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Biographical Sketch of Matthew Talbot
1769 - 1827
Governor of Georgia, 1819; President of the Georgia Senate 1811, 1817-1822

By
John Lamar Mills




Matthew Talbot accompanied his father when he moved from Bedford County, Virginia to Wilkes County Georgia about 1783.  Among his youthful pursuits were land surveying and service in the Georgia militia, after which he became known as "Captain" Matthew Talbot.  His first marriage was reported in the Augusta Chronicle and Gazette as follows:

            "In Wilkes County, Tuesday the 5th inst., CAPT., MATTHEW TALBOT to the amiable MISS ANNA TWINNING.  Sept. 14, 1799,"

Following in his father's footsteps, he entered politics in 1799 and remained active in state politics for virtually the rest of his life.  He was elected to the Georgia General Assembly in that year and to the Georgia Senate in 1808.  He served as President of the Senate in 1811 and 1817 - 22.  As Senate President, he became Governor of Georgia on October 24, 1819, following the death in office of Governor Rabun.  He remained in that office until November 5, 1819, when the Senate elected his political ally, John Clark, as his successor.  In 1823, he was a candidate for governor but lost in the Senate by one vote.  He retired from politics in 1824, but, once again, was a candidate for governor in 1827, when he suddenly died at his home in Washington, GA.  Politics was obviously his main occupation, but he remained active in business and financial affairs.  One interesting project in which he participated was the founding in 1810 of Georgia's first cotton mill in Washington, GA.  The milling industry did not thrive in the South, however, and soon became concentrated in New England, with raw material provided by Southern plantations.

Governor Talbot left no will following his sudden death.  His brother, Thomas, was appointed Administrator of his estate.  Although the estate contained substantial assets, it value was reportedly substantially offset by his obligations.  He apparently paid a material price for his devotion to politics rather than business affairs; however, he was awarded the posthumous honor of having a county (Talbot) and a town (Talbotton) named for him.