Although no one is certain who made the initial discovery or when, the first documented evidence of gold in north Georgia was reported in the August 1, 1829, issue of the Milledgeville newspaper Georgia Journal. More than a century later, on August 4, 1958, a caravan of seven mule-drawn covered wagons left Dahlonega with gold to gild the dome of the state capitol in Atlanta.
During the Civil War, Union general William T. Sherman's artillery bombarded Atlanta throughout August 1864, in the last month of the Atlanta campaign; on August 9 his troops showered 3,000 rounds on the city. That same month Union general Ulysses S. Grant issued Circular No. 31, which rewarded Confederate deserters with monetary incentives and transport home, while Confederate general Robert E. Lee attempted to sustain his fighting force by issuing General Orders No. 64, which offered amnesty to any deserter who returned to Confederate service.
In one of the nineteenth century's most infamous crimes, nine members of the Woolfolk family were murdered in their Bibb County home by Thomas G. Woolfolk in August 1887. In August 1915 accused murderer Leo Frank was taken from a prison in Milledgeville and lynched by a mob in Marietta. In August 2005 Lena Baker, the first and only woman to be executed in Georgia's electric chair, was pardoned posthumously by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.
On the night of August 14, 1900, residents in Elberton dismantled "Dutchy," a granite statue of a Confederate solider that was described as looking like a "strange monster, . . . a cross between a Pennsylvania Dutchman and a hippopotamus."
In business history, Trust Company of Georgia (later SunTrust Bank) purchased the Candler family's controlling interests in the Coca-Cola Company for $25 million in August 1919. Citizens Trust Bank, founded to serve African American clients, opened on Auburn Avenue in 1921, and the inaugural issue of the Atlanta Daily World, also based on Sweet Auburn, was published in 1928. In 1990 the World of Coca-Cola opened in downtown Atlanta, and in 2001 SunTrust Bank merged with Wachovia Bank, based in North Carolina.
The first Gulfstream aircraft, produced by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation in Savannah, had its maiden flight in August 1958. In 1963 the Marietta-based Lockheed Aircraft Corporation debuted the first production model of the C-141 Starlifter aircraft.
In sports, lightweight boxing champion Beau Jack fought his last match on August 12, 1955. On August 28, 1968, the Brazilian soccer club Santos, featuring the world-famous player Pelé, played the Atlanta Chiefs at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium before 26,713 spectators. Playing for the Atlanta Braves on August 6, 1972, Hank Aaron set the major league record for home runs hit by a player for a single franchise: 661. Closing ceremonies for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were held on August 4, and the following year the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was demolished by implosion.
The University System of Georgia was created in August under the State Reorganization Act of 1931. Fifty years later, Dr. Betty L. Siegel became the first woman president in the University System of Georgia when she was chosen to head Kennesaw State University in August 1981.
Benjamin Mays became president of Morehouse College in Atlanta on August 1, 1936, his forty-first birthday. He was responsible for tremendous growth in the school's size and stature. In August 1945 voters approved a new Georgia Constitution, and in 1961 Atlanta peacefully integrated its public schools under the leadership of Mayor William B. Hartsfield.
In 1957 civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. launched the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta. In August 1962, during the Albany Movement, he invited Jackie Robinson to Albany to help raise money to rebuild two burned churches, and that same month Mary Frances Early became the first African American to graduate from the University of Georgia. On August 28, 1963, King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and two years later he returned to Washington, D.C., to witness the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In 1970 the Georgia State Poetry Society was founded in Atlanta.
Notable birthdays this month include religious leaders Daniel Marshall (1706), John J. Zubly (1724), and Jacob Rothschild (1911); governors Henry Ellis (1721), George Mathews (1739), Herman Talmadge (1913), and George Busbee (1927); inventor of the submarine David Bushnell (1740); military leaders Nathanael Greene (1742) and Daniel Appling (1787); Indian affairs agent Benjamin Hawkins (1754); politicians John Macpherson Berrien (1781), Mirabeau B. Lamar (1798), Hugh Peterson Sr. (1898), Mike Egan (1926), Vernon Jordan (1935), and Max Cleland (1942); journalists William Tappan Thompson (1812), Bill Shipp (1933), and Deborah Norville (1958); writers Eliza Frances Andrews (1840), Conrad Aiken (1889), Caroline Miller (1903), Mac Hyman (1923), Walter Griffin (1937), Alfred Corn (1943), and Stephen Corey (1948); Mormon missionary to Georgia John Morgan (1842); educators Susie King Taylor (1848), Steadman V. Sanford (1871), and Benjamin Mays (1894); gunman and gambler John Henry "Doc" Holliday (1851); musicians Alfredo Barili (1854), J. M. Henson (1887), Howard Swanson (1907), Lee Roy Abernathy (1913), and Isaac Hayes (1942); artists Gari Melchers (1860) and Hale Woodruff (1900); architect Charles E. Choate (1865); judge William Bootle (1902); athletes Cecil Travis (1913), Rudy York (1913), Wyomia Tyus (1945), and Edwin Moses (1955); "Mighty Eighth" member Donald Bryan (1921); environmentalist Jane Hurt Yarn (1924); and first lady Rosalynn Carter (1927).
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.