May 3, 1525
1525 Spaniard Pedro de Quejo piloted two ships from Hispaniola on a preliminary expedition for Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon to explore the coast of land granted Ayllon by the king of Spain. On this day, Quejo’s ships land at the mouth of the Savannah River, marking the first known time Europeans set foot on present-day Georgia.
May 3, 1765
1765 Planter Roswell King was born in Windsor, Conn. He moved to Georgia’s coast, where he became a successful planter and manager of the Pierce Butler plantation on St. Simons Island. In 1837, at the request of the Bank of Darien, King traveled to Dahlonega to visit the new U.S. mint. During the trip, he became impressed with an area of land on the north bank of the Chattahoochee River. He believed the river could be used to power mills, so King decided to begin a town, which came to bear his first name. He urged relatives and friends on the coast to join him -- and many did. Though some of Roswell’s original settlers saw this as a summer home to escape the malaria season on the coast, many stayed. With the help of his son, King established a successful cotton mill on the river. King died in Roswell on Feb. 15, 1844.
May 3, 1816
1816 Union Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs was born in Augusta, Ga. At age 16, he enrolled at West Point, graduating in 1836 fifth in his class. He soon was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers. In May 1861, Meigs was appointed brigadier general of U.S. volunteers, but more importantly, Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army. Though he held the post for 21 years, Meigs is perhaps better known for the advice he gave Lincoln in 1862. At a time of repeated Union military losses and a near-empty U.S. Treasury, Meigs advised the despondent Lincoln to take to take the initiative in the war effort. After 46 years in the Army, Meigs retired in 1882. Ten years later, he died in Washington D.C. on Jan. 2, 1892.
May 3, 1863
1863 In eastern Alabama near Rome, Ga., Confederate forces under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured a Union raiding force under Col Abel Streight. The raiders were headed for Georgia in an effort to disrupt the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was supplying Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Confederate force in northwest Georgia. Streight had sent a Union cavalry force under Capt. Russell to capture Rome, but in a story reminiscent of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, an Alabama mailman rode horseback for eleven straight hours to warn Rome of the pending attack. When the Union cavalry arrived on May 3rd, they found Rome’s civilian population armed behind barricades and ready to burn the bridges should the cavalry try to enter the city. While Russell debated whether or not to attack, Gen. Forrest’s forces arrived at Rome.With escape blocked, Russell surrendered.
May 3, 1864
1864 The 15th Wisconsin Volunteers marched southward out of McDonald’s Station, Tenn. on the road to Catoosa Springs, Georgia. The 15th Wisconsin was serving as an advance skirmish unit for the Federal Army of the Tennessee. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign had begun.
May 3, 1913
1913 Detectives investigating Mary Phagan’s murder had a new problem; two imposters posing as Pinkerton detectives had interviewed George Epps (Phagan’s friend who had reported she was afraid of Leo Frank) and Phagan’s mother.
May 3, 1933
1933 Soul-singer James Brown was born in Barnwell County, South Carolina, but he grew up in Augusta, Georgia. In the early 1950s, Brown sang with a group in Macon that became known as the Flames. In November 1955, they recorded "Please, Please, Please," which in 1956 reached number 6 on the rhythm-and-blues chart and went on to become the first of over 20 million sellers for the "godfather of soul." In 1983, James Brown was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
May 3, 1984
1984 Carlton Gary is arrested on suspicion of being the culprit in a series of murders in the Columbus area since 1977; the killer had been called the Wynnton Stock Strangler. Gary would be convicted of the murders in 1986.