History is endlessly fascinating. We look back on some things with pride, some with shame, some with a rolling of the eyes. Laws come and go. People do great things, awful things and puzzling things. History serves to teach and amuse. Here’s a sampling for both purposes from our very own state of Georgia.
Aug. 1, 1790: The first U.S. Census reported that the United States had a population of 3,172,006. Georgia’s share of that was 82,548, 64% white and 36% black (mostly slaves).
Aug. 1, 1866: Cherokee Chief John Ross died. Ross was one-eighth Cherokee. He fought (unsuccessfully) to keep the U.S. government and Georgia’s government from relocating Cherokee Indians to reservations in the western U.S.
Aug. 2, 1776: Three representatives from the state of Georgia, Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall and George Walton, signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.
Aug. 3, 1910: The state of Georgia ratified the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, helping to usher in a federal income tax.
Aug. 5, 1910: It became a misdemeanor in Georgia to bet on elections.
Aug. 6, 1907: The governor of Georgia signed prohibition into law and “the manufacture, sale, barter, or giving away of alcoholic beverages in Georgia” became illegal.
Aug. 8, 1925: The governor of Georgia signed an act forbidding dancing in public places on Sundays.
Aug. 10, 1909: The governor of Georgia signed an act forbidding people to defame the reputation of “any virtuous female” by speaking or spreading falsehoods.
Aug. 11, 1862: Confederate General Braxton Bragg declared martial law within the city limits of Atlanta.
Aug. 12, 1910: It became illegal for anyone in Georgia to carry a gun or pistol without a permit.
Aug. 13, 1921: Women gained the right to vote in Georgia.
Aug. 17, 1860: It became illegal in Atlanta to throw trash, dirt or water from one’s windows or front door into the street.
Aug. 18, 1916: The Cherokee Rose became the state flower of Georgia.
Aug. 19, 1890: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was established.
Aug. 21, 1907: It became illegal to go fishing on Sundays in Georgia.
Aug. 22, 1933: Fishermen near Waynesboro killed a rattlesnake that was 10-feet long, had an 18-inch waist and sported 61 rattles.
Aug. 28, 1909: First airplane flight in Georgia. Ben Epps flew a plane he and his business partner, Zumpt A. Huff, had built.
Aug. 30, 1979: President Jimmy Carter reported he was attacked by a rabbit while canoeing near Plains, Ga.
♦ Interesting background: The 16th amendment was introduced in 1909. Alabama was the first state to ratify it. Georgia was the eighth. In 1913, Delaware became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, making it part of the U.S. Constitution. Six states ratified after Delaware. The states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia rejected the amendment, and the states of Florida and Pennsylvania never considered it in the first place.