George Galphin

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George Galphin
Born George Galphin
Antrim, Ireland
Died December 1780 (aged 70–71)
Silver Bluff, South Carolina
Occupation Indian trader
Indian commissioner
Years active 1737-1781
Employer Brown, Rae, & Co.
Military career
Rank Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Wars American Revolution

George Galphin (1708–1780) was an American businessman specializing in Indian Trade, an Indian Commissioner, and plantation owner who lived and conducted business in the colonies of Georgia and South Carolina, primarily around the area known today as Augusta, Georgia.

Early life[edit]

Galphin was born in Ireland in the early 18th century to Barbara and Thomas Galphin, a linen weaver by trade.[1] Galphin came to America in 1737, arriving at the port of Charleston, South Carolina. In the 1740s, Galphin found work from Brown, Rae, and Company, a trading firm based out of Augusta.[1][2]

Indian trader[edit]

George Galphin became a highly respected trader among the Lower Creek tribes in the Georgia and South Carolina region within a few years of arriving in America. Eventually he came to own the Silver Bluff trading post. In the 1760s he was involved in a project with fellow trader John Rae encouraging Irish immigration to the region. On the Georgia side of the Savannah River, these immigrants were encouraged to move onto a 50,000-acre (200 km2) tract of land called Queensborough.

Revolutionary War service[edit]

During the American Revolution Galphin sided with the Continental Congress, serving as one of its Indian Commissioners for the South.[1] On May 1, 1776, the Creek Nation met as a whole with Galphin, who convinced the Creeks to remain neutral in the burgeoning conflict between the British and the revolutionaries. This successfully frustrated the efforts of the British to enlist sufficient Native American support throughout the South to overpower the comparatively small colonist population.[1][3] Henry Laurens credited Galphin for helping to secure both Georgia and South Carolina for the Revolution.[1]


Following his death in 1780, his estate became involved in protracted litigation. On November 23, 1792, William Dunbar, Galphin estate executor and assistant to Galphin during the Revolution, petitioned Congress on behalf of the Galphin estate for compensation for services rendered as Commissioner of Indian Affairs; the Senate declined to refer the petition to committee. His estate was at dispute in Milligan v. Milledge.[4] The estate eventually became the center of the Galphin Affair political scandal involving prominent political figures such as George W. Crawford.


  1. ^ a b c d e Morris, Michael P. (19 April 2006). "Galphin, George". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Morris, Michael (2002). "George Galphin: Portrait of an Early South Carolina Entrepreneur" (PDF). Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association. Columbia, South Carolina: South Carolina Historical Association: 29–44. Retrieved 23 March 2017 – via South Carolina State Library Digital Collections. 
  3. ^ Worthy, Larry. "The Creek Indians of Georgia, pt. II". Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  4. ^ 7 U. S. 220 (1805)