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Telfair, Edward


Edward Telfair was born in Scotland c. 1735; he came to Georgia in 1766. Almost immediately he became a successful businessman in partnership with his brother. He was elected to the Commons House of Assembly in 1768 and also held some local offices in Savannah. As a merchant Telfair was not pleased with the British policies on taxation of the American colonies. He was among those who convened in 1874 to denounce the Intolerable Acts, and was a delegate to both the first and second provincial congresses. He was also among the group of Whigs who seized the ammunition stored in Savannah on May 11, 1775. Telfair remained devoted to the American independence movement even when his brother cast his lot with the Loyalists. Elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress, he was one of the Georgians to sign the Articles of Confederation. After the Revolutionary War, Telfair was elected to the state legislature, served as a justice, and worked on several committees. In 1786 the legislature elected him governor. He was chosen governor again in 1789 and served until 1793. As governor Telfair was influential in moving the state capital from Savannah to Augusta, worked to resolve the Georgia-South Carolina boundary dispute, and was beset by Creek Indian problems in his last year in office. After 1793, he retired from public life. Upon his death on Sept. 17, 1807, he left a large fortune, which his descendants used to establish the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences. Telfair is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. In December 1807, the Georgia General Assembly created a new Georgia county and named it in his honor.