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1531611

George Walton

Walton signs twice as Chief Justice of Georgia

on an action to collect a bond

George Walton, ca. 1749–1804.  Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Governor of Georgia, 1779–1780, 1789–1790; Chief Justice of Georgia, 1783–1789.  Manuscript Document Signed twice, Geo Walton., three pages, with integral leaf attached, 8” x 12½”, no place, no date [September 1784].

Walton, as Chief Justice, signs orders to issue a summons and to require the defendant to appear personally in a lawsuit by the Georgia Attorney General to collect a debt due to the state.   The action was brought by “His Honor John Houstoun esquire . . . Governor of the said State, in behalf of the People or Government of the same, in the name of himself and his Successors in office” against a resident of Chatham County, the coastal county that includes Savannah.  The petition alleges that William McIntosh, Jr., posted a bond to guarantee the payment of interest on an obligation of his father, Lachlan McIntosh, who had since died, and that “the days for payment of the same being passed, . . . neither the said Lachlan in his life time or the said William since his death, or either of them have or hath paid or satisfied the same altho required to do so.”  The amount due was £35.14s., so the petition seeks judgment for “the value of seventy pounds like money,” since the bond was for double the amount owed.  It seeks an order “that process may issue against the said William McIntosh surviving obligor requiring him that he be and appear before the Justices of the Superior Court to be held in and for the said County of Chatham on the first Tuesday in October next, then and there to answer thee said default,” and  alleges that “your petitioner will then bring into Court, the Bonds or Obligations, and conditions above mentioned, by which the truth of your petitioners [sic] allegation will evidently appear.”

Walton has signed the order to “Let process issue” and a second order that “defendant William McIntosh surviving obligor is hereby required personally or by his attorney, to be and appear before the Justices of the Superior Court, to be held in and for the County of Chatham on the first Tuesday of October next, then and there to answer the Plaintiffs [sic] demands in an Action of Debt and so forth, to his damage Seventy pounds specie as in default of such Appearance the said Justices will proceed as to Justice shall appertain.”

A lawyer who was active in Georgiaʼs revolutionary government, Walton served in the Continental Congress 1776–1778 and was one of Georgiaʼs three signers of the Declaration of Independence.  After his return to Georgia, he was captured in the British during the 1779 Battle of Savannah but was released in exchange for a British naval officer.  Soon thereafter, he was elected Governor, but he served only two months before he was reelected to Congress. 

Walton has signed this document boldly in two places.  The document has minor edge and fold splits, with minor edge chipping and minor paper loss where the folds cross the fold line of the integral leaf.  There are also notations in other hands on the back of the integral leaf, with some show-through behind one of Walton’s signatures.  Overall the document is in fine condition. 

Unframed.

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