Historic Markers Across Georgia

Home of Joseph Henry Lumpkin Georgia's First Chief Justice

Marker ID: GHM 029-12
Location: 248 Prince Ave., Athens, GA
County: Clarke
Coordinates: N 33° 57.631    W 083° 22.971
  33.960516    -83.38285
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM2GD
Home of Joseph Henry Lumpkin Georgia's First Chief Justice Marker  


Joseph Henry Lumpkin, born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, Dec. 23, 1799, entered the University of Georgia at fifteen, completing his college education at Princeton, New Jersey, in 1819. Lumpkin passed the bar in 1820 and began practicing law in Lexington, Georgia. He served in the State Legislature, 1824 and 1825, and helped from the Georgia Penal Code, 1833. When the Georgia Supreme Court was formed in 1845, the General Assembly elected Lumpkin, Hiram Warner, and Eugenius Nisbet to the bench. His colleagues chose Lumpkin Chief Justice, and he held that position until his death, June 4, 1867. When the University added a school of law, it was given Lumpkin´s name, and he lectured there until the outbreak of the Civil War. The eloquent opinions of Georgia´s first Chief Justice, who revered the spirit as well as the letter of the law, were of inestimable importance in firmly establishing the Supreme Court as part of the State´s legal system.

Lumpkin´s beautiful Greek Revival home was built in 1842. After his death in 1867, the house was used by Madama Sophie Sosnowski as her "Home School" for young ladies. It is now the home of the Athens Woman´s Club.