and Richard H. Clark were chosen to incorporate all common law, statutes, and judicial decisions into a single unified code of law in 1858. The code had to be revised in 1861, 1868, and 1873 – with virtually all the revision work being done by Irwin; the revised versions were popularly know as “Irwin’s Code.” In addition to his political and judicial work, Irwin remained an active participant in the civic affairs of the state – working to improve state railroads and serving on a local board of education. He died in Marietta on Nov. 26, 1885.