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This Day in Georgia History

May 28, 1885

Horace King Died

Master bridge builder Horace King died in LaGrange, Georgia. Born Sept. 8, 1807 in Cheraw, South Carolina of mixed black, white, and Indian ancestry, King grew up as a slave and was brought by his owner, John Godwin, to the Columbus, Georgia area in 1830. Two years later, Godwin and King began work on the first bridge across the Chattahoochee River. Over the next three decades, King built more of his famous lattice bridges over the Chattahoochee (at West Point and Fort Gaines), the Flint River (at Albany), and Oconee River (at Milledgeville). He also constructed bridges in Alabama, and Mississippi. In 1846, Godwin successfully petitioned the Alabama legislature to grant King his legal freedom. Thereafter, King not only built bridges but constructed courthouses and other buildings, including rebuilding of the Alabama State Capitol after it burned. After the Civil War, King served in the Alabama House of Representatives (1869-1872) and in other public offices.