John Milledge (1757-February 9, 1818) was an American politician. He fought in the American Revolution and was later a United States Representative and a Senator representing Georgia. He was a founder of Athens, Georgia and the University of Georgia.
Milledge was born in Savannah, Georgia, the grandson of an original settler of Georgia. He was tutored privately and studied law. After being admitted to the bar, he opened a law practice in Savannah. At the onset of the Revolutionary War, Milledge was part of a group that took colonial governor Sir James Wright as a prisoner in 1775. He also took part in a raid of Savannah's royal armory to procure gunpowder for the revolutionary cause. When the British captured Savannah, Milledge escaped to South Carolina, where American patriots nearly hanged him as a spy. He participated in the Siege of Savannah in an attempt to drive the British forces out.
After serving as the attorney general of Georgia, Milledge was member of the Georgia state legislature. In 1792, the House of Representatives declared the seat of Anthony Wayne vacant due to disputes over his residency. Milledge was elected to the Second Congress to fill this vacancy and served from November 22, 1792, to March 3, 1793. Later, Milledge would be elected to the Fourth and Fifth Congresses, serving from March 4, 1795 to March 3, 1799. In 1801, he was again elected to Congress, this time as a Democratic Republican, and served until he resigned in May 1802 to become Governor of Georgia. During this time, he was named to a commission to establish a site for the state university. On July 25, 1801, Milledge bought with his own money some land on the Oconee River for the school, and named the surrounding area Athens, in honor of the city of Plato's Academy.
Milledge was Governor of Georgia from 1802 to 1806. As governor, he created Georgia's first land lottery to combat corruption in the distribution of former Creek land to settlers. He also reorganized the state militia, and built a road from Georgia to Tennessee passing through Cherokee lands. In 1803, Milledgeville, Georgia, state capital from 1804 to 1868, was named in his honor.
In 1806, he was elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Jackson. In the Tenth Congress, he was named President pro tempore of the Senate. He served until November 14, 1809, when he resigned. He died on his plantation near Augusta, Georgia.
This article incorporates facts obtained from the public domain Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.