William Yates Atkinson, Governor

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William Yates Atkinson

Birthdate: (44)
Birthplace: Oakland, Meriwether, Georgia, United States
Death: August 8, 1899 (44)
Newnan, Coweta, Georgia, United States
Place of Burial: Oak Hill Cemetery, Coweta, Georgia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Pepper Atkinson and Theodora Phelps Atkinson
Husband of Susan Cobb Milton Atkinson
Father of Dr. John Pepper Atkinson; Lucille Baltzell; William Yates Atkinson, Jr.; Bert Milton Atkinson; Miriam Milton Mitchell and 1 other
Brother of Theodore Ellis Atkinson; Lucy Alice Ellis; Elizabeth Cummings; Thomas Alexander Atkinson and Roswell James Atkinson
Half brother of Mary Yates Mallory; Martha Ann Mallory and John Pepper Atkinson

Occupation: Georgia Governor. State Representative (Speaker of the House)
Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About William Yates Atkinson, Governor


William Yates Atkinson (November 11, 1854, Oakland, Georgia – August 8, 1899, Newnan, Georgia) was the 55th Governor of Georgia from 1894 to 1898.

Atkinson graduated from the University of Georgia with an LL.B in 1877. He married Susie Cobb Milton in 1880. (Their son, William Yates Atkinson, Jr., was the Georgia Democratic state chair in 1942 as well as a Georgia state Supreme Court justice from 1943 to 1948.)

The elder Atkinson was the solicitor of the Coweta Superior Court circuit. He then represented Coweta County as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives (1886–94), where he was the speaker, or presiding officer, during the last two years. He was also the Georgia Democratic Party state chair from 1890 to 1892.

Atkinson died on August 8, 1899 in Newnan, Georgia, aged 44. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in that city.

Other notable facts about Atkinson:

He hired the first woman salaried employee in state government, Ellen Dortch, as assistant state librarian.
Atkinson County, Georgia is named for him.
In 1897, he vetoed a law that would have prohibited football in the state, due in part to an impassioned letter from Rosalind Burns Gammon, whose son's death had initiated the anti-football legislation.
As a state representative, he introduced a bill that established the Georgia Normal and Industrial College, which later became Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia.
He bravely confronted the mob in the infamous Sam Hose lynching and tried to get them to allow the legal justice system to take its course. He was unsuccessful, however, and Hose was lynched soon after Atkinson confronted the mob.


  • Residence: Meriwether, Georgia, United States - 1860
  • Residence: District 9, Meriwether, Georgia, United States - 1870
  • Residence: Newnan, Coweta, Georgia, United States - 1880
  • Residence: Beat 1, Newton, Mississippi - 1900
  • Reference: FamilySearch Family Tree - SmartCopy: Oct 9 2016, 22:19:00 UTC
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William Yates Atkinson, Governor's Timeline

November 11, 1854
Oakland, Meriwether, Georgia, United States
February 2, 1881
Age 26
Newnan, Coweta, Georgia, United States
March 27, 1884
Age 29
Newnan, Coweta, Georgia, United States
Age 32
of, GA, USA
March 20, 1889
Age 34
Ga, Usa
November 23, 1892
Age 38
Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, United States
October 10, 1895
Age 40
Atlanta, Fulton County, GA, USA
August 8, 1899
Age 44
Newnan, Coweta, Georgia, United States
August 8, 1899
Age 44
Oak Hill Cemetery, Coweta, Georgia, United States