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George Walton


In office
November 16, 1795 – February 20, 1796
Preceded by James Jackson
Succeeded by Josiah Tattnall

Born 1749 (1749) or 1750
Cumberland County, Virginia
Died February 2, 1804 (aged 54–55)
Augusta, Georgia
Political party Whig
Relations The Walton family of North Carolina
Signature

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

Contents

Life and work

George Walton was born in Cumberland County, Virginia. His parents died when he was an infant, 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 discour 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 Scotch-Irish 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.

Walton also was colonel in the army and when he was riding his horse a cannonball was fired and it hit him in the leg. With a broken leg Walton was held captive for the British army for two years. He was exchanged for a British naval officer and released, despite his having been a signer of the Declaration, which, technically, made him a traitor to the British crown.

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 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.

References

Notes

Political offices
Preceded by
William Ewen
President of the Georgia Council of Safety
1775-1776
Succeeded by
William Ewen
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
United States Senate
Preceded by
James Jackson
United States Senator (Class 2) from Georgia
November 16, 1795 - February 20, 1796
Served alongside: James Gunn
Succeeded by
Josiah Tattnall
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