THOMAS WILLIAM HARDWICK, Georgia’s 51st governor, was born in Thomasville, Georgia, on December 9, 1872. He graduated from Mercer University in 1892 and earned his law degree from Lumpkin Law School at the University of Georgia in 1893. That same year, he was admitted to the bar and established a legal career in Sandersville, Georgia. Hardwick entered politics in 1890, as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position he held for nine years. He also served as Washington County’s prosecuting attorney from March 1895 to January 1896. From 1900 to 1901, Hardwick served in the Georgia State Troops as captain of the Company D, 6th Regiment Infantry. After his military duty, he was reelected to the Georgia House of Representatives, serving from 1903 to 1914, and was member of the U.S. Senate from 1914 to 1919. On November 2, 1920, he won election to the governor’s office, and on June 25, 1921, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, the state’s first gasoline tax was initiated, flogging of convicts was eliminated, the state audit department was authorized, and the first woman was appointed to the U.S. Senate (Georgian Rebecca Felton was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1922 to fill a temporary vacancy. The first woman senator, she serves for only two days). Also, a campaign was executed, using martial law and court orders, to counter the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. Hardwick lost his reelection bid in 1922, largely through the efforts of leaders from the Ku Klux Klan, and left office on June 30, 1923. From July 1, 1923, to May 16, 1824, he served as special assistant to the U.S. attorney general. Governor Thomas W. Hardwick died on January 31, 1944, and he is buried at the Old City Cemetery in Sandersville, Georgia.