June 20, 1661
1661 On this day, a fleet of canoes carrying Westo, or Chichimeco, Indian raiders descended the Altamaha River to attack and destroy the Guale mission of Santo Domingo de Talaje near present-day Darien, Ga. The survivors from the mission fled to Sapelo Island and later re-established their town on the north end of St. Simons Island. The Westo/Chichimeco, armed with muskets from Virginia and later South Carolina, preyed for the next two decades on Georgia missions and other villages in the interior in search of Indian slaves they could capture and sell to the English. [Contributed by Dr. John Worth, The Coosawattee Foundation]
June 20, 1732
1732 Although Georgia’s Charter of 1732 was dated June 9, final signing by the various officials, bureaus, and councils in the British government were completed on this date, which is considered the charter’s official date of promulgation.
June 20, 1740
1740 During the siege of St. Augustine, James Oglethorpe sent an ultimatum to Florida Gov. Manuel de Montiano to surrender the town and its Castillo de San Marcos fortress. From Anastasia Island in the harbor, Oglethorpe’s artillery began a bombardment of the town and fort, which Spanish artillerey in the fortress returned.
June 20, 1770
1770 Famous antebellum educator Moses Waddel was born in Rowan County, North Carolina. With an aptitude for learning at an early age, he became a schoolmaster in South Carolina at age 14. He subsequently moved to Georgia, where he opened a school near Greensboro in 1788. He graduated from Sydney College in Virginia in 1791 and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Waddel returned to teach in Georgia, where one of his students was future U.S. Treasury Secretary and presidential candidate William H. Crawford. In 1795, Waddel married the sister of John C. Calhoun and moved to South Carolina, where he taught her brother and future U.S. vice president. An academy that he opened in the early 1800s soon gained national attention, and in 1819 Waddel was offered the presidency of the University of Georgia. Arriving to take over the helm, Waddel was shocked to discover that the "university" consists of one faculty member and seven students. Though he served as president for only a decade, the university grew rapidly under Waddel’s leadership. Resigning in 1829, he moved to South Carolina. After a stroke in 1836, he returned to Athens to live with his son, who taught at the university. Moses Waddel died in 1840.
June 20, 1773
1773 Noted antebellum Georgia politician Peter Early was born in Culpeper County, Virginia. Accompanying his parents to Georgia in the early 1790s, Early became a lawyer in Oglethorpe County in 1795. Five years later, he moved to Greene County and continued his law practice. Subsequently, Early was elected to Congress, where he served 3 years. He returned to Georgia to become a judge, and then was elected governor in the midst of the War of 1812. Defeated in a bid for reelection, he was elected to the state senate in 1816 but died the next year. Two years later, the legislature named a new county for him.
June 20, 1793
1793 Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his new invention, the cotton gin. The patent was granted in March 1794, and Whitney and a partner began manufacturing gins. Their invention was very successful, but their business sense was not. Instead of outright sale of gins, they proposed a fee system where planters paid Whitney’s partnership the equivalent of 40 percent of the cotton ginned. Planters balked, and because the cotton gin was of fairly simple design, other companies began offering copies. The partnership failed, but the cotton gin went on to change history.
June 20, 1819
1819 After a 29-day voyage, the Savannah steamed into Liverpool, England becoming the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. With smoke billowing from its stacks, the Savannah sailed from its namesake city in Georgia on May 22. Once at sea, however, most of the voyage would be made under sail, as the ship’s supply of fuel (coal and wood) was exhausted after 105 hours of steam power.
June 20, 1928
1928 - Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Warm Springs, Ga. for a brief, one day visit to his "second home." This was his twelfth overall visit to Georgia.
June 20, 1933
1933 State highway department employees were paid for the first time in three months following a military order by Gov. Eugene Talmadge. Deposed highway department chairman J.W. Barnett promised to challenge Talmadge’s actions in court.
June 20, 2002
2002 The White House announced that two people with Georgia ties were among the 12 winners of the 2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Atlanta Braves baseball great Hank Aaron is being honored--not just for his baseball accomplishments but because he was able to achieve to do so despite "frequent encounters with racism throughout his career." Also honored was Dr. D.A. Henderson, a scientist at Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who led the worldwide efforts of the World Health Organization to eliminate smallpox. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, which recognizes distinguished service, is the highest honor an American civilian can receive from the United States.