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In Their Own Words

January 26, 1737

William Stephens Became Trustees’ Secretary

For the first four years of Georgia’s existence, the Trustees had been dependent upon James Oglethorpe to keep them informed of conditions in their colony. Oglethorpe, however, was often too busy to write – which was a frequent source of irritation for the Trustees. Three weeks after Oglethorpe’s return to England, he attended a Trustee meeting at which a change was initiated. As noted by the following entry in the journal of the Earl of Egmont, the Trustees accepted an offer by William Stephens (who would eventually become president of Georgia) to be their secretary in the colony,

“Mr. Vernon inform’d us that Willm. Stephens Esq. (formerly Member of Parliament in England) the Same who went to S. Carolina to take up [survey] lands for Col. Horsey had offer’d his Service to go to Georgia, and be our Secretary for that Province, on the terms of making him a Grant of 500 acres, and paying Servants to cultivate them. This was highly pleasing to us, he being a Man of cool temper and excellent Sense, & great industry & punctualness, and by him we were sure of having constant information of the State of the Colony concerning which hitherto we have been kept too much in the dark… .”

Source: Robert G. McPherson (ed.), The Journal of The Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), p. 230.