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John Houstoun

Gov. John Houstoun

  • January 10, 1778 - January 7, 1779
    January 9, 1784 - January 6, 1785
  • Whig
  • August 31, 1744
  • July 20, 1796
  • Georgia
  • Married Hannah Bryan
  • National Guard
  • Member of the Continental Congress


JOHN HOUSTOUN, a two-term governor of Georgia, was born in Waynesboro, Georgia on August 31, 1744. His early education was attained in the common schools of his native state. He went on to study law in Charleston and then established a successful practice in Savannah in 1771. Houstoun first entered the political arena as one of the three organizers of the “Sons of Liberty,” a group that initiated formal protests against the British government. In 1775 he was a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Georgia, as well as serving that same year in the Continental Congress. He also served on the Council of Safety in 1777 and became a member of the Executive Council in May 1777. Houstoun was elected governor in 1778 and was elected to a second term. He personally led an invasion force of troops of the Georgia militia in a campaign to drive the British out of Georgia. Partially because Houstoun and the commander of the Georgia militia did not coordinate their activities, the British captured Georgia’s most important town, Savannah. After leaving the governor’s office, he continued to stay active in politics. In 1787, he was named to the commission that negotiated the boundary line between Georgia and South Carolina. He also was elected the first mayor of Savannah, was a justice in the Georgia Superior Court, and served as president of Chatham Academy. Governor John Houstoun passed away at his home “White Bluff” on July 20, 1796. Houston Street in Atlanta and Houston County in central Georgia (both pronounced “House-ton”) were named in his honor.


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.

Georgia Historical Society

The New Georgia Encyclopedia

Recent Georgia Governors