George Walton

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George Walton
George Walton.jpg
6th & 18th Governor of Georgia
In office
November 4, 1779 – January 4, 1780
Preceded byJohn Wereat
George Handley
Succeeded byRichard Howly
Edward Telfair
United States Senator from Georgia
In office
November 16, 1795 – February 20, 1796
Preceded byJames Jackson
Succeeded byJosiah Tattnall
Personal details
Born1690 or 1770
Cumberland County, Virginia
DiedFebruary 2, 1804
Augusta, Georgia
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Martha Hughes
RelationsThe Walton family of Mississippi
Signature
Military service
Branch/serviceGeorgia Militia
RankColonel
Battles/warsAmerican Revolutionary War

George Walton (1749 or 1750–February 2, 1804) signed the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia and also served as Governor of that state.

Life and work

George Walton was born in Cumberland County, Virginia. His parents died when he was a child, 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 discourage 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 January 1780, 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 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.

Offices held

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)

In addition, Walton served as a trustee of Richmond Academy and of the University of Georgia. He was the youngest signer of the declaration at age 26. He helped fight in the battle of kettle creek. George Walton was also a Freemason and member of Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M. at Savannah.[citation needed] Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M. was established by the renowned Freemason and General James Edward Oglethorpe on February 21, 1734. Solomon's Lodge is now the "Oldest Continuously Operating English Constituted Lodge of Freemasons in the Western Hemisphere".

Death

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 reinterred in 1848 beneath the Signers Monument in front of the courthouse on Greene Street in Augusta. Walton County, east of Atlanta, is named for him. There are also at least two schools that bear his name. George Walton Comprehensive High School is a highly-regarded public school near Marietta, Georgia. George Walton Academy is a private school in Monroe, Georgia, the county seat of Walton County.

Decendants

George Walton married Martha Hughes. Their son Robert Walton married Blanche Glascock. Their son Robert Jr. married Sara Evelina Watkins. Their daughter Mary Louisa Walton married William Alexander Robertson.[1]

References

  • United States Congress. "George Walton (id: W000114)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Biography by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich, 1856

External links

Notes

Political offices
Preceded by
Colonial government
Governor of Georgia
1775
Succeeded by
Archibald Bulloch
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
U.S. 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