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This post will mean little to readers outside of Georgia, but today is Button Gwinnett’s official birthday.  He was baptized on this date in 1735.  Gwinnett was a Georgia patriot, governor, and one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Button Gwinnett

Born in England to Welsh parents, he came to the Colonies and landed in Charleston.  Moving to Savannah by 1765, he abandoned his mercantile business and bought a plantation.  He was a representative to the Continental Congress, the second person to sign the Declaration, and was briefly the Provisional Governor of Georgia in 1777.

He became one of the wealthiest men in Georgia.

Before, during, and after the American Revolution, he was a military man.

He organized an invasion into British East Florida which was led by one of his subordinates.  It was a disaster, he was publicly blamed and maligned by Lachlan McIntosh, the commander of the failed invasion.

Although exonerated, he felt his reputation was ruined.  Things heated UP,  and he challenged McIntosh to a duel. 

Duels were very big back then.

Both men were hit, and Button Gwinnett died three days later when his shattered leg turned gangrenous.

The county in which I live is named for him.

It’s Gwinnett County, not Button County.  Gwinnett County is most famous for the Runaway Bride, and as the place where Larry Flynt went on trial for pornography and was shot…on the Courthouse Steps!

Amazingly, Button Gwinnett’s autograph is considered the most valuable American autograph, following third behind those of Julius Caesar and William Shakespeare!!  There are only 51 known examples. 

Button's Autograph

Now you know.

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