Monday, January 22, 2007

GA's Earliest Declaration of Independence Found

A clerk's copy of the Declaration of Independence, believed to be the "earliest-known official copy of the [document] recorded in the state of Georgia," has been discovered in the Georgia State Archives, according to reports. The copy was made in March, 1777, after an authenticated Declaration was sent to the state on orders of the Contintental Congress. That original copy has been lost.

Vicki Gavalas, a spokesperson for the GA secretary of state's office, said that the document "was carefully copied with the signatures of the signers. The scribe copied John Hancock's signature very big as it was on the original document. Georgia was in the midst of the Revolutionary War. We believe the document was sent to the state capital of Savannah. But Savannah was occupied. It may have been written in an encampment."

Reference archivist Greg Jarrell found the Declaration in a rebound volume labeled (incorrectly) "State Officers Appointments 1789-1827, Part 2." Archives director David Carmichael said of the find "The people who rebound the book [in 1945] put the wrong title on the cover. No one thought to look in the particular volume for such a document."