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This Day in Georgia History

January 24, 1788

George Handley Elected Governor

The Georgia legislature elected George Handley governor. Born in England, Handley arrived in Georgia in May 1775 and almost immediately became involved in the revolutionary movement. He joined the Continental Army in 1776 and reached the rank of lieutenant before retiring in 1782. After the war, Handley moved to Augusta and became active in local politics, serving as a justice of the peace for four different counties. At the state level, Handley served as secretary of the executive council in 1785 and 1786, before becoming inspector-general of the militia. He was also a delegate to the state convention that unanimously ratified the U. S. Constitution.

Under Handley’s administration as governor, Georgia adopted a new state constitution, with Handley acting as president of the convention. He was able to convince Creek chief Alexander McGillivray to suspend hostilities pending the creation of the new federal government. After his one-year term as governor, Handley was appointed collector of the Brunswick port by President Washington. He served in this post and as sheriff of Richmond County until his death on September 17, 1793.