"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
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.
"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
"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."