John Milledge
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
January 30, 1809 – May 21, 1809
Preceded byStephen R. Bradley
Succeeded byAndrew Gregg
United States Senator
from Georgia
In office
June 19, 1806 – November 14, 1809
Preceded byJames Jackson
Succeeded byCharles Tait
26th Governor of Georgia
In office
November 4, 1802 – September 23, 1806
Preceded byJosiah Tattnall
Succeeded byJared Irwin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1795 – March 3, 1799
Preceded byThomas P. Carnes
Succeeded byBenjamin Taliaferro
In office
March 4, 1801 – May 1802
Preceded byJames Jones
Succeeded byPeter Early
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 1st district
In office
November 22, 1792 – March 3, 1793
Preceded byAnthony Wayne
Succeeded byNone, seat eliminated
4th Attorney General of Georgia
In office
Preceded byWilliams Stephens
Succeeded bySamuel Stirk
Personal details
Born1757 (1757)
Savannah, Province of Georgia, British America
Died (aged 60–61)
Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Republican

John Milledge (1757 – February 9, 1818) was an American politician. He fought in the American Revolution and later served as United States Representative, 26th Governor of Georgia, and United States Senator.[1] Milledge was a founder of Athens, Georgia, and the University of Georgia. From January to May 1809, Milledge served briefly as President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

Revolutionary War

John Milledge was born in Savannah, the grandson of an original settler of Georgia. He was tutored privately and studied law. After being admitted to the bar, he opened a law practice in Savannah. He owned slaves.[2] At the onset of the Revolutionary War, Milledge was part of a group that took colonial governor Sir James Wright as a prisoner in 1775. He also took part in a raid of Savannah's royal armory to procure gunpowder for the revolutionary cause. When the British captured Savannah, Milledge escaped to South Carolina, where American patriots nearly hanged him as a spy. He participated in the Siege of Savannah in an attempt to drive the British forces out. In 1778, he served as an aide to Governor John Houstoun in an abortive campaign against the British in East Florida. In 1781, as a colonel in the Georgia militia, he helped to recapture Augusta.[3]

Political career

State legislature and U.S. Congress

Milledge's political career began in 1779, when he was elected to the patriot general assembly. After serving as the attorney general of Georgia, Milledge was a member of the Georgia General Assembly. While in the General Assembly, he spoke out forcefully against the Yazoo Land Acts.[4] In 1792, the House of Representatives declared the seat of Anthony Wayne vacant due to disputes over his residency. Milledge was elected to the Second Congress to fill this vacancy and served from November 22, 1792, to March 3, 1793.[5] Later, Milledge would be elected to the Fourth and Fifth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1795, to March 3, 1799. In 1801, he was again elected to Congress, this time as a Democratic-Republican, and served from March 4, 1801, until he resigned in May 1802 to become Governor of Georgia.

Governor of Georgia

Milledge was Governor of Georgia from 1802 to 1806. As governor, he created Georgia's first land lottery to combat corruption in the distribution of former Creek lands to settlers.[6] He also reorganized the state militia, and built a road from Georgia to Tennessee passing through Cherokee lands.[7]

In 1803, Milledgeville, Georgia, state capital from 1804 to 1868, was named in his honor.[8]

U.S. Senate

In 1806, he was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Jackson. He was a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the policies of President Thomas Jefferson. In the 10th United States Congress, he was named President pro tempore of the Senate. He served as a Senator from June 19, 1806, until November 14, 1809, when he resigned.

Foreign Policy

With regards to the Napoleonic Wars, Milledge was outspokenly pro-British. Milledge remained very hostile to the French Revolution and believed that a close relationship with the United Kingdom was in the interest of the United States. Milledge said he saw "no value" in attempting to maintain relations with revolutionary France.[9]

The University of Georgia

While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Milledge was named to a commission to establish a site for the state University of Georgia (incorporated January 27, 1785). On July 25, 1801, Milledge bought with his own money some land[10] on the Oconee River for the school,[11] and named the surrounding area Athens, in honor of the city of Plato's Academy.

John Milledge Hall (circa 1921 as a male dormitory) at the University of Georgia, now houses the Division of Academic Enhancement and the Regents' Center for Learning Disorders.

Death and legacy

After retiring from the United States Senate, Milledge returned home, to live out his final years at his plantation near Augusta, Georgia. He died there, February 9, 1818, and was buried in Summerville Cemetery in that same city.[12]

Milledge Avenue in downtown Athens is named for him. Milledge Road in Augusta is also named for him.[13]

John Milledge Academy in Milledgeville is named for John Milledge.


  1. ^ "MILLEDGE, John, (1757 - 1818)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  2. ^ "Congress slaveowners", The Washington Post, January 19, 2022, retrieved July 8, 2022
  3. ^ Carey, Charles W. (2010). American National Biography. London: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ "Yazoo Land Indents Purchased by South Carolina, Motion by John Milledge of Georgia, Dec. 30, 1795". Yazoo Land Fraud Records, General Administrative Records, Surveyor General, RG 3-1-69. Georgia Archives. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Lamplugh, George R. (Fall 2010). "James Gunn: Georgia Federalist, 1789-1801". Georgia Historical Quarterly. 94 (3).
  6. ^ Milledge, John. "[Land grant with map for plot in] Baldwin County, Georgia, 1805 Oct. 10 / [authorized by] Jno. [i.e. John] Milledge, Governor of [Georgia]". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  7. ^ Meigs, Return J. "Articles of agreement between the United States and the Cherokee Nation for opening a road from the state of Tennessee to the state of Georgia through the Cherokee Nation / [recorded by] Return J. Meigs". Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. Digital Library of Georgia. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  8. ^ "An investigation of the claims of John Milledge to the honor of giving a name to the permanent seat of government of the state of Georgia". James Walter Mason Collection, Special Collections, and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Digital Library of Georgia.
  9. ^ Brown, Barbara Buckley. John Milledge, Patriot, Politician, Philanthropist, 1757-1818. N.p.: Georgia State University, 1980.
  10. ^ "University of Georgia Plat". Colonial and Headright Plat Books, Survey Records, Surveyor General, 3-3-11. Georgia Archives.
  11. ^ "University of Georgia Land Grant, Oct. 13, 1785". Colonial and Headright Grant Books, Headright and Land Grant Records, Surveyor General, 3-4-12. Georgia Archives.
  12. ^ "Graves of John Milledge and his two wives, Summerville Cemetery, Augusta, Georgia". spc19-020, Box 19, Small Print Collection, RG 48-2-1. Georgia Archives.
  13. ^ "This Day in Georgia History February 09, 1819 John Milledge Died". GeorgiaInfo: an Online Georgia Almanac. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byAnthony Wayne Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's 1st congressional district November 22, 1792 – March 3, 1793 Succeeded byThomas P. Carnes Preceded byThomas P. Carnes Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's at-large congressional district March 4, 1795 – March 3, 1799 Succeeded byBenjamin Taliaferro Preceded byJames Jones Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia's at-large congressional district March 4, 1801 – May 1802 Succeeded byPeter Early Political offices Preceded byJosiah Tattnall Governor of Georgia 1802–1806 Succeeded byJared Irwin U.S. Senate Preceded byJames Jackson U.S. senator (Class 3) from Georgia June 19, 1806 – November 14, 1809, Served alongside: Abraham Baldwin, George Jones, William H. Crawford Succeeded byCharles Tait Honorary titles Preceded byStephen R. Bradley President pro tempore of the United States Senate January 30, 1809 – May 21, 1809 Succeeded byAndrew Gregg