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Edward Telfair (1735 – September 17, 1807) was the Governor of the state of Georgia in 1786, and again from 1790 through 1793. He was a member of the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Articles of Confederation.
Telfair was born in 1735 in Town Head, Scotland. He graduated from the Kirkcudbright Grammar School, before he acquired commercial training. He immigrated to America in 1758 as an agent of a commission house, settling in Virginia. Telfair subsequently moved to Halifax, North Carolina, and finally to Savannah, Georgia, where he established his own commission house in 1766.
Telfair was a slave owner and a consultant on slavery issues. His mercantile firm dealt in slaves, among other things, and contemporary correspondence of his included discussions of such topics as: the management of slaves; the purchase and sale of slaves; runaway slaves; the mortality rate of slaves born on plantations; the difficulty of selling closely related slaves; and the relations between whites and freedmen.
Telfair was a member of a Committee of Safety (1775–1776), and was a delegate to the Georgia Provincial Congress meeting at Savannah in 1776. He was also a member of the Georgia Committee of Intelligence in 1776.
Telfair was elected to the Continental Congress for 1778, 1780, 1781, and 1782. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. In 1783, during the Chickamauga Wars, Telfair was commissioned to treat with the Chickamauga Cherokee Indians. Telfair was the designated agent (on behalf of Georgia) in talks aimed at settling the northern boundary dispute with North Carolina in February 1783. He was a Governor of the state of Georgia.
Telfair was one of only 12 men who received electoral votes during the first election for President and Vice President of the United States, receiving the vote of one unrecorded elector from his home state of Georgia.
Telfair died in Savannah in 1807, and was buried in Bonaventure Cemetery there.
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- Edward Telfair Papers, 1764–1831; 906 Items & 5 Volumes; Savannah, Georgia; "Papers of a merchant, governor of Georgia, and delegate to the Continental Congress".
- Journal of the Senate; Vol. 1; 1789; p8.
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