Peter Early

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Peter Early
28th Governor of Georgia
In office
November 5, 1813 – November 20, 1815
Preceded by David Brydie Mitchell
Succeeded by David Brydie Mitchell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large district
In office
January 10, 1803 – March 3, 1807
Preceded by John Milledge
Succeeded by Howell Cobb
Personal details
Born Peter Early
(1773-06-20)June 20, 1773
Madison, Colony of Virginia, British America
Died August 15, 1817(1817-08-15) (aged 44)
Scull Shoals, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican Party
Alma mater Washington and Lee University
Princeton University

Peter Early (June 20, 1773 – August 15, 1817) was an American lawyer, jurist and politician.

Early life[edit]

He was born near Madison in the Colony of Virginia, in 1773, the son of Joel Early and Lucy Smith. His cousin, Jubal Early, was the grandfather of Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early (1816–1894). Peter Early graduated from the Lexington Academy (current-day Washington and Lee University). He later graduated from Princeton College, in 1792. His family moved to Wilkes County, Georgia, that same year; however, Early was studying law with Jared Ingersoll in Philadelphia.

After finishing his legal studies, Peter Early joined his family in Wilkes County, married Ann Adams Smith in 1793, and in 1796 began his law practice in Washington, Georgia. Sister Lucy Early married Charles Lewis Mathews.[1]

Political life[edit]

Early was elected as a Representative from Georgia to the 8th United States Congress to serve the remainder of the term left vacant by the resignation of John Milledge, and he was re-elected to the 9th Congress. During his congressional service, Early was one of the managers of the prosecution in the impeachment trials against John Pickering, New Hampshire United States District Court judge, in January 1804 and Samuel Chase, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, in December of that year. Early did not seek re-election in 1806.

After his congressional service,[2] Early was elected by the Georgia General Assembly as judge of the Superior Court, Ocmulgee Circuit, and presided over that court from 1807 until 1813. The respect and popularity he gained from his service on the bench propelled him to be elected the 28th Governor of Georgia in 1813. He served one term, through 1815, during which he was instrumental in committing funds on several occasions from the state treasury to help raise and supply additional troops from Georgia to the American military forces during the latter half of the War of 1812.[3]

Early moved to Greene County after his gubernatorial term, where he was elected to the Georgia Senate.

Death and legacy[edit]

During his term in the Georgia Senate, Peter Early died on August 15, 1817, at his summer home near Scull Shoals in Greene County and was buried on the west bank of the Oconee River near his Fontenoy Plantation home,[4] with a simple monument to mark his grave.

In 1914, his family had his remains reinterred in the Greensboro City Cemetery.

Early County, Georgia, [5] and Fort Early[6] were named in his honor.


  1. ^ Patrick, Rembert W. (2010). Florida Fiasco: Rampant Rebels on the Georgia-Florida Border, 1810-1815. University of Georgia Press, 2010. ISBN 0820335495, 9780820335490
  2. ^ Early, Peter. "Letter, 1806 Apr. 19, Washington City, [to] Governor [John] Milledge / Peter Early". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  3. ^ Early, Peter. "[Letter], 1813 Nov. [to] Gen[era]l [David B.?] Mitchell / Peter Early". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Governor Peter Early historical marker". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 112. 
  6. ^ "Fort Early historical marker". Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 


External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Milledge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large congressional district

January 10, 1803 – March 3, 1807
Succeeded by
Howell Cobb
Political offices
Preceded by
David Brydie Mitchell
Governor of Georgia
November 5, 1813 – November 20, 1815
Succeeded by
David Brydie Mitchell