George Walton

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For other people named George Walton, see George Walton (disambiguation).
George Walton
George Walton.jpg
United States Senator from Georgia
In office
November 16, 1795 – February 20, 1796
Preceded by James Jackson
Succeeded by Josiah Tattnall
Acting Governor of Georgia
In office
January 7, 1789 – November 9, 1790
Preceded by George Handley
Succeeded by Edward Telfair
Personal details
Born 1749 (1749)
Cumberland County, Virginia
Died February 2, 1804 (aged 54–55)
Augusta, Georgia
Political party Democratic-Republican
Relations The Walton family of Atlanta, Georgia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Colorado; and Western North Carolina
Signature

George Walton (1749 – February 2, 1804) signed the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia and also served as the second Chief Executive of that state.

Life and work[edit]

George Walton was born in Virginia. His parents died when he was an infant, resulting in his adoption by an uncle with whom he entered apprenticeship as a carpenter. Walton was a studious young man, but his uncle actively discouraged all study, believing a studious boy to be an idle one. Walton continued studying and once his apprenticeship ended, he moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1769 to study law under a Mr. Young, and was admitted to the bar in 1774. His brother was John Walton.

He became an advocate of the patriot cause and was elected Secretary of the Georgia Provincial Congress and became president of the Council of Safety. He was elected to the Continental Congress, a position he held until the end of 1778. He was commissioned a Colonel of the First Regiment of the Georgia Militia. He was put in the battalion of General Robert Howe. During the Battle of Savannah, Walton was involved in the defense of the city. However a slave showed the British, led by Colonel Campbell, a path to the rear of the city, by which they were able to take the city, attacking from the front and the rear. Walton was injured in the battle and taken prisoner. He was freed through a prisoner exchange in 1779.

Soon after this in October 1779, Walton was elected Governor of Georgia, a position he held for only two months. In November 1795, he was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of James Jackson. Walton only served in that position from November 16, 1795, to February 20, 1796, until a successor, Josiah Tattnall, was officially elected.

He was a political ally of the Scottish General Lachlan McIntosh and a foe of Button Gwinnett. He and Gwinnett's political battles resulted in his expulsion from office and indictment for various criminal activities.

He was censured for his role in a duel which resulted in Button Gwinnett's death. He became Chief Justice of Georgia, 1783–89, Governor of Georgia in 1789, and U.S. Senator in 1795.

Walton also was colonel in the army and when he was riding his horse a cannonball was fired and it hit him in the leg. With a broken leg Walton was held captive for the British army for two years. He was exchanged for a British naval officer and released, despite his having been a signer of the Declaration, which, technically, made him a traitor to the British crown.

Offices held[edit]

The offices he held were:

  • Continental Congress (1776–78)
  • Colonel of the First Georgia Militia (1778)
  • Governor of Georgia (1779–80)
  • U.S. Congress (1780–1781)
  • Chief Justice of Georgia (1783–89)
  • Governor of Georgia (1789–90)
  • U.S. Senator (1795–96)

Death[edit]

He died in Augusta, Georgia on February 2, 1804, at his home, College Hill, near Augusta. He was initially buried at Rosney, home of his nephew Robert Watkins; however, he was re-interred in 1848 beneath the Signers Monument in front of the courthouse on Greene Street in Augusta.

Legacy[edit]

Walton County, which is about 30 miles east of the city of Atlanta, is named for him. There are also at least two schools that bear his name. George Walton Comprehensive High School in Marietta, Georgia and George Walton Academy, a private school in Monroe, Georgia.

His granddaughter, Octavia Le Vert, was a noted socialite and author.[1]

His great nephew Thomas George Walton built Creekside near Morganton, North Carolina.[2]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Satterfield, Frances Gibson (1987). Madame Le Vert: A Biography of Octavia Le Vert. Edisto Island, S.C.: Edisto Press. ISBN 978-0-9618589-1-9. 
  2. ^ John B. Wells, III (September 1971). "Creekside" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
Political offices
Preceded by
William Ewen
President of the Georgia Council of Safety
1775–1776
Succeeded by
William Ewen
Preceded by
John Wereat
Governor of Georgia
1779–1780
Succeeded by
Richard Howly
Preceded by
George Handley
Governor of Georgia
1789–1790
Succeeded by
Edward Telfair
United States Senate
Preceded by
James Jackson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
November 16, 1795 – February 20, 1796
Served alongside: James Gunn
Succeeded by
Josiah Tattnall