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American History
Thomas Spalding
contributed by Lu Hickey

Thomas SpaldingKnown as Georgia’s Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Spalding was born at Frederica (on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia) on March 25, 1774. His ancestors were from the Highlands of Scotland, and were among the band of hardy warriors which Oglethorpe brought to Georgia to form a bulwark for the New Colony against the Spaniards in Florida. His great-grandfather was John Mohr McIntosh, leader of the clan which settled Darien.

His service to agriculture was almost limitless. It has been said that the Experiment Stations of ante-bellum days were the plantations of Thomas Spalding and a neighbor, James Hamilton Couper.

Spalding was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1798, and, in 1850, was a member of the Great Convention at Milledgeville. He was the only man to serve in both of these distinguished gatherings, and was elected Chairman of the 1850 Convention. This gathering, largely through Spalding’s guidance, produced the Georgia Platform, which meant that Georgia would accept the Compromise of 1850. Other Southern States fell into line, and the Secession of the South was postponed another decade. This was Spalding’s last service to his state and country. On his homeward journey, he reached the home of his son, Charles, at Darien, in sight of his beautiful Sapelo Island, and passed away January 4, 1851. He was interred in St. Andrew’s Cemetery at Darien.

Thomas and Sara Spalding had sixteen children, only five of whom survived. There are close ties between the Spalding Family and our County. The Kell’s at Sunnyside, Georgia were his cousins: Captain Kell and Thomas Spalding both being descendants of John Mohr McIntosh, the highlander who settled McIntosh County. Captain Kell’s sister, Evelyn, married Charles, a son of Thomas Spalding. For many years, Evelyn & Charles Spalding lived in Sunnyside, Georgia.



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