Earliest Georgia Copy of Declaration of Independence Found at State Archives

Special to HarpBlaster.com

ATLANTA – Greg Jarrell was looking for information to help a patron locate her Revolutionary War ancestor when he noticed a unique index entry: Declaration of the Independence of the United States.

At the end of the familiar text are the names of all the signers of the Declaration along with these words: “In Congress, Jan. 1777 Ordered: That an authenticated copy of the Declaration of Independence with the names of the members of Congress subscribing the same, be sent to each of the United States and that they be desired to have the same put on record. By Order of Congress, John Hancock, President Recorded 2nd March 1777.”

“I tracked down the original book and turned to the page and found that it was the Declaration as officially recorded by the state in 1777,” said Jarrell, Georgia Archives reference archivist.

“This is certainly one for the history books,” exclaimed Secretary of State Karen Handel, announcing today that an alert employee at the Georgia Archives has identified the earliest known official copy of the Declaration of Independence recorded in the State of Georgia.

According to archives director, David Carmicheal, the recorded copy is especially significant because the state’s original copy of the Declaration was lost long ago. “When Georgia officials received their copy of the Declaration from Congress, they immediately recorded it in their books as the official record of the event. After that, they would have considered the original to be less important.”

According to Carmicheal, the document was overlooked because it was in a book that was rebound around sixty years ago.

“The people who rebound the book put the wrong title on the cover,” he said. “No one thought to look in this particular volume for such a document.”

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