19th Century

August 27, 1893

Georgia Hurricane of 1893

A hurricane with the same destructive force as Katrina hit the Georgia coast on this day in 1893. Known as the “Sea Island Storm,” it killed nearly 2,000 people. The hurricane first hit the coast, passing over Georgia’s Sea Islands, before churning its way north 100 miles with a 16–foot storm surge. The hurricane made […]

January 18, 1892

Oliver Hardy

He was the large half of the duo that was widely considered the greatest comedy team in film history, always complaining, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” Norvell Hardy was born in Harlem, Georgia, in 1892, and grew up in Madison, Covington, Athens, and Milledgeville. He was working at a theater when […]

October 21, 1891

Henry Grady

His name became a synonym for the New South. Henry Grady was born in 1850 in Athens. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Grady published an editorial in 1874 in the Atlanta Daily Herald entitled “The New South.” It caught the eye of the owners of the Atlanta Constitution and they offered him part […]

July 13, 1890

John C. Fremont

Abraham Lincoln was not the first Republican presidential candidate. It was Georgia native John Frémont who ran four years before Lincoln. Born in Savannah in 1813, Fremont graduated from the College of Charleston. South Carolina diplomat Joel Poinsett got Fremont appointed to the Army’s topographical engineers, and his life’s work was set. Fremont surveyed and […]

September 24, 1889

Agnes Scott College

Its beautiful campus has hosted more than 20 movies and TV shows. It opened in 1889 as the Decatur Female Seminary. As Agnes Scott College, it's become a preeminent institution of women's higher education.  In 1888, Frank Gaines became pastor of the Decatur Presbyterian Church. With church support, he founded the seminary the next year […]

December 6, 1889

Robert Woodruff

Coca-Cola is now a worldwide phenomenon, but the man responsible took over when the company was still struggling. Robert Woodruff was born in Columbus in 1889 and attended but didn’t graduate from Emory College. He took a job in sales with the White Motor Company, where he quickly climbed the corporate ladder. His father was […]

September 3, 1888

Thomas Milton Rivers

Viruses and bacteria are two very different things. We know that now thanks to a pioneering scientist born in Jonesboro. Known as the father of modern virology, Thomas Milton Rivers also had a hand in the development of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. Rivers graduated from Emory College and went on to Johns Hopkins Medical School. […]

August 16, 1888

John Stith Pemberton

He created the pause that refreshes. John Stith Pemberton was born in Knoxville, Georgia in 1831 and grew up in Rome. In 1850, he graduated from a College of Herbal Medicine in Macon and then went to pharmacy school in Philadelphia. Returning to Georgia, Pemberton set up shop as a druggist in Columbus. During the […]

August 6, 1887

Woolfolk Murders

Five years before Lizzie Borden and her axe became famous, nine members of the Woolfolk family were killed with an axe at their home near Macon in Georgia’s first mass murder. Richard Woolfolk, his wife Mattie, their six children, and a visiting relative, were all slaughtered as they slept. Suspicion immediately fell on Tom Woolfolk, […]

October 13, 1885

Georgia Tech Founded

A Ramblin’ Wreck is more than just a snappy nickname for Georgia Tech. It speaks to the very reason the school was created in the first place. To help bring the Industrial Revolution to Georgia, the Georgia School of Technology began with $65,000 in state funding and 84 students.  At first, the school was narrowly […]