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This Day in Georgia History

January 21, 1806

Henry Ellis Died

To view a document signed by Henry Ellis, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Henry Ellis, Georgia’s second royal governor (1757-1760), died in Naples, Italy. Born Aug. 24, 1721 in Ireland, left home to become a seasoned traveler. In 1756, he was appointed Georgia’s second royal governor. He arrived in Savannah on Feb. 16, 1757 to replace Gov. John Reynolds, who was extremely unpopular with the colonists. Ellis inherited a lot of left over strife and bitter feelings, but he worked through these feelings and earned the respect and backing of most Georgians. He realized the major problems facing the colony – need for better defense, more colonists, and better sources of wealth – and worked diligently to address them. Though popular with the colonists, Ellis was not happy in Georgia – primarily because of the summer heat, which often left him in poor health. Despite having visited equatorial Africa, Ellis believed the heat in Savannah to be worse than any place on earth, even publishing an article - “An Account of the Heats and Weather in Georgia” in London Magazine. Because of his inability to abide the Georgia weather, Ellis was replaced as royal governor by James Wright in October of 1760. Despite his short tenure in the colony, his tact and natural leadership qualities helped restore good relations between colonists and Georgia’s royal government. After leaving Georgia, Ellis traveled extensively, dying in Italy in 1806.