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Clarke County Historical Markers

Home of Joseph Henry Lumpkin Georgia’s First Chief Justice


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Home of Joseph Henry Lumpkin Georgia’s First Chief Justice
  • Location: 248 Prince Ave., Athens

HOME OF JOSEPH HENRY LUMPKIN

GEORGIA’S FIRST CHIEF JUSTICE

Joseph Henry Lumpkin, born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, Dec. 23,

1799, entered the University of Georgia at fifteen, completing his college

education at Princeton, New Jersey, in 1819. Lumpkin passed the bar in 1820

and began practicing law in Lexington, Georgia. He served in the State

Legislature, 1824 and 1825, and helped from the Georgia Penal Code, 1833.

When the Georgia Supreme Court was formed in 1845, the General

Assembly elected Lumpkin, Hiram Warner, and Eugenius Nisbet to the

bench. His colleagues chose Lumpkin Chief Justice, and he held that

position until his death, June 4, 1867. When the University added

a school of law, it was given Lumpkin’s name, and he lectured there

until the outbreak of the Civil War. The eloquent opinions of Georgia’s

first Chief Justice, who revered the spirit as well as the letter of the

law, were of inestimable importance in firmly establishing the Supreme

Court as part of the State’s legal system

Lumpkin’s beautiful Greek Revival home was built in 1842. After his

death in 1867, the house was used by Madama Sophie Sosnowski as her

“Home School” for young ladies. It is now the home of the Athens

Woman’s Club.

029 - 12 GEORGIA HISTORICAL COMMISSION 1964