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Archibald Bulloch led Georgia at the start of the American Revolution

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The son of James Bulloch and Jean Stobo, Archibald Bulloch was born in Charleston, South Carolina on January 1, 1730. After completing his basic education, Archibald passed the bar and began his law practice. He was later commissioned as a lieutenant in South Carolina’s militia.

Bulloch moved to Georgia in 1758, settling in Savannah in 1764. On October 9th of that year, James married Mary De Veaux, daughter of a prominent Savannah landowner. Before long, Bulloch was selected leader of the Liberty Party and guided the organization as it mounted a resistance to oppressive measures put upon Georgia’s colonial government by Britain. In 1768, he was one of seven candidates from the Liberty Party who was elected to Georgia’s Commons House of Assembly.

On July 27, 1774, Bulloch was one of several individuals who signed an invitation to meet at Tondee’s Tavern in Savannah. The meeting was held to discuss a “critical situation” which resulted from the British Parliament electing to place taxes on the colonies without first obtaining the will of the people. When Georgia’s Provincial Congress later met in the same location in 1775, Bulloch was elected president of the group, in addition to being elected to represent Georgia at the Continental Congress.

During Bulloch’s attendance at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, he received accolades from John Adams regarding his “abilities and fortitude”. Upon arrival, Bulloch was seen wearing homespun clothes in an effort to symbolize the commitment Georgia made to support the embargo on British goods. A member of the Secret Committee, Bulloch was responsible for obtaining ammunition, gunpowder and arms in preparation for the approaching conflict with Britain.

In 1776, rather than remaining to sign the Declaration of Independence, Bulloch returned to Georgia in an effort to aide his fellow patriots during the American Revolution. Under the command of Colonel Lachlan McIntosh, Bulloch served in the Battle of the Rice Boats. On March 25, 1776, Bulloch led an expedition to Tybee Island where participants destroyed various facilities used by the British, in addition to capturing British supporters.

Bulloch was chosen Georgia’s first President and Commander-in-Chief on June 20, 1776. On August 8, the Declaration of Independence was read in Savannah to the Council of Safety. When Georgia’s first constitution was signed into law on February 20, 1777, Bulloch’s title changed from “President” to “Governor”. On February 22nd, Georgia’s Committee of Safety advised Bulloch to “take upon himself the whole Executive Powers of Government” due to British forces invading from Florida.

Hours after the Safety Committee granted Bulloch the powers of a dictator, he died on February 24, 1777due to mysterious circumstances. At the time of his death in Savannah, he was helping to prepare a defense against the British invasion of Georgia. Though it has never been proven, speculation is the governor was poisoned. His death served as a severe blow to the Whig party, due to the fact Bulloch’s was the only leadership which served to unite the party’s factions in Georgia. He was laid to rest in Savannah's Colonial Park Cemetery.

Archibald Bulloch’s legacy in politics later moved to Washington, D.C. and took up residence in the White House. His great-great-grandson, Theodore Roosevelt, became the 26th President of the United States. Later, his great-great-great grandson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd president and Bulloch's great-great-great granddaughter, Eleanor Roosevelt, became First Lady. He is listed as one of the great leaders of the American Revolution.

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