George Walton (ca. 1749-1804)
The exact year of Walton's birth is unknown; it is believed that he was born in 1749 in Virginia. In 1769 he moved to Savannah, where he pursued a legal career. By the eve of the American Revolution he was one of the most successful lawyers in Georgia. Active in Georgia's Revolutionary government, he was elected to the Provincial Congress and then became president of the Council of Safety in 1775. In 1776 he served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, where on July 4 he signed the Declaration (along with Button Gwinnett and Lyman Hall of Georgia).
Returning to Savannah, Walton was captured during the 1778 British assault on the city, led by Archibald Campbell. After his exchange he returned to Georgia and was elected governor in 1779, having switched allegiances from the conservative to the radical faction. He served for two controversial months before reelection to Congress.
After the Revolution Walton served as chief justice of Georgia, as a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1788 that ratified the new federal constitution, as a presidential elector in 1789, as governor that same year, as U.S. senator (appointed by the legislature when James Jackson stepped down to fight the Yazoo Land Act), and as a justice of the state superior court. He eventually retired in the 1780s to his Augusta home, where he died on February 2, 1804. Walton is buried in Augusta. Walton County is named for him.
Edwin C. Bridges, "George Walton: A Political Biography" (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1981).
Edwin C. Bridges, Georgia's Signers and the Declaration of Independence (Atlanta: Cherokee, 1981).
Kenneth Coleman, The American Revolution in Georgia, 1763-1789 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1958).
James F. Cook, The Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004, 3d ed. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005).
Stan Deaton, Georgia Historical Society
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.