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This Day in Georgia History

November 15, 1815

Stephen Heard Died

For more on Stephen Heard, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Politician, farmer, and patriot Stephen Heard died in Elbert County, Georgia (some sources cite Nov. 16). Heard was one of the leaders of the Georgia backcountry Whig faction that supported the patriot cause in the American Revolution. He fought under Elijah Clarke at the Battle of Kettle Creek in which the Tory forces were surprised and forced to retreat. But the British eventually occupied Augusta and Heard suffered under their rule. His wife and daughter were driven from their home in winter and died from exposure. Heard himself was captured and held prisoner in Augusta. After he managed to escape (family legend has it that he was rescued by a female slave). Heard served on the Executive Council, which ruled Georgia (at least in name) during a significant portion of the American Revolution. He was council president from 1780 to 1781 - making him in essence Georgia’s chief executive during that time. During a portion of this time, Georgia’s government met at Heard’s Fort, a fortification located eight miles from the present day city of Washington, Georgia. After the Revolution, Heard served four terms in the Georgia House of Representatives, as justice of the Elbert County court, and as a delegate to the Georgia constitutional convention in 1795. Heard eventually married again and became a prosperous farmer, having received many grants of land as rewards for his public service. Most of this land was in Elbert County, where he helped select the site of the county seat - Elberton. Here he built Heardmont, considered the most attractive house north of Augusta in its day. Heard died at his home on November 15, 1815. The Georgia General Assembly named a county in his honor December 22, 1830.

Image of Stephen Heard Died View large image
Source: Photo: Ed Jackson