George Walton was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1749. Walton moved to Savannah at the age of 20. After working in the law office of Henry Young in Savannah, Walton passed the Georgia bar and 'hung' out his own shingle.
After the passage of the “Boston Port Bill,” the “Royal Appointment Bill” and the “Capital Offense Bill,” a public meeting was held at the Watch House by a committee of concerned citizens.
The men on this committee wrote a message to the King. Walton's name was on the letter. On June 21, 1775, a call from Archibald Bulloch went out to all Savannahians to meet at the Liberty Pole in front of Tondee's Tavern.
The purpose: to form a Committee of Safety that would work towards the unification of Georgia with her sister colonies. Walton was one of those appointed to lead the committee.
On July 4, 1775, the first Provincial Congress was held in Savannah. Here, Archibald Bulloch was elected President and George Walton was elected the secretary.
Walton was then named to both the “Committee of Intelligence” and the “Committee For The Articles of Association.” The Association was loyalty document that every citizen would be called upon to sign.
Walton was then selected as a delegate to the upcoming Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. He remained a member of this august body until 1781.
However, from November 1779 until January 1780, when Georgia actually had two governors serving simultaneously, Walton served as governor for the Revolutionary (or Republican) government in Georgia.
During the British assault on Savannah, 'Colonel' Walton led the troops of the First Battalion of the First Regiment of Foot Militia guarding the road to the Great Ogeechee Ferry.
During the attempt to hold off the British, Walton received a musket-ball which broke his thigh, leaving him with a limp for the rest of his life.
His British captors, who saw Walton as a prime bargaining tool, ensured that he received the best medical care. After he recovered, Walton was actually allowed some personal freedoms, moving around town freely.
The British demanded a brigadier general in exchange for Walton, but ended up exchanging him for a captain of the British Navy.
After the war, Walton was appointed the chief justice of Georgia. His job: ride through all eight counties in the state and supervise all of the associate justices serving in the county seats.
When President George Washington came to August in 1791, it was Walton who gave the 'Address of Welcome.' After serving as a United States senator, he settled into retirement at his plantation farm “Meadow Garden” near Augusta, where he died in 1806.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger firstname.lastname@example.org.