Inspired by South Carolina’s decision to send delegates to the
First Continental Congress, Georgians fed-up with the British
government’s refusal to listen to their complaints met in
Tondee’s Tavern. However, the majority of Georgians were not
radicals. The majority wanted to keep British troops in Georgia
to protect their frontier while being just radical enough not to
anger South Carolina. Georgia’s economy relied heavily on
trade with Charleston, SC whose port was far bigger than
Savannah’s. If South Carolina had cut-off trade with them for
not being radical enough, that would have been disastrous for
Georgia’s economy (Golden).
August 5, 1774
July 24, 1774
Royal governor Wright of Georgia
learns about the meetings in
Tondee’s Tavern and prohibits
them. He is ignored.
At a follow-up meeting to the July 24th one, each Georgian
parish had a representative. The Intolerable Acts were addressed
and objected to. Georgia objected primarily to two acts within
the Intolerable Acts: the Administration of Justice Act, which
prohibited British soldiers from being tried in America for crimes
they committed there, and the Quartering Act, which required
colonies to pay for the expenses of soldiers. Since Georgia was
requesting for and relying upon British soldiers to protect them
from Indian attacks, they were highly opposed to these acts.
This meeting also established that any 11 members of this
quickly-growing group could organize to correspond with other
colonies on an official basis (Golden).
August 10, 1774
The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. All
of the thirteen colonies sent delegates except for Georgia.
Georgia decided not to send delegates because they were
facing attacks from the Creek Indians on their borders (The
British has previously forced the Creek to cede over half a
million acres of their land) and badly needed the support of
British soldiers. They also worried about the British cutting
them off from trade, from which Georgia had prospered
greatly. By the early 1770s, Georgia was exporting over
$56,000/year (worth about $1.75 million today) worth of rice,
indigo, beef, and pork to England.
September 5, 1774
At the First Continental Congress, the Congress asked all colonies to
join the Association that would ban trade from Britain. Georgia was
reluctant to join the Association for similar reasons to why they were
hesitant to go to the Continental Congress, both because they didn’t
want to anger the British and lose any hope of military support during
an Indian attack, but also because they had prospered under British
rule and trade with Britain.
After hearing about the battles of Lexington and
Concord, incendiary action on the part of the British,
many Georgians became patriots. On this day in May, the
Sons of Liberty stormed the royal magazine in Savannah
and took all the ammunition from inside. It was some of
the first radical action taken by the previously generally
loyalist Georgians, and a significant step toward their
later involvement in the revolution.
January 18, 1775
May 11, 1775
A provincial congress gathered in
Savannah, Georgia, to decide whether or not
representatives should be elected to go the second
continental congress. The elected representatives
chose not to go to Philadelphia, because they didn’t
know what action they would choose to take there.
Patriots began replacing royal authority with their own during this
time period. In June they turned the celebration of the king’s
birthday into a demonstration against him. They continued to
“drink to the king” so to speak, but during the 2nd Provincial
Congress, they really took the government into their own hands.
This was the first time they actually named delegates to go to the
ongoing continental congress. In addition, they finally joined the
Association and local committees were established to actually
enforce the bans on trade. And finally, they formed a Council of
Safety to act when the provincial congress wasn’t in session that
could raise troops and control the military, negotiate with natives,
issue currency, and provide expenditures.
May 25, 1775
This was the first time Georgia was represented at a
Continental Congress, specifically by St. John’s Parish,
who sent Lyman Hall. However, Hall didn’t feel that he
accurately represented Georgia well enough to actually
vote, as he mostly supported radical parishes.
A local committee confronted a man, named Thomas Brown, in
Augusta, who was notorious for encouraging the formation of a
counter association. As he refused to swear loyalty to the
Association, he was publicly tortured, and used to send a message
to others acting against it. Small skirmishes, and marches occurred,
as Brown retreated to the Carolinas, and gained support from other
loyalists, until heeding to Governor Campbell of South Carolina’s
advice, of waiting to fight until the British arrived.
August 22, 1775
While in this intermediary stage, Brown worked with
Florida officials to recruit Indians to fight on the frontiers,
when the British arrived. This would mean that the
Georgians would not only be fighting the British on the
coast, but also the Indians on the Florida border.
Under British commander, James Grant, a number of rice boats
anchored near Hutchinson Island were taken over. The Committee of
Safety in Savannah placed the British Royal Governor, James Wright,
under house arrest, and gave Colonel McIntosh the duty of defending
the city, as British warships had arrived.
2 members holding a parley flag were arrested by the British, and
McIntosh opened fire. The Committee of Safety decided that to resist
the British attempt to seize supply ships, others would be burnt to
prevent their capture.
March 2-3, 1776
James Wright escaped confinement, and got safely to one of
the British fleet ships; marking the end of British control in
Georgia. It is unclear why they did not try to capture
Savannah at the time, as they would return in 1778 to do so.
At the Provincial Congress meeting, a form of government was
drafted, and implemented, called “Rules and Regulations”. It
included, but was not limited to the following principles: they
were to vote on a president, have a Council of Safety (made up of
13 people, aimed to aid the president and restrict tyrannical
behavior), follow the laws of The Association, and have one
Chief-Justice and two assistant judges. This meeting was
unattended by, and free of British influence.
July 4, 1776
May 1, 1776
The Provincial Congress sends Georgia delegates:
George Walton, Button Gwinnett, and Lyman Hall,
to the Philadelphia Convention, to sign the
Declaration of Independence.