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Timeline: Late Nineteenth Century 1878-1900

1878-1879 1880-1889 1890-1900


For more on Walter George, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Future Georgia politician and prominent United States Senator Walter F. George was born in Webster County.

Dr. Crawford Long, who in 1842 had become the first doctor to use anesthesia during surgery, died in Athens, Georgia.

The National Weather Service opened Georgia’s first weather station in Atlanta.


For more on Georgia’s first official flag, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.

Georgia’s first official state flag was created.

Atlanta’s first telephone exchange opened in the Kimball Opera House (then being used as Georgia’s capitol building).

Noted Georgia educator Mary Creswell was born in Pennsylvania. She became the first woman to receive a baccalaureate degree from the University of Georgia.

Former Union general William T. Sherman visited Georgia, the state he had so devastated in his Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea fifteen years earlier; his reception was surprisingly cordial.


Women’s suffrage activist and peace advocate Jeannette Rankin was born in Montana. She moved to Watkinsville, Georgia in 1925, created the Georgia Peace Society and lobbied for the outlawing of all war. In 1972, the National Organization of Women voted her “the world’s outstanding living feminist.”

To view a copy of the Uncle Remus book, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

The Uncle Remus stories of Joel Chandler Harris were first published in a book titled Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings.

Former Georgia governor Herschel Johnson died in Jefferson County.


An International Cotton Exposition, the first of three to be held in Atlanta to promote the city and state, opened on October 5 and closed on December 31.

A powerful hurricane hit the coast of Georgia, killing an estimated 700 people and leaving many more homeless.

Georgia born poet and musician Sidney Lanier died in North Carolina.

Noted educator Robert Preston Brooks was born in Milledgeville, Georgia. He would become the first Rhodes Scholar at the University of Georgia.


Alexander Stephens was elected and sworn in as Georgia governor. He had wanted to retire from politics, but the Democratic Party was in disarray and needed a candidate to help unify them. Stephens agreed and entered the race, which he easily won, but would only serve for four months until his death the following year.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born at Hyde Park, New York. He would ultimately adopt Georgia, in particular Warm Springs, as his second home, and many of his future New Deal programs would arise from his observations and experiences in rural Georgia.

For more on William Tappan Thompson, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Newspaper editor, writer, and politician William Tappan Thompson died.


Georgia governor Alexander Stephens died in office. He was replaced by the president of the Georgia Senate, James Stoddard Boynton, until a new election could be held. In that election, Henry McDaniel was chosen governor.

The Georgia General Assembly appropriated one million dollars for construction of a new state capitol building.

For a photo of Carl Vinson with other Georgia congressmen, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Carl Vinson, who would serve over fifty years and become one of the most influential national legislators of the twentieth century, was born in Baldwin County.

Former Georgia governor Charles Jones Jenkins died in Augusta, Georgia.

The first issue of the Atlanta Journal was published.


Henry McDaniel,who had been elected governor the previous year in a special election to fill the term of the deceased Alexander Stephens, was elected to a full two year term.

Excavation began for construction of the new Georgia State Capitol.

Future Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge was born in Forsyth, Georgia.

Leo Frank was born in Texas. He would become the central figure in one of the most infamous murder/trial/lynchings in Georgia history from 1913-15.


For a photograph of the capital cornerstone cereemony, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

The marble cornerstone for Georgia’s new state capitol building was laid in Atlanta; some 10,000 people attended the ceremony.

Politician and prominent secessionist leader Robert Toombs died in Washington, Georgia.

Woodrow Wilson married Ellen Louise Axson of Rome, Georgia.

Georgia ceded land in the Atlanta area to the federal government for the purpose of building a military base, which would eventually become Fort McPherson.

The Georgia General Assembly passed an act authorizing the creation of a state school of technology as a branch of the University of Georgia. This was the beginning of the Georgia Institute of Technology.


John B. Gordon was elected to and sworn in for the first of his two terms as governor of Georgia.

For more on John Pemberton, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Druggist John Pemberton invented a syrup blend of extracts of coca and kola for use in treating headaches. When a customer asked for the treatment to be diluted with carbonated water, Coca-Cola was born. The first Coca-Cola fountain drink was sold in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta. Soon thereafter, the first advertisement for Coca-Cola appeared in the Atlanta Journal.

Henry Grady delivered his famous “New South” speech in New York. The speech, beginning with the words - “There was a South of slavery and secession; that South is dead. There is a South of union and freedom; that South, thank God, is living, breathing, growing every hour.”- brought nationwide acclaim to Grady.

Former Confederate president Jefferson Davis attended the unveiling of a monument to Georgia congressman Benjamin Hill in Atlanta. See This Day in Georgia History for May 1.

