Scandal, Honor and Fatal Duels Mark Gwinnett History

Our county's history goes back to the founding of our nation.

Gwinnett County is filled with interesting, odd and inspirational history. 

This land was once Creek and Cherokee land, and evidence of their lives -- and deaths -- remains here to this day. Between 1789 and 1790 the Native Americans left their land, which included much of the Deep South, to the white settlers, and were officially removed from the land in the 1830s during what is now known as the Trail of Tears. Their land was carved up and distributed to families through a lottery system.

The Livseys, who currently live on the Centerville side of unincorporated Snellville in an area dubbed the Promised Land, received their land through the lottery.

The county itself was named after Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, in 1818, and the Cherokees and Creeks legally gave up the land at that point (click the links to read the full text of the treaties). 

A little tidbit about Button Gwinnett: he served as Georgia's governor for a few months in 1777, and died during a fatal dual with General Lachlan Mclntosh a few months later. According to OurGeorgiaHistory.com, Gwinnett attempted to call a council of war during the Second Florida Expedition. Gwinnett was the leader of the state's militia, but was having a difficult time mustering enough troops. McIntosh, a Scotsman who was leading the American forces in Georgia, and his troops refused to attend the council because Gwinnett had no actual military experience. McIntosh moved his troops on down South, while Gwinnett refused to move his militia. 

McIntosh attempted to get supplies for his army, but Gwinnett convinced the quartermaster to refuse the attempt. 

McIntosh got ticked. He called Gwinnett a "scoundrel" and "lying rascal."

"Oh no, you didn't," Gwinnett presumbly thought, and challenged McIntosh to a duel. McIntosh was shot in the leg, Gwinnett in the hip. Gwinnett died, McIntosh lived until 1806 in Savannah. 

For further reading, visit the Gwinnett County Historical Society's website, which features a detailed description of our county's history. If you have any photos you would like to share of historical places in Gwinnett, add them here!

"History of Gwinnett" will run once a week. We will feature historic places, people and events. If you have any suggestions for future columns, email Crystal.Huskey@patch.com.

Next week, this column will focus on Indian burial grounds in Gwinnett. 


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