May 4, 1782
1782 The Georgia legislature passed an act that identified 280 loyalists who had sided with the British during the Revolution, confiscated their estates, and banished them from Georgia.
May 4, 1789
1789 A convention assembled in the Augusta city hall to consider amendment and final approval of a new constitution for Georgia -- one that had been drafted by earlier conventions in Nov. 1788 and Jan. 1789. The new constitution was necessitated by the weak executive provided for in the Constitution of 1777, as well as to bring Georgia’s state constitution more in line with the new federal constitution.
May 4, 1801
1801 Politician George Washington Towns was born in Wilkes County, Ga. He studied and practiced law briefly in Alabama before returning to Georgia in 1826. He served two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and one in the Georgia Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1835. Here he served two terms, acting as an advocate for military readiness, particularly in regards to Texas, and for the removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia. He spent most of the next decade practicing law before being elected to Congress again in 1846. In 1847, Georgia Democrats nominated Towns for governor; he was elected and served two consecutive terms. As governor he fought for reforms in the slave code, completing the Western and Atlantic Railroad, and using state revenue to support public schools. Towns was deeply disturbed by the growing abolitionist movement, and called for a state convention to respond to the Compromise of 1850. By this time, Towns believed secession was the only resort, but this convention (unlike the one eleven years later) was controlled by Unionists. They rejected Towns’ call for secession but did pass the Georgia Platform, which stated that Georgia was unhappy with certain aspects of the Compromise of 1850, but still urged its acceptance. After his second term as governor, Towns retired to a home in Macon, where his health rapidly declined. He died in Macon on July 15, 1854. On March 6, 1856, the Georgia General Assembly named a new county in north Georgia in his honor.
May 4, 1864
1864 Final preparations for Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign were made as 100,000 Union soldiers in the Chattanooga, Tenn. area prepared to march into Georgia.
May 4, 1865
1865 Union Col. B. B. Eggleston of the First Ohio Cavalry received the surrender of Confederate and state troops in Atlanta from Confedate post commander Lt. Col. L. J. Glenn. [This is not the Egleston who would later fund an Atlanta hospital.]
May 4, 1865
1865 Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis and several members of his cabinet members held their last meeting in Washington, Ga. Afterwards, Davis and a small party left town headed for south Georgia -- and ultimately Texas, where he hoped to continue the Civil War until a peace acceptable to the South could be negotiated.
May 4, 1973
1973 Led Zeppelin opened their 1973 U.S. tour in Atlanta before a crowd of nearly 50,000 in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The 34-concert tour was described by promoters as the "biggest and most profitable rock and roll tour in the history of the United States."
May 4, 1989
1989 In Augusta, testimony began in the murder trial of Savannah antique dealer Jim Williams, who was charged with murder for shooting Danny Lewis Hansford. Williams had been convicted in two trials, but had appealed and received new ones; the third ended in a mistrial. In this fourth trial, he would be acquitted. The story of the shooting and trials would lead author John Berendt to write Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was printed in Jan. 1994 and quickly became a best-seller, inspiring a movie by the same name.