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Life of Nathan Brownson (1742-1796)
Liberty history
NR Nathan Brownson Marker
A historical marker outside the historic Midway Church honors Nathan Brownson
 Nathan Brownson was born in Woodbury, Conn., in 1742. After he graduated from Yale University in 1761, Brownson studied medicine and became a physician where he went on to practice in Connecticut.
Brownson moved from Connecticut to Riceboro in 1774. Soon after his arrival to Liberty County, he led the struggle against British autocracy.
Brownson was one of the representatives from St. John’s Parish to the second full Provincial Congress that met in Savannah in July 1775. On Oct. 9, 1776, Georgians chose him as a delegate to the Continental Congress and re-elected him to a second term in 1777.
Brownson was Georgia’s governor for the latter part of the year 1781, when Georgia was attempting to reestablish its government after the British was driven out of Augusta during the American Revolution (1775-1783). He was the first physician to serve as governor of Georgia.
Economic standing, religion, politics, geography and anxiety, spawned by the overwhelming losses on the battlefield, as well as the British occupation of Georgia, caused the Georgia patriots to be profoundly at odds.
At times, it seemed Georgia parties fought more with each other than they did with the British. In ill feeling of his strong traditional opinion, Brownson showed, by his voting record in Congress, he was prepared to muse on the views of his political adversaries. His demonstrated facility to work with people of anecdotal political values probably aided in his election as governor and unanimously elected speaker of the assembly in 1781.
Gov. Brownson immediately set out to secure Georgia in opposition to the intrigues of public and private enemies, and to take actions intended to restore serenity, harmony and opulence to the state.
During his short term in office, the government of Georgia put into action measures to encourage the homecoming of citizens who had fled the state because of the destitution of the war. It also passed legislation calculated to obtain food and clothing for those whose farms and businesses were ruined by the war. The state also had to provide a protection against the unrelenting threat of British troops. In January 1782, John Martin was elected to succeed Brownson as governor of Georgia.
Brownson’s career in public service continued after his term as governor. In June 1782, he was appointed deputy supplier for all of the southern hospitals. In the 1780s, he served as a representative in the Georgia House of Assembly. He was also a member of the Georgia convention that endorsed the United States Constitution in 1788.
In 1789, he served in the convention that rewrote Georgia’s constitution. He became the first president of the new Georgia senate and served in that office from 1790 to 1791. He joined with others in working for the establishment of a state-supported organization of higher education that became known as the University of Georgia.
On Oct. 18, 1796, Brownson died at his home in Riceboro. There is a Historical marker dedicated to Nathan Brownson on Highway 17 in Midway.
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