Future Hall of Fame singer Gertrude “Ma” Rainey was born in Columbus, Georgia.

Future baseball Hall of Fame player Ty Cobb was born in Banks County.

Noted poet, literary critic, and editor Paul Hamilton Hayne died in Grovetown, Georgia.

Former Georgia governor Benjamin Conley died in Atlanta.

An earthquake did severe damage to Charleston, SC, and was felt throughout much of north Georgia. See In Their Own Words for August 31 for a personal account of the earthquake from near Augusta, Georgia.


John Pemberton registered a patent for “Coca-Cola Syrup and Extract.”

The second of three major Cotton Expositions was held in Atlanta. The first had been in 1881, the third (and largest) would be in 1895.

Famous African-American tenor Roland Hayes was born in Calhoun, Georgia.

Famous bridge builder Horace King died in LaGrange, Georgia.

Georgia born John H. “Doc” Holliday died in Colorado.

To read Free Joe and other Georgian Sketches, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

Free Joe and other Georgian Sketches, by Joel Chandler Harris, was published.


Aviator Benjamin (Ben) T. Epps was born in Oconee County. He would establish Georgia’s first airport and develop innovative designs for light aircraft.

John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, died in Atlanta. Two weeks later, Asa Candler paid $1,000 for one-third interest in the new Coca-Cola Company. He would eventually purchase complete interest for a total of $2,300.

A formal dedication ceremony was held in Atlanta for the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The first Georgia Experiment Station was created - in Griffin, Georgia - for the purpose of agricultural research.

Georgia born Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar was appointed to the United States Supreme Court.


The new Georgia State Capitol building was completed and dedicated.

Two men bought out the remnants of a defunct circus at auction, then donated the animals to the city of Atlanta. It was decided to house them in Grant Park, which was the beginning of Atlanta’s first zoo.

Future writer Conrad Aiken was born in Savannah.

Businessman and philanthropist Robert W. Woodruff was born in Columbus, Georgia.

Henry Grady died in Atlanta.

To view a photograph of the Decatur Female Seminary, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

The Decatur Female Seminary opened; it would become Agnes Scott College.

The University of Georgia, and all its branches, was opened to white females.

Fort McPherson was made an official U.S. Army post.


For more on William B. Hartsfield, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Prominent politician William Hartsfield was born in Atlanta; he would become mayor of the city and promote improvements to the zoo, Stone Mountain, the Cyclorama, and lead the drive to create an airport - which would eventually be named for him.

Former Georgia governor James Milton Smith died in Columbus, Georgia.

Military officer, explorer, and politician John Fremont died in New York City; he had been born in Savannah.


Charles Crisp was selected as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the second Georgian (Howell Cobb was the first) to hold that office.

Asa Candler purchased full control of the Coca-Cola Company; he had purchased one-third control earlier.

An infamous name to many Georgians, William T. Sherman died in New York.

Former Georgia governor James Johnson died in Chattahoochee County.

For an image of the unveiling, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

A monument to Henry Grady was unveiled in Atlanta.

The country’s first garden club was established in Athens, Georgia.


Georgian, and future Georgia governor, Hoke Smith was named U.S. Secretary of the Interior by President Grover Cleveland.

The University of Georgia defeated Mercer in the first intercollegiate football game in played in Athens, Georgia, and in the deep south.

The University of Georgia and Auburn Mechanical and Military College played one of the South’s first intercollegiate football games in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, inaugurating the South’s oldest football rivalry.

For more on Oliver Hardy, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Early film star and comedian Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame) was born in Harlem, Georgia.


A major hurricane - later called the Sea Islands Hurricane - hit the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. The path of the hurricane traveled along the coast, with storm surges and tides submerging many of Georgia’s barrier islands. The center of the hurricane then hit Savannah and Charleston, SC. Left in the wake of the storm in Georgia and South Carolina were up to 2,000 dead and more than 30,000 homeless. See In Their Own Words for August 28 for first hand descriptions of the disaster.

For an image of an early rural mail carrier, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

U.S. Representative from Georgia Tom Watson added an amendment to a bill for the U.S. Post Office Department requiring that a portion of their funds be used to experiment with delivering mail to residents outside incorporated towns and cities. This was the beginning of Rural Free Delivery.

Musician and educator Hugh Hodgson was born in Athens, Georgia.

Civil rights activist Walter F. White was born in Atlanta.

Coca-Cola’s trademark was registered with the U.S. Patent Office.


The Kimball Opera House, which had been used as Georgia’s state capitol building for twenty years (1869-1889), was destroyed by fire.

