November 20

James Wright

November 20, 1785 - Savannah

He was the last Georgia governor who answered to the King.

James Wright, born in London in 1716, came to South Carolina as a teenager when his father became the colony’s chief justice. In 1760, he was named by King George III as the third royal governor of Georgia. He thoroughly invested in the colony, eventually owning 11 plantations and more than 500 slaves. A master at dealing with Native Americans, Wright made treaties that opened Georgia’s frontiers to white settlement, boosting his popularity.

When the American Revolution began, Wright had to make a terrible choice. He served the English crown, but he loved his Georgia neighbors — there was never any doubt what side he would choose.

Wright’s strong leadership dampened Georgia’s early support for the revolution. But when armed conflict erupted in 1776, he left. He returned briefly when the British captured Savannah in 1778. His stay was short. When the British evacuated Georgia he left again, this time for good.

The man who served as Georgia’s governor longer than any other was buried in Westminster Abbey after his death on November 20, 1785, Today in Georgia History.