February 26, 1823
1823 Scientist and educator Joseph LeConte was born in Liberty County, Georgia. Raised on a successful plantation, LeConte had the means to pursue his love of science and literature. He graduated third in his class at the University of Georgia and earned his M.D. in New York. But it was the study of science -- not medicine -- that attracted him. When Harvard opened its Lawrence Scientific School, LeConte was easily persuaded to enroll. He was among the first four students to graduate. Upon returning to Georgia, LeConte held a teaching position at his original alma mater for six years before moving to the College (later University) of South Carolina. He and his brother John lost most of their possessions when Sherman destroyed Columbia. Radical Reconstruction in the South forced the LeConte brothers to seek employment outside the region. They were both rewarded with positions at the newly opened University of California in 1869. Here LeConte found his niche and earned an international reputation for his writings on science and religion. Altogether LeConte published 190 articles and nine books. An avid outdoorsman, he helped found the Sierra Club -- and wrote treatises on the formation of the mountains he loved to climb. His writings on race and education, and attempts to reconcile Christian beliefs with the notion of evolution, earned him acclaim as one of the nation’s leading intellectuals. He died in the Yosemite Valley of California on July 6, 1901. Later, he was remembered with the naming of LeConte Hall on the University of Georgia campus.
February 26, 1854
1854 Gov. Herschel Johnson signed an act of the General Assembly directing the governor to determine the feasibility of draining the Okefenokee Swamp. As stated in the preamble of the act, "the State of Georgia holds the title to a large tract of unimproved, and at present worse than useless land, known as the Okefenoke Swamp . . . [and] . . . in the opinion of many intelligent persons . . . said lands could be rendered so valuable by drainage as to yield a large revenue to the State." Gov. Johnson never seriously pursued the legislation's goal of draining the Okefenokee.
February 26, 1856
1856 Gov. Herschel Johnson signed legislation creating Miller County as Georgia’s 117th county. Created from portions of Baker and Early counties, the new county was named for judge and state senator Andrew J. Miller, who had died 23 days earlier after representing Richmond County in the Georgia Senate from 1837 until his death in 1856
February 26, 1856
Georgia cities and towns first incorporated by acts approved by the governor on Feb. 26:
1856 Hartwell (Hart County)
February 26, 1868
1868 A special meeting of the Atlanta city council voted to offer the combination Atlanta city hall-Fulton County courthouse for use as the new Georgia state capitol if the Constitutional Convention then meeting in Atlanta would include a provision designating Atlanta as Georgia’s new state capital city. The convention agreed, and the new Georgia constitution was subsequently ratified in a statewide election in April 1868. On July 4, 1868, the General Assembly held its first meeting in the temporary state capitol (which incidentally sat on the very site of the current state capitol). For six months, the city hall-county courthouse building served as Georgia's state capitol. In January 1869, state officials moved into the Kimball Opera House, which served as state capitol for the following twenty years.
February 26, 1877
1877 Gov. Alfred Colquitt signed legislation providing for a June 1877 election of delegates to a constitutional convention that would meet in July 1877
February 26, 1926
1926 Theodore "Tiger" Flowers won a 15-round decision over Harry Greb in New York City to become the first African American to win the world middleweight boxing championship. In a rematch the following Aug. 18, Flowers again defeated Greb in 15 rounds. Flowers lost the title on Dec. 3, 1926 in a controversial 10-round loss to Mickey Walker. Born in Camilla, Ga., Flowers (sometimes known as "The Georgia Deacon") began his professional boxing career in 1918, winning his first 29 fights. He would go to fight in 143 bouts, with 116 wins (49 by knockout), 13 loses, and 14 draws. Shortly after winning the world title in 1926, Flowers built a 20-room luxury home on Simpson St. in Atlanta. Unfortunately, he died the next year following an operation.
February 26, 1951
1951 The 22nd amendment to Constitution was ratified. Introduced in response to Franklin Roosevelt’s election to four consecutive terms as president, the amendment prohibited any person from being elected president more than twice.
February 26, 1977
1977 Red Barron, Sterling Dupree, Sam Elliott, Elmer Morrow, Peter Pund, Fran Tarkenton, and Rudy York were inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
February 26, 1996
1996 The World Champion Atlanta Braves visited the White House, where they presented Pres. Clinton a team jersey.