April 26, 1826
1826 Confederate general Ambrose Ransom "Ranse" Wright was born in Louisville, Ga. He left school at age 15 to read law, married at 16, and subsequently was admitted to the bar. Wright practiced law in Dooly County, but in 1850 returned to Louisville, where he developed a successful practice. After unsuccessful races for the General Assembly and Congress, Wright moved to Augusta, where he practiced law until the outbreak of the Civil War. In April 1861, he enlisted as a private in the Confederate Light Guards in the 3rd Georgia. Members of the unit soon elected him to serve as colonel. In June 1862, Wright was promoted to brigadier general and commanded his own brigade at the battles of Second Manassas, Sharpsburg (where he was wounded), Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsvylvania, and Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. In November 1864, Wright was promoted to major general and commanded a division under Gen. Hardee during the Carolinas Campaign. After the war, he resumed the practice of law in Augusta. In March 1866, Wright became editor of the Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel, where he became an outspoken opponent of Radical Reconstruction. In 1872, Wright was elected to Congress as a "New Departure" Democrat but died in Augusta on Dec. 21 before taking office.
April 26, 1856
1856 Georgia politician George Michael Troup died in Montgomery County, Ga. [See Sept. 8 entry for biographical information.]
April 26, 1865
1865 At Durham Station, N.C., the terms of the surrender of Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston were finalized. Confederate soldiers would turn in their firearms and be paroled at Greensboro. Privately owned horses and mules could be retained and officers could keep their side arms. Transportation for the Confederate men would be arranged by the Federal government where possible. The men would be allowed one rifle for every five men to hunt game on their way home. Because Georgia fell under Johnston’s jurisdiction, April 26 marked the end of the Civil War for Georgia.
April 26, 1866
1866 The Atlanta Ladies’ Memorial Association, formed 11 days earlier, held its first Confederate memorial observance at Oakland Cemetery.
April 26, 1886
1886 Black Illinois congressman William Levi Dawson was born in Albany, Ga. After graduating from Fisk University, he moved to Chicago. During World War I, Dawson serve in the 365th Infantry, after which he returned to Chicago and became involved in Republican politics. In 1942, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would serve 27 years. In 1949, Dawson became chairman of the House Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments, which gave him the distinction of being the first African American to chair a congressional committee.
April 26, 1886
1886 Gertrude Pridgett "Ma" Rainey, widely known as the "Mother of the Blues," was born in Columbus, Ga. [See Dec. 22 entry for biographical information.]
April 26, 1913
1913 This year’s Confederate Memorial Day fell on Saturday. In Atlanta, a parade was scheduled downtown at 2 p.m. One month shy of her 14th birthday, young Mary Phagan caught a street car to downtown Atlanta to watch the Memorial Day parade. But there was a second -- and maybe more important reason -- for going downtown. Phagan had a job making pencils at the National Pencil Company on Forsyth St. She was owed $1.20, so she dropped by the factory to pick up her pay from plant superintendent Leo Frank. Phagan didn’t make it to the parade, nor did she return home that night. At 3 a.m., night watchman Newt Lee found Phagan’s body in the basement of the pencil factory. She had some bruises and gashes on her head and body, but she had been strangled to death by a cord found tied around her neck. Thus began an episode of Georgia history known as the "Leo Frank Case."
April 26, 1995
1995 After a costly major league baseball strike is finally settled, the Atlanta Braves opened what would be their World Championship season with a 12-5 win over the San Francisco Giants.