August 25, 1737
1737 While in London, James Oglethorpe was commissioned as "Colonel of the Regiment of Foot for the Defence of His Majesty’s Plantations in America." This commission has caused some confusion, for two months earlier--on June 19--Prime Minister Horace Walpole had granted Oglethorpe a commission as "General and Commander in Chief of all and singular his Majesty’s provinces of South Carolina and Georgia in America; and likewise to be Captain of that Independent Company of Foot doing Duty in his Majesty’s said Province of South Carolina." Was Oglethorpe a colonel or a general? The answer is that the designation of "general and commander in chief" was not a military rank in the British Army but rather a temporary field title. In February 1737, Oglethorpe had declined Walpole’s offer of the governorship of South Carolina (which would have forced him to resign his seat in Parliament). Still, Oglethorpe needed some type of legal authority if he was to direct South Carolina forces in the defense of Georgia. In essence, the "general and commander in chief" designation was a political compromise to give Oglethorpe temporary authority over South Carolina forces in the face of a threatened Spanish invasion. His subsequent August 25 commission as a colonel in the British Army, however, was a true military rank that authorized him to raise and command his own regiment. In 1743, after repulsing the Spanish invasion of St. Simons Island, Oglethorpe was promoted to the military rank of brigadier general.
August 25, 1827
1827 Martha Lumpkin, youngest daughter of future-governor Wilson Lumpkin (1831-35), was born. Lumpkin was instrumental in establishment of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which had its southern terminus in DeKalb County at the site that would one day become Atlanta. First named Terminus, the small but growing town was incorporated on Dec. 23, 1843 and named Marthasville in honor of ex-governor Lumpkin’s daughter.
August 25, 1864
1864 The artillery bombardment of Atlanta ceased. That night Union troops north of the city quietly withdrew from their network of trenches and fortifications.
August 25, 1877
1877 After six weeks of deliberation, delegates at a convention in Atlanta completed work on a new post-Reconstruction constitution for Georgia and approve the Constitution of 1877. On the following Dec. 5, voters of the state ratify the new constitution by almost by a vote of almost three to one. In their efforts to prevent future abuses such as occurred during Reconstruction, delegates framed the most conservative constitution in the state’s history--one which tightly constrained what state government could do.
August 25, 1913
1913 Walt Kelly, creator of the Okefenokee Swamp comic strip character Pogo, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
August 25, 1913
1913 This marked the twenty-fifth, and final, day in the trial of Leo Frank. Prosecutor Hugh Dorsey ended his concluding argument, which had taken parts of three days. The defense then argued that Frank was the latest in a long line of Jews who were persecuted for their religious beliefs, and again asserted that Jim Conley was the true murderer. Conley, and many other prosecution witnesses, had shady characters, while Leo Frank had been a pillar of the community with many well-respected people, plus many of his employees, testifying on his behalf. If the case came down to Leo Frank’s word against Jim Conley’s, then it was obvious who should be believed. After hearing their instructions from Judge L.S. Roan, the jury retired to ponder the verdict. At 4:55 p.m., they returned and announced their decision -- guilty! Neither Frank nor his family or lead attorneys were present in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Reportedly Judge Roan had feared mob violence should Frank have been acquitted. When told of the verdict, Frank re-asserted his complete innocence, saying the jury had been influenced by mob law. Undoubtedly, he was right on both counts. Although Leo Frank’s innocence can never be established with 100 percent certainty, based on what is now known about the case, the overwhelming consensus of expert opinion is that in a miscarriage of justice, a Fulton County jury convicted an innocent man of the death of Mary Phagan. Click here for a detailed accounting of the case.
August 25, 1933
1933 Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, responding to to Governor Eugene Talmadge’s attacks upon him, accused the governor of "obstructive tactics" regarding President Roosevelt’s depression recovery programs. Ten million dollars had been earmarked for improving Georgia’s road, but the appropriation was held up because Talmadge had fired two members of the highway board and declared martial law when a federal supervisor was appointed to oversee the $10 million grant. Vinson accused Talmadge of trying to "twist the highway matter to suit his own political ends."
August 25, 1942
1942 Ninth District Congressman Nathan Deal was born in Millen, Georgia. After graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law in 1966, he served two years as a captain in the U.S. Army. In 1981 he was elected to the Georgia Senate, where he served until 1992. In November 1992, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.