JOHN MILLEDGE was born at the Sand Hills near Augusta, Georgia, circa 1757. He was educated by private tutors, studied law, and started a legal career in Savannah. He served during the Revolutionary War with a squadron that seized the colonial government at Savannah in 1775 and was one of the Liberty Boys who seized British gunpowder. He was rescued from the gallows, after being captured by the British, and held by the Americans as a spy. Milledge entered politics in 1780, as Georgia’s attorney general, an office he held for two years. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1789 and 1790 and in the state senate in 1794 and 1795. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1792, 1793, 1795 to 1799, and again from 1801 to 1802. In 1802 the Georgia state legislature elected him the state’s eighth governor. During his tenure, he dealt with issues involving the Creek Indians and land speculation, which he opposed. The provisions of the most recent Creek Indian treaty were implemented, and further cessions were acquired from them. In 1802 he signed the agreement surrendering lands west of the Chattahoochee River to the federal government. Land was assessed and construction was completed on a new road from Augusta to Tennessee in 1805. Governor Milledge advocated for educational advancements, and he was one of the founders of the University of Georgia, buying and donating over 600 acres of land that became the university’s campus. A new state capitol was built in 1804, and the town was named Milledgeville in his honor. Milledge resigned during his second term, to take seat in the U.S. Senate. He served in the senate from 1806 until 1809, serving as president pro tempore in January 1809. After resigning from the U.S. Senate on November 14, 1809, Milledge retired from public service to be with his wife who was serously ill. Governor John Milledge died on February 9, 1818, and is buried in the Summerville Cemetery near Augusta.
Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.