April 8, 1771
1771 Politician William Rabun was born April 8, 1771, in North Carolina. In 1785, His family moved to Georgia, where he spent the rest of his life. Rabun began his political career in 1805 by winning election to the Georgia House of Representatives. Five years later, he was elected to the Georgia Senate, where he served as Senate President (1812-1817). When Gov. David B. Mitchell resigned to accept Pres. James Madison’s appointment as U.S. agent to the Creek Indians, Rabun automatically succeeded him as governor on March 4, 1817. Later that year, Rabun was elected to a full term as governor. Rabun’s administration was marked by increased support for free schools and improvements to the state’s internal navigation of its rivers. Through letters, Rabun also carried on an acrimonious debate with Gen. Andrew Jackson on the general’s lack of protection of Georgia against Seminole and Creek Indian attacks. After one of these attacks, Rabun sent Georgia militiamen to retaliate -- but they attacked an Indian village friendly to Jackson, thus incurring his wrath. The Georgia legislature fully supported Rabun in his disagreement with Jackson. While visiting his home in Hancock County between legislative sessions in 1819, Rabun suddenly became ill and died of a fever on October 24, 1819. Two months later, the General Assembly named a new county in his honor.
April 8, 1905
1905 Former Confederate general Cullen Andrews Battle died in Greensboro, N.C. Born June 1 1829 in Powelton, Ga., Battle became a lawyer. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the 3rd Alabama as a major, subsequently being promoted to lieutenant colonel and then colonel, serving at the battles of Seven Pines, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. In Aug. 1863, Battle was promoted to brigadier general, commanding his own brigade in Rodes’ Division in the battles of The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Third Winchester, and Cedar Creek (where he was wounded). After the war, Battle returned to the practice of law.
April 8, 1913
1913 Connecticut ratified the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, achieving approval by three-fourths of the states to complete the ratification process. As a result of this amendment, Georgia voters -- rather than the General Assembly -- would henceforth elect Georgia’s U.S. Senators.
April 8, 1942
1942 World War II hostilities came to Georgia when the German submarine U-123 sank the SS Oklahoma and Esso oil tanker Baton Rouge in a torpedo attack off St. Simons Island. A total of 22 merchant seamen -- civilians hired by the government to work on ships carrying war supplies -- were killed in the attack. The two ships were raised and towed to Brunswick for repair. After re-entering wartime service, both ships later were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean.
April 8, 1956
1956 Jack Burke Jr. beat Ken Venturi and Cary Middlecoff to win his first and only Masters Golf Tournament.
April 8, 1968
1968 Major league baseball officials postponed the opening day of baseball because of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 8, 1973
1973 Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter proclaimed this Sunday a "Day of Awareness" for the 1,328 US service men and women officially declared missing in action (MIA) in Southeast Asia.
April 8, 1974
1974 In his second at-bat of the game, Atlanta Brave outfielder Hank Aaron hit his 715th lifetime home run, eclipsing the long-standing record of Babe Ruth. Los Angeles pitcher Al Dowling surrendered the home run in the fourth inning of a game won 7-4 by the Braves. Addressing the cheering crowd afterwards Aaron simply said "I just thank God it’s all over." Babe Ruth’s widow, contacted at her New York apartment, was gracious, noting "Good for him. I’m not shocked, it doesn’t bother me; I’ve been expecting it of course." In a bit of trivia not generally known, Mrs. Ruth was born and lived her first fifteen years in Athens, Ga.
April 8, 1995
1995 Gov. Zell Miller signed an act of the General Assembly declaring Georgia to be the "Poultry Capital of the World" [see text].
April 8, 1996
1996 Gov. Zell Miller signed an act of the General Assembly designating square dancing as the official Georgia folk dance.
April 8, 1999
1999 In ceremonies at Turner Stadium to mark the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced the launching of the annual Hank Aaron Award. The award will be presented to the best offensive player of each league, as determined by home runs, hits, runs batted in, and other criteria.
April 8, 2001
2001 Tiger Woods won his second Masters Golf Tournament, beating Georgia Tech grad David Duval by two strokes. The win means that Woods held all four of golf’s major championships--the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship, and Masters--at the same time. And even though he didn’t win all four in the same year, many observers felt he still could claim the Grand Slam of professional golf.