May 20, 1791
1791 On his third day in Augusta, Pres. George Washington took a tour of the city and inspected the remains of British fortifications used during the Revolution. He also made a final visit to Richmond Academy, where he witnessed the examination of students and heard a speech given in honor of his visit by student (and future congressman) Augustin Clayton. Washington was so impressed that he awarded Clayton a copy of a work by ancient Roman historian Sallust.
May 20, 1794
1794 In response to former Revolutionary War general Elijah Clarke’s action in trying to create an independent government (sometimes called the Trans-Oconee Republic) on Indian land to the west of the Oconee River, Gov. Matthews ordered Georgia Militia general Jared Irwin "to direct the settlers immediately to remove."
May 20, 1820
1820 Planter and former secretary of state Horatio Marbury died in Jefferson County, Georgia. Little is known of Marbury’s early life. He came to Georgia in the early 1770s, was active in the Revolutionary War, and became a successful planter after the war. Marbury’s public career began in 1796 working in the secretary of state’s office. In 1799, the legislature elected Marbury as Georgia’s second secretary of state -- a post he would hold for twelve years under six different governors. As secretary of state he and William H. Crawford were primarily responsible for producing Georgia’s first official digest of laws. Upon retirement, Marbury returned to his plantation in Jefferson County, where he died in 1820.
May 20, 1861
1861 In North Carolina, a statewide convention adopted an Ordinance of Secession, becoming the ninth or tenth southern state to secede [depending on which date is used to mark Virginia’s secession].
May 20, 1864
1864 With Johnston’s Confederate forces having retreated across the Etowah River, Sherman decided to take a short break in order to resupply his army from Chattanooga. Thus began a three-day suspension in the Atlanta Campaign.
May 20, 1913
1913 P.A. Flak, a fingerprint expert from New York, visited the Mary Phagan crime scene with prosecutor Hugh Dorsey. Later, Flak took fingerprints from both Newt Lee and Leo Frank. C.W. Toble, the investigator from the Burns Detective Agency, said he was convinced Newt Lee was innocent of the crime.
May 20, 1916
1916 In DeKalb County, Sam Venable -- and the heirs of his brother William -- gave the United Daughters of the Confederacy a deed to the face of Stone Mountain for carving a memorial to the Confederacy. [In 1887, the two Venable brothers had purchased Stone Mountain for $48,000 from the Southern Granite Company.] At the base of the mountain, 5000 people attended dedication ceremonies were held. World War I intervened before actual work could get underway. It was not until June 3, 1923 that carving began. In 1925, sculptor Gutzon Borglum was fired over lack of progress, and Augustus Lukeman hired to complete the project. He came up with a new design in 1928, but the stock market crash of 1929 caused the project to be suspended. As a result, the deed to the face of Stone Mountain reverted to the Venable family. It would not be until 1952 that the state of Georgia purchased the mountain and surrounding land for a park, and not until 1970 that the carving was dedicated.