For an image of an early Southern Railway train, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

The Southern Railway Company was charted; its headquarters was in Atlanta.

U.S. Senator Alfred H. Colquitt died in office in Washington, D.C.

Former Georgia governor (during the Civil War) Joseph E. Brown died in Atlanta.

Helen Douglas Mankin was born in Atlanta. She would become one of the first women elected to the U.S. Congress from Georgia.

Author Jean Toomer was born in Washington, D.C. His classic work Cane was published after he had lived and studied in Georgia.

William Y. Atkinson was elected governor of Georgia.


For an image of the Exposition, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

A huge Cotton States and International Exposition was held in Atlanta, to promote the city, state, and the South in general. For a first hand account of the Exposition opening, see In Their Own Words for Sept. 19.

African-American educator and civil rights advocate Benjamin Mays was born in South Carolina.

Dedication ceremonies were held for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Future Georgia governor Eurith Dickinson Rivers was born in Arkansas.

The National American Woman Suffrage Association held its annual meeting in Atlanta, led by Susan B. Anthony.

Glenn “Pop” Warner became head football coach at the University of Georgia.


Charles Crisp, the second Georgian to hold the position of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, died in Atlanta.

The Georgia General Assembly directed that the Senate chamber be lit by electricity.

The University of Georgia football team, coached by Glenn “Pop” Warner, went 4-0 - the first undefeated season in the team’s then short history.


For more on Von Gammon, see this feature from GeorgiaInfo.

In a football game played between the University of Georgia and the University of Virginia, Georgia standout Richard Vonalbade (Von) Gammon was fatally injured. His death stunned the state, and Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Mercer disbanded their football teams. Nationwide, newspapers and clergy joined the call for the abolishment of football. At the time, the Georgia General Assembly was in session and quickly passed a bill to outlaw football at state institutions. The bill only awaited Governor William Atkinson’s approval. But Von Gammon’s mother wrote a letter asking that the game her son loved not be abolished because of his accident. When Governor Atkinson saw the letter, he decided that he would not approve the legislation, and the movement to ban football was over. See GeorgiaInfo Related article for more information.

Author and civil rights advocate Lillian Smith was born in Florida.

Jazz pianist, arranger, and conductor Fletcher “Smack” Henderson, Jr. was born in Cuthbert, Georgia.

Martin Luther King, Sr., popularly known as “Daddy King” and father to the world famous civil rights leader of the same name, was born in Stockbridge, Georgia.

For more on Richard B. Russell, Jr., see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Future Georgia governor and United States Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. was born in Winder, Georgia.

Stella Akin was born in Savannah; she would become the first woman admitted to the Georgia bar.

Elijah Poole was born in Sandersville, Georgia. He would later change his name to Elijah Muhammad and become the leader of the Nation of Islam.


A hurricane hit the Georgia coast, doing major damage to the Sapelo Island Lighthouse.

U.S. President William McKinley addressed the Georgia General Assembly as part of a Peace Jubilee to celebrate the U.S. victory in the Spanish-American War; he also visited Savannah as part of the celebration.

Editor, publisher, and writer Ralph McGill was born in Tennessee.

The Cyclorama painting of the Battle of Atlanta was donated to the city of Atlanta.

Lucius D. Clay, U.S. military leader during and after World War II, was born in Marietta, Georgia.

Lawyer, politician, and former Confederate general Henry Rootes Jackson died in Savannah.

Lillian Gordy was born in Chattahoochee County; she would marry James Earl Carter and bear a son - Jimmy Carter - would become the only U.S. President from Georgia.

For an image of the Brunswick Stew plaque, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

According to Georgia legend, the first pot of the famous Brunswick Stew was made on St. Simons Island.


Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music,” was born in Villa Rica, Georgia.

Educator Harmon White Caldwell was born in Meriwether County.

Educator Omer Clyde Aderhold was born in Lavonia, Georgia.

Former Georgia governor William Y. Atkinson died in Florida.

To see an image of the Tomochichi memorial, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

A memorial to Tomochichi, the Yamacraw Indian chief who welcomed James Oglethorpe and Georgia’s first colonial settlers, was dedicated in Savannah.


Mary Phagan was born in Marietta, Georgia. She would be killed on Confederate Memorial Day in 1913, beginning what is probably the most infamous murder case/trial/lynching in Georgia history.

James Augustine Healy, who had been born in Georgia and who had become the nation’s first African-American Roman Catholic bishop, died in Portland, Maine.

For more on Margaret Mitchell, see the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

Margaret Mitchell was born in Atlanta. While she did have a career as a newspaper journalist, she would become world famous as the author of the epic novel Gone with the Wind.

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