WALTON, GEORGE. (c. 1749–1804). Signer, governor of Georgia. Virginia and Georgia. Born in Cumberland County, Virginia, George Walton was orphaned and apprenticed to a carpenter. At the end of his apprenticeship, in 1769, he moved to Savannah, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1774. As early as July of that year he was one of the local Patriots urging action against Britain, and he had a leading role in putting Georgia in the Patriot camp. Named a delegate to the Continental Congress on 2 February 1776, he sat for the periods 1776–1777 and 1780–1781.
On 9 January 1778 he was named a colonel of militia, and he was severaly wounded in the thigh and captured during the unsuccessful defense of Savannah, Georgia, on 29 December 1778.. He was exchanged in Sept. 1779, during the unsuccessful siege of Savannah by rebel and French troops. General Benjamin Lincoln urged him to establish a constitutional government in Augusta, thus replacing the unconstitutional supreme executive council currently functioning there., Walton complied with Lincoln's suggestion. Although Walton's newly established government was not considered any more constitutional than its previous form, Walton nonetheless held the position of governor between November 1779 and January 1780. In this capacity he sent a request to the Continental Congress for the transfer of General Lachlan McIntosh, which bore the fraudulent signature of William Glascock, speaker of the assembly. Congress complied with Walton's request; however, in 1781 they repealed the resolution.
Walton was not returned to Congress after his 1781 term, and he remained in Philadelphia with his family until late 1782. Although the 1783 Georgia assembly censured him for the forgery on his request to have McIntosh removed, they elected him chief justice, an influential position he filled for six years. After serving as governor in 1789, he became a district superior-court judge under the new state constitution. In late 1795 he filled the unexpired U.S. Senate term of James Jackson, but was not returned to the Senate.
SEE ALSO McIntosh, Lachlan.
Buell, Richard. Securing the Revolution: Iideology in American Politics, 1789–1815. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972.
Jackson, Harvey H. "Georgia Whiggery: The Origins and Effects of a Many-Faceded Movement." In Forty Years of Diversity: Essays on Colonial Georgia. Edited by Harvey H. Jackson and Phinizy Spalding. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1984.
revised by Leslie Hall