February 16, 1736
1736 Around 7 p.m., James Oglethorpe and a small group left Savannah aboard a 10-oar boat for St. Simons Island. At around 11 p.m., they landed on Skidaway Island, where they ate a meal and then slept on the ground in their clothes with only a single blanket for warmth.
February 16, 1757
1757 Henry Ellis arrived in Savannah to replace John Reynolds as royal governor. His predecessor had been extremely unpopular with the colonists, and Ellis inherited a lot of resentment toward the office of royal governor. Thanks to his tact and leadership, Ellis soon earned the respect and backing of most Georgians. He realized the major problems facing the colony -- need for better defense, more colonists, and better sources of wealth -- and worked diligently to address them. But despite being popular with the colonists, Ellis was not happy in Georgia -- primarily because of the suffocating heat, which often left him in poor health. Despite having visited equatorial Africa, Ellis believed the heat in Savannah to be worse than any place on earth, even publishing an article -- "An Account of the Heats and Weather in Georgia" in London Magazine. Because of his inability to abide the Georgia weather, Ellis was replaced as royal governor by James Wright in October 1760. Despite his short tenure in the colony, Ellis was a significant factor in restoring colonial support in Georgia for royal government. After leaving Georgia, Ellis traveled extensively. He died in Naples Italy on Jan. 27, 1806.
February 16, 1854
1854 Gov. Herschel Johnson signed legislation creating Clay County as Georgia’s 110th county. Created from portions of Early and Randolph counties, the new county was for U.S. Sen. Henry Clay, principal author of the Compromise of 1850.
February 16, 1854
1854 Gov. Johnson signed legislation providing for the binding out of free blacks between the ages of 5 and 21 until they reach the age of 21 upon evidence from two or more "respectable persons" that such youths were not being raised "in a becoming and proper manner."
February 16, 1854
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved by the governor on Feb. 16:
1854 Conyers (then Newton, now Rockdale County) and Roswell (then Cobb, now Fulton County)
February 16, 1856
1856 Gov. Herschel Johnson signed legislation creating Terrell County as Georgia’s 114th county. Created from portions of Lee and Randolph counties, the new county was named for former Georgia congressman William Terrell.
February 16, 1936
1936 Politician Joe Frank Harris was born in Cartersville, Georgia. After obtaining a degree in business administration from the University of Georgia in 1958, Harris served in the U.S Army, both on active duty and as a reserve, through 1964. In 1965 he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives from his home district of Bartow County. In 1975, Harris became chairman of the House appropriations committee, continuing to serve in the House until his election as governor in the fall of 1982. Harris served two terms as governor, from 1983-1991. His administration was noted promotion of economic development and passage of the Quality Basic Education Act.
February 16, 1953
1953 In the franchise’s first year in Milwaukee, the Braves traded Rocky Bridges to the Cincinnati Reds for first baseman Joe Adcock.
February 16, 1973
1973 Weems Baskin, Wayman Creel, Howell Hollis, and John Mize were inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
February 16, 1978
1978 The "Expelled Because of Their Color" statue was unveiled on the grounds of Georgia’s state capitol. The ceremony took place on the second annual Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials Day.
February 16, 1980
1980 Tommy Aaron, Maxie Baughan, Zeke Bratkowski, Edith McGuire Duvall, John Hyder, Garland Pinholster, Boyd McWhorter, Ralph Metcalfe, and Sherrod (Sherry) Smith were inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
February 16, 1985
1985 John Donaldson, Leonidas Epps, William Goodloe, Watts Gunn, Jake Hines, Fred Hooper, Phil Niekro and Billy Shaw were inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
February 16, 2002
2002 Bodies were discovered on the grounds of the Tri-State Crematorium in Walker County, GA. As the investigation widened, hundred more bodies were found and the owner arrested. The bodies had been delivered to him for cremation, but the incinerator he used for that purpose had broken and he reportedly could not afford to fix it, but had still been taking money for cremations, and returning people dust in jars.