Person:Isabella Erwin (1)

Isabella ERWIN
Facts and Events
Name Isabella ERWIN
Gender Female
Birth? Abt 1759 Salisbury, Rowan Co. NC
Marriage to Jared IRWIN
Death? 23 Feb 1823 Sandersville, Washington Co. GA

Information on Isabel Erwin Elson Irwin's files and from BillTimmons' manuscript.

(SOURCE" "White Columns in Georgia," by Medora Field Parkinson,Bonanza Books, New York - Library of Congress Catalog CardNumber: - 52-5572 - 1953. Chapter 10 (Page 64) "She Wanted Style - But Got a Broken Leg" "The first, first lady of Milledgeville refused to travel to thegovernor's mansion in an ox cart. She had her own ideas of whatwas suitable. Later, it is true, she regretted her choice ofconveyance.

nyway, that first Milledgeville mansion was only a loghouse onFishing Creek. Milledgeville's many beautiful Greek Revivalhoues were yet to be built when Mrs. Jared Irwin arrived asfirst lady.

Georgia's capital has been stationery in Atlanta since 1868, butit was pretty portable in its earlier years. Savannah had itfirst, of course. When the British took over in 1779, Augustabecame the seat of government. Military matters got so hot thatfor one year the capital took refuge at Fort Heard, then wentback to Augusta. In 1795, Louisville was selected as the newstate capital. It was here in 1803 that Governor John Milledgeappointed a commission to seek a site suitable for a "permanent"capital.

There were many fine springs on the chosen site near the head ofthe Oconee River, and the river itself was important as a meansof transportation before the invention of the steam engine.

Milledgeville was literally carved out of the wilderness, onland that had been Indian country until the treaty of 1802. LikeWashington D.C., it is one of the few cities in the countryoriginally planned as a seat of government. Milledgeville'sstreets are a hundred feet wide. Two of them, Washington andJefferson are 120 feet across.

The new town was named for Governor Milledge, but in themeantime he had been elected to the United States Senate andJared Irwin, president of the Georgia Senate, was appointed tofill the unexpired term.

Mrs. Irwin was like any other woman. It would not be fitting,she told her husband, for the governor and first lady of Georgiato travel to the new capital in an oxcart. A statesman shouldarrive in state -- and his wife, too, of course.

The governor pointed out that she could scarcely expect to ridein one of the official wagons carrying the treasury, publicrecords, etc. (There were fifteen of these wagons, escorted by amounted troop sent down from Washington D.C. for the purpose.)

Certainly not, Mrs. Irwin agreed. The governor should buy a gig.They would travel in that. The governor was like most husbands.He bought a gig -- "a light carriage with two wheels, drawn by ahorse, a kind of chaise," says the dictionary. (Old Georgia taxdigests listed such vehicles as "two pleasure wheels.)

On that day in May of 1807, Mrs. Irwin found the new gig sopleasant she declined to leave it even to dine at an inn enroute. She demanded curb service. All would have been wellexcept for a white rooster that celebrated the visit of state bymounting a nearby fence and crowing practically in the horse'sear. This so frightened the tethered animal that his wildplunging upset both Mrs. Irwin's tray and the gig. The first lady herself landed on the ground with a broken leg.She was, after all, taken by oxcart to Milledgeville. Nobodythere minded the oxcart, of course."