John Milton (Georgia politician)
John Milton (c. 1740/1757–1817) was a Revolutionary War officer from a family of settlers in North Carolina who became a Colonial-era political figure that played a prominent role in the establishment and growth of the state of Georgia. Milton was the Secretary of State of Georgia from 1777 to 1799. Milton is the grandfather of Florida governor John Milton and was the recipient of the votes of two Georgia electors in the first presidential election. Milton was one of Georgia's five Presidential electors in 1789. John Milton was a signer to Georgia's ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Milton was born in Halifax County, North Carolina. He joined the Continental Army as an ensign in the 1st Georgia Regiment, Jan. 7, 1776; was promoted 1st lieutenant, and was taken prisoner at Fort Howe, Georgia, in February 1777, with Lieut. William Caldwell, on the surrender of that place, held as a hostage and imprisoned in the castle at St. Augustine, Florida, until November 1777. He was promoted captain, Sept. 15, 1777, and on his release returned to the army and served until the end of the war, retiring Sept. 15, 1782. He was secretary of the state of Georgia in 1777, 1781–83 and 1789, and on Dec. 6, 1778, at the approach of the British, removed the public records to Perrysburg by order of the governor. He engaged in planting after the war, and his adopted home state showed its gratitude to Milton's service with the electoral votes for John Milton in the historic first presidential election. He was a charter member of the (Georgia) Society of the Cincinnati, serving as the constituent society's first secretary. He was also one of the first mayors of Augusta, Georgia. John married Hannah E. Spencer, and of their children, Gen. Homer Virgil Milton (q.v.), was an officer in the War of 1812. His grandson, also named John Milton, served as the Governor of Florida during the Civil War. John Milton's great-great-grandson was William Hall Milton, United States Senator from Florida.
Milton's legacy as a Georgia founding father led to the naming of a county after him. Milton County, Georgia was named for John Milton. The county was formed in 1857. Milton County, with a population of 6,730 in 1930, merged with Fulton County on January 1, 1932, through an act of the state legislature. In 2010 there was an effort to revive Milton County by separating portions of Fulton County.
John Milton has recently been honored again by the formation of a new municipality in Georgia. The City of Milton, Georgia was formed in 2006 by an act of the Georgia Legislature, signed by Governor Sonny Purdue. The City of Milton mentions its namesake on its website: "Named after Revolutionary War Hero John Milton, the City of Milton is a part of Fulton County with County Commission representation."
- Full text of "Georgia's Roster of the Revolution, Containing a List of the States Defenders; Officers and Men; Soldiers and Sailors; Partisans and Regulars; Whether Enlisted from Georgia or Settled in Georgia after the Close of Hostilities", accessed November 22, 2015.
- "U. S. Electoral College: Historical Election Results 1789-1996", National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved November 21, 2015. John Milton received two electoral college votes in the first U.S. presidential election.
- E. M. Coulter, 1926. "Minutes of the Georgia convention ratifying the federal constitution". The Georgia Historical Quarterly 10 (3): 225.
- Caroline Matheny Dillman, "Milton County", New Georgia Encyclopedia, August 29, 2013, accessed March 19, 2016.
- Col John Milton, Obituary. Newspaper Extractions from the Northeast, 1704-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Citation includes the following: Name: Col John Milton; Birth Year: abt. 1756; Event: Death Death; Date: Abt. 1817; Death Place: Burks Co, Georgia; Age at Death: 61; Newspaper: Columbian Centinel [sic]; Publication Date: 6 Dec 1817; Publication Place: Massachusetts, USA; Call Number: 485704.
- "Georgia History Timeline / Chronology 1792/John Milton". Retrieved November 20, 2015. John Milton Elected Mayor of Augusta.
- John Adams, Warrior at Heart: Governor John Milton, King Cotton, and Rebel Florida 1860–1865, EBooks ed. (Altona, MB, Canada: FriesenPress, 2015).
- "Milton, William Hall - Biographical Information", Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, bioguide.congress.gov, accessed March 07, 2016.
- "Creating a New Milton County" Archived 2010-03-25 at the Wayback Machine, Vinson Institute of Government: University of Georgia, February 2009, accessed March 19, 2016.
- "About Milton." City of Milton, Georgia. 2006. Accessed March 19, 2016.
- Kestenbaum, Lawrence (1996–2005). "Index to Politicians: Millsap to Minehart". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2006-06-07.
- Gordon DenBoer, ed. (1984). The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 440–441. This reference is primarily concerned with Milton in the context of the 1789 presidential election.