The single-most famous person from colonial Georgia is James Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony, the first trustee and the first unofficial governor. There were other trustees and governors but none near as well-known and revered as Oglethorpe.Continue Reading
James Oglethorpe first envisioned the idea of the Georgia colony while he lived in England and worked to reform the prison system there. Many of the inmates were imprisoned for debts, and Oglethorpe thought an American colony that embraced the poor and taught them useful trades sounded like a good idea. He also decided to repress class distinction by allowing colonists equal tracts of land and outlawing slavery. He managed to convince King George II to grant a charter for the new colony in 1732, naming Oglethorpe and 20 other people trustees.
Despite the good intentions, populating the new colony with the English poor never came to fruition. However, his other ideals lasted longer. He worked tirelessly for the colony while managing simultaneously to protect the local Native Americans. Once Oglethorpe returned to England in 1743, he lost control of the fate of Georgia. The trustees allowed ownership of large tracts of land, inheritance and slavery, all of which Oglethorpe was against. He cut ties to the trustees and Georgia by 1750.Learn more about US History