June 15, 1215
1215 At Runnymeade in southern England, King John signed the Magna Carta, which became a fundamental document in the development of English, British, and American constitutional government.
June 15, 1740
1740 In the early morning hours, Spanish forces from the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine took the offensive after a combined force under James Oglethorpe had laid siege to the fort. Although Oglethorpe had cautioned his forces to stay vigilant and never spend more than one night in any place, some of his forces had set up tents two miles from the Castillo in Fort Mose -- a fort formerly manned by black Spanish soldiers. Oglethorpe’s men were caught by surprise, with 68 killed and 34 taken prisoner -- the most costly battle in Oglethorpe’s entire St. Augustine campaign.
June 15, 1775
1775 The Second Continental Congress unanimously named George Washington commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
June 15, 1804
1804 The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- providing for separate voting for president and vice president -- was declared ratified. Georgia had ratified the amendment on May 19, 1804.
June 15, 1826
1826 Lawyer and Civil War-era humorist Charles Henry Smith (Bill Arp) was born in Lawrenceville, Ga. He later attended the University of Georgia and studied law under a judge. In 1851, Smith moved to Rome, Ga. Thereafter, he served on the Rome city council and later as mayor. During the Civil War, he performed special judicial service for the Confederacy in Macon, after serving briefly as a soldier. Of his military career he said he "succeeded in killing about as many of them as they of me." His political career also included a term in the Georgia Senate. Though an attorney, Smith became famous for a series of more than 2,000 humorous newspaper columns about life in the South by a backwoods philosopher known as Bill Arp. His columns, written in the form of letters, were eventually collected into six books; he also penned a textbook on Georgia history. Smith worked closely with Henry Grady while Grady edited a Rome newspaper, the two remained friends for life. By the time of his death on Aug. 24, 1903 in Cartersville, "Bill Arp" was one of the best known and loved writers in the South.
June 15, 1864
1864 The body of Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk, who had been killed by Union artillery fire the previous day atop Pine Mountain near Marietta, arrived early morning at the Atlanta railroad depot. From here, his body was taken to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where dressed in his Confederate uniform, Polk’s body laid in state at the front of the altar. The funeral service was held at noon, after which his personal staff and a delegation of Confederate officers and Atlanta citizens escorted Polk’s coffin to the railroad depot, where it was carried to Augusta for final services and burial in the chancel of St. Paul’s Church.
June 15, 1877
1877 Georgian Henry O. Flipper became the first black to graduate from West Point Military Academy. Flipper was born a slave in Thomasville, Ga. sometime in the mid- to late-1850s.
June 15, 1928
1928 At age 41, Ty Cobb stole home as part of a triple steal, helping Detroit to a 12-5 win over Cleveland. This would mark Cobb’s 50th and final home steal -- also extending his major league record.
June 15, 1954
1954 Former Georgia governor Zell Miller characterized her as a "blind country soul singer from Grovetown, Georgia, whose smokey, bluesy, velvet-throated voice has been described as the deepest alto in music." Whatever, Terri Gibbs, winner of countless recording awards and most noted for her 1981 national hit "Somebody’s Knockin", was born on this day.
June 15, 1954
1954 Coretta Scott King graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with a bachelor of music education degree.
June 15, 1955
1955 At age 22, Georgia power lifter Paul Anderson stunned a Moscow audience with his performance in the first weightlifting competition solely between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. Anderson would go on to gain fame as "the world’s strongest man."
June 15, 1974
1974 Georgian Ray Stevens’ recording of "The Streak" hit the top of the British singles pop chart.