Georgia Politics And The American Revolution 4

picture of the three signers of the Georgia signers of The Declaration of Independence

The Georgia Signers

There were three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia. These were George Walton, Lyman Hall, and Button Gwinnett.

Button Gwinnett’s signature is at the top of the first column of signatures on the bottom left of the Declaration.  His signature is one of the most sought after of all the men who were there. Gwinnett was a leader of the radical faction of the Whigs. The other Whig faction was not as enthusiastic for American independence. Those loyalists who favored British rule were called Tories.

Button Gwinnett was killed in a duel by his political enemy, Lachlan McIntosh, in May, 1777.  Both men were wounded in the duel, but McIntosh recovered and Gwinnett died three days later. His early demise less than a year after the signing has made his signature very valuable, and it may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in today’s market.

picture of the Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Gwinnett’s second in the famous duel was my ancestor, George Wells. He was a leader of the radical Whig faction. In early 1780 as president of the executive council, Wells acted as governor when Richard Howley, Governor, and George Walton traveled to Philadelphia as representatives to the Continental Congress.

picture of Button Gwinett

Button Gwinett

George Wells was killed in a duel on February 15, 1780 by a political enemy, Major James Jackson. The politics in Georgia during the Revolution were dirty and dangerous. The leaders of the radical Whig faction, Gwinnett and Wells, although killed in duels, had a lasting effect on democratic rule in the State of Georgia.

At one time, there were three state governments in Georgia. The Tories (Loyalists) convened in Savannah, and the Whigs, of which there were two factions, convened in Augusta. It was a confusing time, and choosing the winning side could be a hazard to your health.

Gwinnett County, Georgia was named for Button Gwinnett. It is in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.

4 comments

  1. I don’t know what my ancestors were doing during this time in American history. Some of these ancestors lived up in the hills of East Tennessee, and others lived in Pennsylvania Dutch country. All were literate, and during my lifetime, I was amazed at just how much my maternal grandmother knew about our Founding documents. She could recite so much from them from memory — and knew the meaning too.

    Happy 4th to you, Bob!

  2. Those folks in East Tennnessee knew what was what. After the Revolution, they seceeded from North Carolina and established their own government,The State of Franklin, in the Johnson City area. The Continental Congress actually considered it for statehood, but it lost by two votes.

  3. My Dad was heavily into genealogy, but I never took a real interest in it. Now that I am an older person, I am taking an interest, but more from an historical viewpoint. It is interesting to me what was going on around my ancestors. Thanks for the comment.

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