Georgia was still a young colony when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Founded in 1733 in Savannah, she was only 43 years old at the time. The number of native-born Georgians was small. That is why none of the three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia were natives.
One was actually born in England. George Walton was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in 1741. He lost his parents early and adopted by an uncle. Records show that he was apprenticed as a carpenter. There are no other records of his early life. He finally showed up in Savannah in 1769. There he undertook the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1774.
Walton was elected Secretary of Georgia‘s Provisional Council, and made President of the Council of Safety. In 1776, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence.
His political career was marred by a conflict with Button Gwinnett, during which one of his supporters challenged Gwinnett to a duel, ending in Gwinnett’s death.
Lyman Hall was born in Connecticut in 1724. He studied medicine at Yale College and opened a medical practice in Charleston, S.C. He did well enough to buy land in Georgia for a plantation. He secured election to the Continental Congress, where he was involved in provisioning food and medicine for the Revolutionary Armies.
When the war reached Savannah, Hall’s property was burned and he stood accused of high treason. He fled to Charleston, which was also overtaken by the British. He then fled to Connecticut, where he was protected by his family.
Button Gwinnett was a native of England, where he was born about the year 1732. His parents were respectable in life, and gave their son as good an education as their moderate circumstances would allow. Gwinnett launched his career as a merchant in the city of Bristol. After his marriage, he moved to Charleston, S.C., and continued as a merchant until he liquidated his stock. He purchased a large tract of land in Georgia and became a planter. Gwinnett, unhappy with the actions of his opponents, challenged a General M’Intosh to a duel. They fought at close range resulting in severe wounds for each. Gwinnett’s wound was fatal and he died on the 27th of May 1777, at the age of 45.
These three men played key roles in the development of Georgia, and all three were rewarded by having a county in Northeast Georgia named for them.
Last year, at the Colbert Independence Day festival, I conducted a survey asking celebrants to name the three Georgia signers. Only two people were able to do so. So now you know who they were.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgaillispie.com/gillispieonline.
We should look to the Declaration Of Independence for more understanding of the Constitution . It is as important if not more important than the Constitution in explaining our reasons for separation in the first place.
I read it regularly and it is really Erie when you read it and see so many similarities in the actions of our Federal Government today.
All you would need to do is change the wording slightly maybe like King to President and Parliament to Congress and its seems as if we are right back where we started form .
I wonder how we can say we are so proud of our troops fighting for our freedom and the freedom of oppressed nations while we send our youth to die for what we sit on our hands and let our own Government take away from us right here at home. This to me doesn't show honor to our troops. If anything its a disgrace not honor !