May 12

George Washington Visits

May 12, 1791 - Savannah, Waynesboro, Augusta

As first president, George Washington was the living symbol of the independent United States. After his inauguration, he embarked on a grand tour designed to cement allegiance to the fledgling American nation. He toured the New England states first and then traveled south. In May 1791, Washington came to Georgia for the first and only time in his life and was greeted as a conquering hero.

His first stop was Mulberry Grove, the plantation of General Nathanael Greene’s widow Catharine. Washington spent four days in Savannah—unheard of for presidential visits now—attending dinners, dances, ceremonies, and services at Christ Church. He traveled north to Waynesboro and then spent three days in Georgia’s capital at Augusta, where he met with Governor Edward Telfair, visited Richmond Academy, and inspected the remains of British fortifications.

Washington’s tour strengthened the bonds of national unity and Georgia’s allegiance to the new federal government. For 10 days Georgians could boast “George Washington slept here,” beginning on May 12, 1791, Today in Georgia History.