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This Day in Georgia History

June 06, 1861

Joseph Terrell Born

Politician Joseph M. Terrell was born in Greenville, Georgia. In 1884, Terrell was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives (becoming the youngest member elected to the Georgia General Assembly), and in 1890 to the Georgia Senate. Terrell then spent ten years as Georgia’s attorney general (1892-1902), where he enjoyed unique success in arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1902, Terrell was elected governor of Georgia. He served two terms, in which he championed more funding for education (especially agricultural education), saw the establishment of a state court of appeals, and fought for reform in child labor laws. Terrell retired briefly after his second term as governor, before governor Joseph M. Brown appointed him to fill the vacancy caused by the death of U.S. Senator Alexander Clay. Unfortunately, Terrell was able to serve only three months before suffering a stroke and being forced to retire permanently from public life. He never fully regained his health and died in Atlanta November 17, 1912.