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   "Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, & Legends, Vol I"
By Lucian Lamar Knight
The Byrd Printing Co., State Printing Company
Atlanta, Ga 1913

Brief History & "Who's Who" of Gwinnett

GWINNETT  Created by Legislative Act, December 15, 1818, out of treaty lands acquired from the Cherokees in the same year.  Named for Button Gwinnett, one the signers of the Declaration of Independence, from Georgia.  Lawrenceville, the county-seat, named for Captain James Lawrence, of the Chesapeake, who fell mortally wounded on board his ship, on June 1, 1813.  His last words have since become historic:  'Don't give up the ship!'

"Button Gwinnett was a native of England, where he was born in 1732.  Coming to America only four years in advance of the Revolution, he located first in Charleston, S.C., after which he purchased St. Catharine's Island and settled on the coast of Georgia.  Due largely to the influence of Dr. Lyman Hall, a fellow-citizen of the Parish of St. John, he espoused the patriotic cause, and together with Dr. Hall and George Walton, while serving in the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence for Georgia.  He was also a member of the Council of Safety, and, on the death of Archibald Bulloch, became President and Commander-in-Chief of Georgia.  While occupying this office, on May 16, 1777, he fought a duel with General Lachlan McIntosh, a rival for military honors; and, receiving in this encounter a mortal wound, he breathed his last, within a few days after the fatal exchange of shots.  He was doubtless buried in the old Colonial Cemetery at Savannah, since he was living at the seat of government, when the unfortunate affair with McIntosh took place, and it was on the outskirts of Savannah that the hostile meeting occurred.  But when an effort was made to find the body of Button Gwinnett, in order to place it under the monument to the Signers, in Augusta, the grave of the old patriot could not be located.


"Elisha Winn settled in what is now the county of Gwinnett as early as 1800, coming to this State from Virginia.  Nathan L. Hutchins, a native of South Carolina, who afterwards became a Judge of the Superior Court, settled in Gwinnett when the county was first opened.  The noted Simmons family was also established in Gwinnett at an early period; and with the first tide of immigrants came - the Baughs, the Borings, the Kings, the Howells, the Stricklands, the Anthonys, the Baxters, and the Grahams.  The list of early settlers also includes:  madison R. Mitchell, Asabel R. Smith, J. G. Park, Hines Holt, S. McMullin, Noah Strong, William Maltbie, Richard Lester, William Nesbitt, William McDaniel, Levi M. Cooper, Egbert M. Brand, Isaac Hamilton and others.

"White, in his Statistics of Georgia, gives quite a lengthy list of Gwinnett county pioneers who attained to phenomenal years.  Teh number includes John Davis, who joined the church when he was 99 and who lived to be 110;  John McDade, who registered 95; George Thrasher, whose span of life reached 93; and Stephen Harris, who died at the age of 90.  Besides these, there were still living in Gwinnett, when the volume from which we quote went to press, in 1849, a Mrs. McCree, who was then in her ninety-fourth years, and Nathan Dobbs, Leonard Willis, and Thomas Cox, three old patiarchs, each of whom was 92.

"Major C. H. Thorn, a patriot of '76, is buried somewhere in Gwinnett.  Wm. McRight, a private in the Revolutionary ranks, was granted a Federal pension while a resident of this county in 1837.


"Major Charles H. Smith, the noted humorist, was born in Gwinnett.  He removed to Rome in 1851 for the practice of law, and still later established his residence at Cartersville, where he spent the remainder of his days.

"Here live two distinguished judges of the same name who served on the Superior Court Bench of the Western Circuit - Judge N. L. Hutchins, Sr., who served from 1857 to 1868, and Judge N. L. Hutchins, Jr., who served for a number of  years beginningin 1882.  Major Smith married a daughter of the elder Judge Hutchins.  The name is still worthily borne by a distinguished lawyer of Lawrenceville, Hon. N. L. Hutchins, who has represented Gwinnett in the General Assembly of Georgia.

"The younger Judge Hutchins commanded the 2nd Georgia Battalion of Sharp Shooters during the Civil War.

"Captain James C. Winn, one of the martyrs of Goliad, went from Gwinnett to Texas, where he perished in the brutal massacre of March 27, 1836, at the famous Spanish mission, near San Antonio.  His brother, Richard D. Winn, was a distinguished resident of Gwinnett.  The latter's son, Hon. Thomas E. Winn, represented Georgia in Congress from 1891 to 1893.  Judge Samuel J. Winn, a well-known lawyer and jurist of Lawrenceville, was the father of Atlanta's well-known mayor - Hon. Courtland S. Winn.

"Brigadier-General Gilbert J. Wright, a noted Confederate officer, was a native of Gwinnett.

"Colonel Lovick P. Thomas, who commanded the famous 42nd Georgia regiment in the battle of Atlanta, who served in the Seccession Convention, spent his boyhood days on a farm in Gwinnett.

"Here lived Hon. James P. Simmons, a noted author and leader for years in Georgia  politics.  He was a member of the Secession Convention, in which body he was one of th esix delegates who signed the celebrated ordinance under formal protest.  Hon. Wm. E. Simmons, one of Georgia's ablest Constitutional lawyers has been a resident of Lawrenceville since boyhood.

"Colonel Tyler M. Peeples, a distinguished lawyer and publicist;  Railroad Commissioner J. A. Perry; Judge Charles H. Brand, and other prominent Georgians, live here;  and Hon. Hohn R. Cooper, of Macon, one of the best known criminal lawyers in the State- recently a popular candidate for Congress - was born in Gwinnett."


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