Gathering Storm

President Gwinnett issued a proclamation requiring the counties to elect delegates to a legislature to elect a governor of the state as required by the constitution. The delegates convened in Savannah, Georgia, on May 8, 1777, and elected John Adam Treutlen the first governor of the State of Geor­gia. President Gwinnett had been an avowed candidate for the position and was greatly disappointed when Treutlen, instead of he, was elected to the post. Colonel McIntosh publicly voiced his gratification that Treutlen, instead of President Gwinnett, had been elected governor.


The executive council of the General Assembly took up the matter of whether President Gwinnett or Colonel McIntosh should be blamed for failure of the expedition formed by President Gwinnett. It decided in favor of President Gwin­nett. This so enraged Colonel McIntosh that he arose from his seat and called President Gwinnett “a scoundrel and rascal.” President Gwinnett challenged Colonel Mclntosh to a pistol duel. It took place just outside of Savannah, Georgia, on May 16, 1777. Both men were wounded. Colonel McIntosh survived. President Gwinnett died a few days later in Savannah, Georgia, and probably was buried in the Colonial Cemetery in Savannah.


Lyman Hall then appeared before the executive council of the General Assembly and demanded that Colonel McIntosh be tried for murder. A trial date was set and Colonel McIntosh surrendered to authorities. He was tried and ac­quitted. His promotion to brigadier general took place as scheduled on September 16, 1776. But many of his former supporters refused to work further with him. Continental Army officials reassigned him to the northern states. He was in command of 150 troops entrusted to the personal safety of George Washington during the winter months of 1777-1778. After commanding major departments in the north he was promoted to major general on February 24, 1784.


There is a legend that James Edward Oglethorpe organized the first Masonic Lodge meeting in Georgia under a giant oak tree on February 10, 1734, at what would become Sunbury in Liberty County. But it was not until April 21, 1777, that Saint Johns Lodge No. 6, Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Georgia at Sunbury. Its charter members were Andrew Maybank, Peter Dansworth, James Powell, John Blackstone, John Joseph Cobb, Allen Wardwell, John Graves, Elesha Miller, James Mace, and Fran­cis Coddington.


In the latter part of 1777 work was commenced and com­pleted by slave labor on a fortification at Sunbury designed to protect the port against sea and land attacks. The work was supervised by Captain Thomas Morris, Second Company, Georgia Continental Artillery, and the fortification was named Fort Morris in his honor.