June 19, 1717
1717 The Carolina Proprietors granted Sir Robert Montgomery the territory between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers to create a new province which he proposed be named the Margravate of Azilia (a "margravate" was a military colony along the German border). However, Montgomery was unable to raise money or colonists for Azilia, and his plans for a buffer colony on Carolina’s southern frontier died.
June 19, 1732
1732 At age 70, Lady Eleanor Wall Oglethorpe died in London. She was born in 1661 in Ireland, but at age 17 became a maid to Madam Carwell in the court of Charles II of England. In 1680, Eleanor -- or Ellen, as she was known -- became head laundress to the king. In her new post, she was given lodging at the rear of the palace -- opposite the quarters of a young major in the Dragoons, Theophilus Oglethorpe. Before year’s end, the two were married. Their union produced a series of ten sons and daughters beginning with Lewis in 1682 and ending with James Edward in 1696. After the death of Charles II and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Theophilus and Ellen went to France to be with the deposed James II. By 1696, however, they reconciled with England’s new monarchs -- William and Mary -- and returned to live permanently in their Surrey County estate in Godalming. At the time of Sir Theophilus’ death on April 10, 1702, Ellen was left to raise the seven Oglethorpe children (though some of the daughters continued to live as Jacobites in Framce. In Ellen’s final years, all of her children were dead or in France except for James Edward, who alone was left to care for his mother (perhaps a reason why he remained unmarried). Her death, however, changed the life of her 35-year-old son, who by now was a member of Parliament. Now he quickly devoted his life to making Georgia a reality. In the fall of 1732, James decided to personally lead the first shipload of colonists to America -- and the rest is history. Had Lady Oglethorpe lived but five months longer, James likely would not have been aboard the Anne with the first colonists. Without James Oglethorpe present to lead (and often personally finance) the colony, who knows how Georgia history would read today?
June 19, 1786
1786 American Revolution general Nathanael Greene died at his Mulberry Grove plantation near Savannah. Eight months earlier, Greene and wife Catharine had taken residence at the plantation, which was a gift from the Georgia legislature in appreciation for his victorious campaign against British forces in the southern theater of war. Unfortunately, at age 44, General Greene died from overexposure to the Georgia sun. In a second tribute to the war hero, the Georgia legislature created Greene County in 1786. In one sense, Nathaniel Greene’s death would lead to the Civil War. In 1792, his widow, Catharine, hired a young New Englander named Eli Whitney to tutor her children at Mulberry Grove, where he invented the cotton gin, which made growing short-fiber cotton possible, which led to the growth of cotton plantations and farms throughout the South, which led to a growing need for slaves, which intensified sectionalism and ultimately split the nation.
June 19, 1843
1843 Georgia’s Whig party held its first state convention in Milledgeville. With John M. Berrien presiding, delegates nominated George Crawford as Whig candidate for governor and voted to send ten delegates to the national Whig convention scheduled to meet in May 1844 in Baltimore, Md.
June 19, 1864
1864 Johnston pulled Confederate forces back from Pine Mountain and Lost Mountain toward Marietta. For the third week, heavy rains and Johnston’s policy of strategic retreats had avoided a major battle during this phase of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. Still, heavy skirmishes between Union and Confederate troops were taking place daily. That fighting could be deadly is indicated by the following account of fighting near Marietta on June 19 in a letter Georgian A.J. Neal wrote to his father the next day:
"To give you some idea of how steady and close was the fire, our flag that floated from our parapet had thirty-one holes through it. The flagstaff, no much larger than my thumb, was hit seven times. The trees behind us were riddled with balls. On one little sapling, I counted about eight balls on the body. The face of the [field artillery] pieces, upper part of axles and wheels have hundreds of marks made by balls shot through the embrasures of the works, while our canteens, blankets, &c just in rear of the portholes were shot to pieces. . . .
"The artillery fire was bad, as the Yankee batteries could not seem me or the smoke of my guns, as the rain poured down all day. . . . Our loss along the line was light, about fifty captured and one hundred killed and wounded. . . . About night I received orders to get away as quickly and quietly as possible, and I am certain I never obeyed any thing with more cheerfulness and alacrity. . . ."
June 19, 1877
1877 Veteran motion picture actor Charles Coburn was born in Macon, Georgia. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to Savannah [which is why some sources incorrectly cite Savannah as the city of his birth]. Here, Coburn attended the Massie School and became involved with the Savannah Theater. Star of over 40 films, Coburn won the Academy Award in 1941 as best supporting actor in "The Devil and Miss Jones." A proponent of professional training for actors and actresses, he spent the summer of 1941 lecturing on the art of acting at UCLA. During the 1950s, Coburn performed on radio and television, while continuing his theatrical and film roles. Throughout his career, Coburn exhibited his versatility by playing a wide range of roles, ultimately becoming one of the most respected actors of his generation. Coburn died in New York August 30, 1961. The Charles Coburn Manuscript Collection, composed of his personal papers and photographs, is housed at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
June 19, 1933
1933 With a civil court withholding the dispersement of $2.5 million in state highway funds, Governor Eugene Talmadge declared martial law over the state highway department, the comptroller general’s office, the state treasurer, the secretary of state, and the office of the supervisor of purchases.
June 19, 1939
1939 A new Atlanta city ordinance went into effect making pinball machines illegal in the city limits.
June 19, 1971
1971 A civil rights lawsuit was filed today in Columbus, Ga. alleging racial discrimination against the city for the firing of seven black police officers on June 1. Also today, Hosea Williams led a Southern Christian Leadership Conference protest march in Columbus, which turned violent with 19 different buildings set afire. Mayor J.R. Allen declared a state of emergency in Columbus.