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This Day in Georgia History

January 26, 1914

John Sammons Bell Born

Georgia jurist John Sammons Bell was born in Macon. After graduating from Mercer University in 1937, he earned his law degree from Emory Law School in 1948. He served as an assistant state attorney general in 1947, but entered the private practice of law in 1948. Bell served as chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party (1954-60). In 1960, Gov. Ernest Vandiver appointed Bell to a vacancy on the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 1969, he became chief judge of the court, serving in that position until resigning Jan. 31, 1979. He died Dec. 8, 2006. Despite a long career as an appellate judge, Bell is probably best recognized for having designed, and drafting the legislation creating, a new state flag, which was adopted at the 1956 session of the General Assembly.