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This Day in Georgia History

December 28, 1870

Wilson Lumpkin Died

To view an image of Wilson Lumpkin’s home, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Politician Wilson Lumpkin died in Athens, Georgia. Lumpkin spent a decade serving in the state legislature and as an inferior court judge, before being elected to the United States Congress in 1814. In 1818 he was appointed to survey lands ceded to Georgia by Indians. He spent seven years traveling among the Creek and Cherokee, prompting him to become a strong advocate for removal of the Indians to the West. After being elected to Congress again in 1826, he worked to secure passage of bills to remove the Cherokees from Georgia’s boundaries. Lumpkin was elected governor in 1831 and served until 1835. While he opposed South Carolina’s attempt to nullify federal tariff laws, he adopted a strong states right’s view on Indian removal. Soon after his second term as governor, Lumpkin was named commissioner to execute the Treaty of New Echota, in which a faction of the Cherokees agreed to removal. In the fall of 1837, he was elected to the U. S. Senate, where he fought all efforts to overturn the treaty - and witnessed the culmination of his efforts with the Trail of Tears in 1838. Lumpkin then turned his attention to construction of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, completed in 1851. From 1843 onwards, Lumpkin lived in retirement on his farm in Athens - which was later incorporated into the University of Georgia campus. For his role in the Cherokee removal, the General Assembly named Lumpkin County for him in 1832. Following his death, Lumpkin was buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens. His grave is located at the top of the highest hill in the cemetery across the street from the University of Georgia football stadium.

Image of Wilson Lumpkin Died View large image
Source: Photo: Ed Jackson