STEPHEN HEARD, a Revolutionary War soldier and president of the Executive Council (the equivalent of governor) of Georgia, was born in Hanover County, Virginia, in November 1740. He received a common school education, but left school when the French and Indian War started. He fought with George Washington’s Virginia regiment and consequently developed a lifelong friendship with Washington. After the war, his father John moved his family to Wilkes County, Georgia, where he built a fort with his two sons. Heard’s Fort served as a refuge from Indian attacks, as well as a temporary capitol of Georgia during the American Revolution. Heard took up the patriot’s cause and fought valiantly in the Battle of Kettle. He first entered politics in 1779 as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. The Executive Council elected him President and he began his duties as governor on May 24, 1780. During his tenure, most of the state was occupied by British forces, which resulted in Heard’s Fort being used as the provisional capitol. His first wife died of exposure after being driven from their home by Tories. He remarried August 25, 1785. He went on to serve as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he held almost continuously from 1779 to 1795. Governor Stephen Heard passed away on November 15,1815, and was buried in the family graveyard in Elbert County, Georgia. Heard County in West Georgia on the Alabama boundary was named in his honor in 1830.
Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.