December 3

John Forsyth

December 3, 1832 - Wilkes County, Augusta

Only two Georgians have served as Secretary of State. John Forsyth was one of them.

Born in Virginia in 1780, Forsyth went to school in Wilkes County, Georgia, before graduating from the future Princeton University in 1799. He returned to Augusta to practice law and married the daughter of Josiah Meigs, the president of the University of Georgia.

An accomplished lawyer, Forsyth was elected Georgia’s attorney general at age 28 and his distinguished political career began. He served in both the U.S. House and Senate before President James Monroe appointed him as minister to Spain, where he negotiated the treaty that annexed Florida. After another stint in the House he returned to Georgia and served as governor. His primary accomplishment: extending Georgia law over the Cherokee.

Forsyth returned to the U.S. Senate and backed President Andrew Jackson in the states-rights showdown with South Carolina in 1832. As a reward, Jackson appointed Forsyth Secretary of State, the only Georgian to hold that office besides Dean Rusk.

Georgia honored one of her most accomplished politicians when Forsyth County was created on December 3, 1832, Today in Georgia History.