The Judge, Augustus Romaldus Wright, is a regular around here. He has made appearances in blog posts, is a usual host of many brainstorming lunches, oh, and today is his 202nd birthday.
So, we want to take a moment and remember one of our heroes.
He was a lawyer, a farmer, an orator, a jurist, and by all means, he was a father. He was married twice. We assume his first wife died in childbirth as between the two women he fathered 19 children. With odds like that, childbirth would have been one of the poor lady's main activities, so the odds are in our favor on that theory.
One of his sons, Moses, also a lawyer and judge, was the appointed as the first trustee of Berry College by the college's founder and his sister-in-law, Martha Berry. Augustus lived in the home now known as Chieftains Museum before moving to his home, Glenwood, on the present day site of the Berry College Chapel (where the managing editor and I formed our very first of several partnerships). He died at this home and it was inherited by Moses. After the home burned, Moses traded the land to Berry for an expansion of the school.
The Judge is known for his friendship with A.H. Stephens, whom he is believed to have hosted when Stephens was in town speaking against secession in 1860.
In 1864, Wright was arrested by William Sherman and taken before Abraham Lincoln who offered to make him the provisional governor of Georgia in exchange for his cooperation. Wright refused,
Later he would defend two men on trial for stealing a pig - a serious offense in Georgia. His defense was that they were hungry honorable veterans of The War and not much more. Of course the men were acquitted of all charges.
If you would like to read Judge Wright in action, you can find his 1859 speech before Congress pertaining to the amount of land owned by the Federal Government and whether it would be better given to railroads and corporations or working class farmers. It's a great argument.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire