19th Century

January 21, 1931

Eliza Frances Andrews

She was a non-conformist before that became stylish. Eliza Frances “Fanny” Andrews was born in Washington, Georgia, in 1840. Among the first students to attend LaGrange Female College, she was fluent in both Latin and French. She was fiercely independent. Though her father was a staunch Unionist, Andrews was an equally strong secessionist. As her […]

November 21, 1922

Rebecca Latimer Felton

Georgia steadfastly opposed women’s suffrage, so no one ever expected the first woman in the U.S. Senate to be from Georgia. But that’s what happened on this day in 1922. Rebecca Latimer was born in 1835 near Decatur. She married William Felton and was actively involved in his political career as a state legislator and […]

May 8, 1915

Henry McNeal Turner

Mixing religion and politics worked out well for Henry McNeal Turner. Free-born in South Carolina in 1834, he was educated by white attorneys at a firm where he did janitorial work. Drawn to preaching, he led revivals in Macon, Athens, and Augusta. He pastored a church in Washington D.C., where he met Republican congressmen Charles […]

August 8, 1899

William Yates Atkinson

Not many governors had to prove their courage by facing down a lynch mob. William Yates Atkinson did. The two-term governor was one of Georgia’s most progressive voices in an era known more for racial demagogues. Born in 1854 in Oakland, Ga., Atkinson practiced law in Newnan in 1893, he became one of Georgia’s youngest […]

April 25, 1898

Spanish-American War in Georgia

“Remember the Maine” – three simple words that helped propel the United States into a major conflict with Spain. And Georgians played an important role in it. The Spanish-American War grew out of American support for Cuba’s rebellion against Spain. After the American battleship USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Americans clamored for war. Georgia […]

April 23, 1897

Lucius Clay

He was the architect of one of the most remarkable logistical feats in history — and one of the most humane. Lucius Clay was born in Marietta in 1897, the son of U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay. He graduated from West Point in 1918 and was assigned to the engineers. During World War II, Clay […]

October 30, 1897

Von Gammon

Can you imagine Saturday afternoons in autumn without college football in Georgia? It almost happened. On this day in 1897, UGA player Richard Von Albade Gammon was fatally injured in a game with the University of Virginia. There had been a nationwide call for a ban on the violent sport, and Von Gammon’s death galvanized […]

September 18, 1895

The Atlanta Cotton States & International Exposition

On this day in 1895, President Grover Cleveland threw an electric switch at his Massachusetts home and officially opened the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition. Civic leaders wanted to promote Georgia’s economic development and showcase Atlanta as the resurgent heart of the New South. 800,000 people visited the 6,000 exhibits. They saw the Liberty […]

October 8, 1895

Liberty Bell in Atlanta

It doesn't get around much anymore, but the Liberty Bell came to Atlanta on this date in 1895 for the Cotton States Exposition. It almost didn't. The famously–cracked 2,000 pound pealer left Philadelphia on seven trips between 1885 and 1915. Each time it came home with more cracks. It turned out the men hired to […]

April 28, 1894

Young Harris College

His namesake college in north Georgia is small. Its effect has been anything but. Young Loftin Harris was born in Elbert County around 1812. He became a lawyer, judge, and state representative, but he made his money in the insurance business. Harris joined the Southern Mutual Insurance Company in 1849. Over a 45-year career, he […]