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DAR honors Georgia patriot
Annual Georgia Day event celebrates George Walton
O.B. Wilhoit McCorkle, Georgia State Society's First Vice Regent keynotes the 22nd Annual Georgia Day Celebration luncheon at Forest Heights Country Club, as Pat Long, left, Regent with the Archibald Bulloch DAR Chapter, looks on. - photo by JULIE LAVENDER/staff

One of the greatest Georgians who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence took center stage during Thursday’s 22nd Annual Georgia Day Celebration luncheon at the Forest Heights Country Club.

The Archibald Bulloch, Governor David Emanuel-Adam Brinson and Vidalia Chapters Daughters of the American Revolution all took part in the event, with the keynote address highlighting the remarkable life of George Walton.

At the celebration, Pat Long, Regent of the Archibald Bulloch Chapter, called the luncheon to order, and Chaplain Anne Allen of the Archibald Bulloch Chapter, gave the invocation. Jane Durden, Regent, Gov. David Emanuel-Adam Brinson Chapter led the pledge to the United States of America flag and American’s Creed, followed by the preamble to the Constitution  and the pledge to the Georgia Flag, led by Diane Quinn, Regent, Vidalia Chapter.

O.B. Wilhoit McCorkle, the Georgia State Society’s First Vice Regent offered the keynote address. The 28-year DAR member has held seven state offices and is very active on the national level. She is the first lady of Warrenton, married for 29 years to Mayor Chris McCorkle, and the couple has two children.

McCorkle’s address for the Georgia Day luncheon revolved around Walton, who moved to Savannah in 1769 to study law and would eventually become one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

McCorkle pointed out that the Georgia State Society Daughters of the American Revolution own Meadow Garden, the former home of George Walton, one of the greatest Georgians and patriots of the United States of America.

“It is an amazing treasure we have been entrusted with to make sure we share the accurate historical record of George Walton’s home and office, the place he lived and worked during his no-less-than-exceptional professional and political career,” McCorkle said. “Can you imagine the decisions that were made in that very office that influenced the path our infant nation would chart?

“We are the Daughters of the American Revolution,” McCorkle said.  “We are so proud that we have the honor to preserve such a great patriot’s home and office.”

McCorkle also pointed out that the famous George Walton didn’t begin life with such notoriety, however.

Walton, the youngest of four children, lost his father shortly after he was born, and his mother when he was almost 10. Orphaned and poor, he was raised by his uncle, a carpenter. Though he apprenticed in carpentry work, his interest was academics and his thirst for knowledge led to Walton’s self-education, and eventually to Savannah to study law.

McCorkle quoted a historian’s words about Walton’s efforts to preserve the rights and liberties of the people of Georgia: “Four Georgia radicals, Nobel Wimberly Jones, Archibald Bulloch, John Houston and George Walton, called on every patriot in all Georgia to come together July 27, 1774, at a tavern in Savannah kept by Peter Tondee …

“And thus began George Walton’s path to become the great patriot of the Revolution. This orphaned carpenter’s apprentice, through means of his determination, passion and zeal, became a most exalted citizen, a great American leader and a patriot extraordinaire.”

McCorkle thanked the Daughters of the American Revolution for their work in education, patriotism and historic preservation. She said those in leadership with the DAR recognize that it is “the boots on the ground in local communities” where the real work gets done. 

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