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This Day in Georgia History

September 08, 1807

Horace King Born

African-American builder Horace King was born 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. Godwin and King built the first bridge across the Chattahoochee River. King soon became noted for his ability to build bridges, and he constructed a number in Georgia, 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 down. After the Civil War, King served in the Alabama House of Representatives (1869-1872) and in other public offices. He died in 1887 in LaGrange, Georgia.