April in Georgia History

A number of significant historical events have occurred in Georgia during the month of April.


King George II of England signed a charter establishing the trustee colony of Georgia.


The  Georgia Trustees ceded control of the colony to the British crown, after twenty years of rule.

Much of Fort Frederica, established by James Oglethorpe on St. Simons Island, burned down.

The first annual conference of Methodists in Georgia was held near Elberton.


Creek leader William McIntosh was killed by fellow Creeks at his plantation, Lockchau Talofau, in present-day Carroll County. This occurred after he negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs, which ceded remaining Creek lands to the state of Georgia.

The first coins were issued from the Branch Mint at Dahlonega.


During the Civil War, Fort Pulaski fell to Union forces, and Union spy James Andrews incited a seven-hour locomotive chase, later known as the Andrews Raid.
Susie King Taylor and other African Americans fled to St. Simons Island, which was under the control of Union troops. There, Taylor organized the state's first freely operating freedmen's school.

Women in Columbus, desperate for food as a result of wartime shortages, looted several stores in what became known as a "bread riot."

Wilson's Raid, near the end of the war, resulted in the surrender of both Columbus and Macon to Union troops. That same month, a female military unit called the Nancy Harts surrendered LaGrange to Union troops.

Spelman College was founded in the basement of Atlanta's Friendship Baptist Church.

The federal government requested that Georgia supply 3,000 troops for military campaigns during the Spanish-American War.


Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois was published.

Georgia native Archibald Butt, a military aide to U.S. president William Howard Taft, died aboard the Titanic after delivering a message from the president to Catholic pope Pius X at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.

The Georgia Old Time Fiddlers' Convention was held in Atlanta each April from 1913 to 1935.
Leo Frank was arrested in Atlanta for the murder of Mary Phagan. Frank was found guilty of the crime and sentenced to death, but he was later lynched by a mob after Governor John M. Slaton commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.

During World War I, more than 500 German prisoners of war were interned at camps near Fort McPherson.

The country music string band Gid Tanner and His Skillet Lickers recorded eight songs in Atlanta for Columbia Records.

The first Masters Tournament was held in Augusta.

One of the most destructive tornadoes in the nation's history hit Gainesville.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down an insurrection statute used to convict Angelo Herndon, a member of the Communist Party who was arrested in Fulton County after participating in a labor demonstration.

During World War II, the German U-boat U-123 sank three tankers off the Georgia coast.

U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt died at the Little White House in Warm Springs on April 12.

Ed Dodd's comic strip Mark Trail debuted.

The Brooklyn Dodgers bought Jackie Robinson's contract, and a few days later Robinson became the first African American to play in a major-league baseball game on April 15.


Hank Aaron, playing for the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves, hit his first major-league home run.

Twelve-year-old  Brenda Lee made her debut on the country music charts with the song "One Step at a Time."

The second location for the Naval Air Station Atlanta was completed in Marietta.


The Atlanta Braves played their first home game at the Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium on April 12.

On April 7 Spelman College hosted a public viewing of the body of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4. King's funeral took place on April 9 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he had shared the pastorate with his father since 1960.
Students at the University of Georgia staged a sit-in to protest the dress and curfew rules for women on campus, which were stricter than those for men.

Hank Aaronplaying in his final season with the Atlanta Braves, broke Babe Ruth's home run record.

The Georgia legislature declared Ray Charles's version of "Georgia on My Mind" to be the official state song.

Alice Walker received both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple.

Alfred Uhry's play Driving Miss Daisy premiered at an off-Broadway theater.


The 40 Watt Club in Athens opened at its current location.

The  state legislature declared April 19 to be "Johnny Mercer Day," in honor of the songwriter Johnny Mercer, from Savannah.

The mayor of Savannah named April 26 as "John Berendt Day," in honor of the author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame opened in Macon.


The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame was inaugurated.

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey selected Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940) for her book club, spiking sales of the novel.

April Birthdays

April 12, 1724                    Lyman Hall, Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence
April [?], 1735                     Button Gwinnett, Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence
April 9, 1739                      William Bartram, botanist and explorer
April 8, 1771                      William Rabun, Georgia governor
April 11, 1790                    George R. Gilmer, Georgia governor
April 20, 1800                    Mark Anthony Cooper, industrialist
April 1, 1812                      Tunis Campbell, politician
April 2, 1814                      Henry L. Benning, Georgia Supreme Court justice
April 15, 1821                    Joseph E. Brown, politician
April 10, 1823                    Thomas R. R. Cobb, Confederate officer
April 26, 1826                    Ambrose Wright, Confederate officer
April 2, 1833                      Thomas Ruger, Georgia governor
April 13, 1854                    Lucy Craft Laney, educator
April 14, 1856                    Lamartine Hardman, Georgia governor
April 27, 1861                    Richard B. Russell Sr., politician
April 11, 1862                    Henry Rutherford Butler, pharmacist
April 20, 1863                    Helen Dortch Longstreet, Progressive-era reformer
April 5, 1871                      Glenn "Pop" Warner, football coach
April 22, 1872                    Henrietta Dozier, architect
April 12, 1885                    A. T. Walden, civil rights leader
April 29, 1885                    Wallingford Riegger, musician
April 26, 1886                    Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, musician
April 27, 1892                    Louie D. Newton, religious Leader
April 23, 1897                    Lucius D. Clay, military logistics expert
April 5, 1901                      Melvyn Douglas, actor
April 4, 1902                      A. Thomas Bradbury, architect
April 6, 1905                      Andrée Ruellan, artist
April 2, 1907                      Luke Appling, baseball player
April 9, 1907                      Peyton Anderson, newspaper publisher
April 12, 1908                    Robert Scott, aviator
April 5, 1916                      William Ragsdale Cannon, religious Leader
April 30, 1916                    Robert Shaw, musician
April 1, 1921                      Beau Jack, athlete
April 20, 1924                    Alfred H. Colquitt, Confederate officer
April 12, 1926                    Jane Withers, actress
April 27, 1927                    Coretta Scott King, civil rights leader
April 9, 1930                      Jim Fowler, naturalist
April 23, 1937                    Coleman Barks, poet
April 1, 1939                      Phil Niekro, athlete
April 10, 1948                    Mel Blount, athlete
April 28, 1952                    Chuck Leavell, musician
April 12, 1964                    Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, musician
April 13, 1964                    Davis Love III, golfer
April 26, 1966                    Natasha Trethewey, poet
April 18, 1983                    Cheryl Haworth, weight lifter


Cite This Article
"April in Georgia History." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 03 April 2015. Web. 25 November 2015.
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