In October 1765 naturalists John and William Bartram discovered a small grove of trees with white flowers along the southern reaches of the Altamaha River; the species became commonly known as the Franklin tree.
In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Georgia held its first constitutional convention in Savannah. Three years later a fierce battle, known as the Siege of Savannah, took place between the city's British occupiers and combined American and French troops; Polish count Casimir Pulaski was killed in the fighting.
The capital of the state moved in 1807 from Louisville to Milledgeville, where the first drawing of the Georgia land lottery was held in October 1832, and where construction of Central State Hospital was completed in October 1842.
The Medical College of Georgia (later Georgia Health Sciences University) in Augusta opened in October 1829, and in 1836 entrepreneur Nelson Tift founded the city of Albany, today the seat of Dougherty County.
Governor Alfred H. Colquitt signed legislation creating Georgia's first official state flag in 1879, and in 1881 Georgia native Doc Holliday participated in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. The Georgia Institute of Technology opened in Atlanta in October 1888.
In 1889 a sham Civil War battle, an early form of reenacting, took place during an Atlanta cotton exposition. The Salvation Army began its work in Georgia the following year, and the Ruskin Commonwealth, a short-lived Utopian community in Ware County, was incorporated in October 1899.
In 1918, during World War I, troops began arriving at a new military camp outside Columbus, which would later be called Fort Benning. That same year, on October 6, approximately 130 soldiers from Fort Screven died onboard the Otranto, which sank en route to England. The first troops arrived at Camp Stewart (later Fort Stewart), outside Savannah, in October 1940, and in 1941 an official groundbreaking and flag-raising ceremony took place at Fort Gordon, in Augusta.
In 1924 Franklin D. Roosevelt, paralyzed after an attack of polio, visited Warm Springs for the first time; he subsequently built a home there, which was known during his presidency as the "Little White House." Eighty years later, filming began on the feature film Warm Springs, which chronicles Roosevelt's life from 1921 to 1928.
On October 11, 1927, aviator Charles Lindbergh arrived for "Lindbergh Day" in Atlanta to celebrate his record-breaking transatlantic flight. The Cloister hotel opened on Sea Island in 1928, and in 1947 the state of Georgia purchased Jekyll Island, which subsequently became Jekyll Island State Park. Evangelist Billy Graham brought his crusade to Atlanta for the first time in 1950, and he drew the largest crowd of his career there on October 29.
The Temple, Atlanta's oldest and most prominent Jewish synagogue, was bombed on October 12, 1958, likely in response to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild's stance against segregation. Savannah city leaders desegregated public and private facilities on October 1, 1963, and ten years later Maynard Jackson was elected mayor of Atlanta, becoming the first black mayor of a major southern city. In 1964 civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history. In October 1986 the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum was dedicated in Atlanta, and in 2002 U.S. president Jimmy Carter became the second Georgia native to win the Nobel Peace Prize, setting a record for the most recipients of the award from one state.
A Conyers housewife first claimed to have received messages from the Virgin Mary in October 1990; her visions ceased in October 1998. Georgian Clarence Thomas was sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991, and in 1992 the Fernbank Museum of Natural History opened in Atlanta.
In sports history, the University of Georgia football team defeated the Yale University team in the inaugural game at Sanford Stadium (named for the educator Steadman V. Sanford) in 1929. In 1980 heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes scored an eleventh-round technical knockout over the former titleholder Muhammad Ali. Evander Holyfield took the heavyweight title in 1990 for the first of three times he would win it, a record matched only by Ali. The Atlanta Braves won the World Series in 1995, the team's first series win in thirty-eight years. The following year, on October 24, the team played its last game in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium before moving to Turner Field.
In arts and entertainment history, the first incarnation of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra premiered on October 7, 1923. Governor Eugene Talmadge declared October 23, 1941, to be "Swamp Water Day" in honor of the Hollywood movie Swamp Water, which premiered in Waycross that evening. WERD, Atlanta's first black radio station, started broadcasting in 1949, and in 1973 Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Midnight Train to Georgia" went to number one on the pop singles chart. In Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre held its debut performance in 1968, and forty years later filmmaker Tyler Perry opened the nation's first major film studio owned by an African American.
Events held around the state in October include the Big Buck Contest and the Guysie Mule Roundup in Bacon County, the Cumming Country Fair and Festival in Cumming, the Fair on the Square in Millen, the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, the Georgia Marble Festival in Jasper, the Georgia National Fair at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, the Georgia Peanut Festival in Worth County, Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega, the Oliver Hardy Festival in Columbia County, the Pelham Wildlife Festival in Pelham, the Prater's Mill Country Fair in Whitfield County, the Sum-Nelly Arts and Crafts Fair in Chattooga County, the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, and the Long County Wildlife Festival in Ludowici.
Notable Georgians born in October include: governors David B. Mitchell (1766), James M. Smith (1823), and Jimmy Carter (1924); politicians John Forsyth (1780), Garnett Andrews (1798), Hiram Warner (1802), Roy V. Harris (1895), Griffin Bell (1918), and Wyche Fowler (1940); Cherokee chief John Ross (1790); religious leaders Adiel Sherwood (1791), Sam Jones (1847), and Joseph Standing (1854); military leaders Charles Rinaldo Floyd (1797) and William J. Hardee (1815); historians Charles C. Jones Jr. (1831) and Daniel Boorstin (1914); quilter Harriet Powers (1837); educators David C. Barrow Jr. (1852) and Martha Berry (1866); Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low (1860); sports figures John Heisman (1869), Frank Sinkwich (1920), Eddie Mathews (1931), Paul Anderson (1932), Bill Elliott (1955), and Evander Holyfield (1962); medical scholars G. Lombard Kelly (1890) and Robert B. Greenblatt (1906); businessmen D. Abbott Turner (1892), James V. Carmichael (1910), and William Bradley Turner (1922); artists Athos Menaboni (1895) and Beverly Buchanan (1940); musicians Beryl Rubinstein (1898), Moonshine Kate (1909), Willie Lee Perryman (1911), Larry Jon Wilson (1940), Alan Jackson (1958), Toni Braxton (1968), and Usher (1978); writers Marian McCamy Sims (1899), Evelyn Hanna (1900), Lamar Trotti (1900), Vereen Bell (1911), Stetson Kennedy (1916), Van K. Brock (1932), Pat Conroy (1945), and Lewis Grizzard (1946); actresses Miriam Hopkins (1902) and Julia Roberts (1967); baseball manager Earl Mann (1904); U.S. attorney general Griffin Bell (1918); journalist Gene Patterson (1923); civil rights activists Joseph Lowery (1924) and Bernice Johnson Reagon (1942); music producers Bill Lowery (1924) and Pete Drake (1932); and landscape architect Edward Daugherty (1926).
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.