Happy President’s Day! Celebrating Georgia’s Presidential Connections
Presidents’ Day recognizes those who have served in our nation’s highest office, and Georgia has some pretty cool presidential ties to celebrate. Here are just a few:
Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States, is the only U.S. president from Georgia. Carter was born on Oct. 1, 1924, in Plains. As a boy, Carter grew peanuts on his father’s farm. After high school, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and went on to a naval career that spanned almost two decades. After serving in the military, Carter returned to Plains with his family and returned to farming. He also got into politics, becoming a Georgia state senator and later governor. Carter ran for U.S. president in 1976 and defeated incumbent President Gerald Ford to win the White House. His single term was plagued with economic issues and conflicts at home and abroad. After the presidency, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, returned to Georgia. They remain active in religious and humanitarian efforts in the United States and around the world. He has authored several books, and in 2002 Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development” through The Carter Center.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, built a home in Warm Springs, Ga., and found relief from his struggle with polio in the town’s swimming pools. Roosevelt came to Warm Springs annually, except in 1942, until his death at his home there in 1945. Roosevelt’s rehabilitation at Warm Springs brought attention to the town and made it a destination for many suffering similar symptoms. Today, the Little White House and Memorial Museum is a state historic site. Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute, adjacent to the Little White House, is a vocational rehabilitation center treating persons with head, neck, and back injuries, joint and muscle disorders, stroke patients, and those suffering from arthritis, post-polio syndrome, and a wide range of birth defects.
Georgia-born First Ladies
Ellen Axson Wilson, first wife of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, was the first Georgia native to serve as first lady. Born in Savannah, Ellen lived in several Georgia cities as her father pastored Presbyterian churches around the state. In 1883, 26-year-old Woodrow, then a lawyer living in Atlanta, visited Rome, where Ellen was living. He saw her at church, and a romance began. Two years later, they married. Though the Wilsons lived in the Northeast, Ellen visited her family in Georgia on many occasions, including for the births of the couple’s first two daughters. After Woodrow won the 1912 presidential election, the family moved into the White House. As First Lady, Ellen planned the White House rose garden, which is still a popular attraction today. In 1914 she became gravely ill with kidney disease, and she died on August 6. Her body was brought home to Georgia on a special train, and her funeral was held at First Presbyterian Church in Rome. She is buried beside her parents in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome.
Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter, was born in Plains, Georgia, in 1927. Her strong faith and family values led her to a lifelong dedication to improvements in mental health policy, health for women, children, and the elderly, and a general concern for impoverished people worldwide. Rosalynn married high school classmate Jimmy in 1946 after his graduation from the U.S. naval Academy. The Carters lived all over the world during Jimmy’s naval career and returned home to Georgia, where he began his political career. Rosalynn has been at her husband’s side as they have devoted themselves to humanitarian efforts throughout the world.
Now for a little presidential trivia: How many Georgia counties are named for presidents?
If you said seven, you are correct. If you said eight, you might be right as well. In fact, seven counties are named for U.S. presidents, and one is named for the Confederate president. Here’s the list from Georgia Info:
Jeff Davis County – for Confederate President Jefferson Davis
Jefferson County – for Thomas Jefferson
Madison County – for James Madison
Monroe County – for James Monroe
Pierce County – for Franklin Pierce
Polk County – for James K. Polk
Taylor County – for Zachary Taylor
Washington County – for George Washington
What about Lincoln County? It is named for Revolutionary War General Benjamin Lincoln, not Abraham Lincoln.
Happy Presidents’ Day from Duffey Realty!