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Josiah Telfair

Home Town:
Savannah, GA
Biographical Notes:
Josiah Telfair was the son of Edward and Sally Gibbons Telfair. His father, a signer of the Articles of Confederation, was the first Governor of Georgia under its new constitution of 1789 and was a prominent plantation owner. His sisters Mary and Margaret later donated money which was used to establish the Telfair Hospital in Savannah, GA. His brother Thomas also attended the Law School.

The Telfair family was one of the most prominent in 18th and 19th century Georgia. After his older brother Edward died in 1807, Josiah became the patriarch of the family. He spent most of his time managing his father's estate and running the family's plantation. He took little interest in the social life of Savannah and never married.
Additional Notes:
Josiah and his brother Thomas both fell deeply in love with Litchfield Female Academy student Elizabeth Hannah Canfield, the daughter of Judson & Mabel [Ruggles] Canfield, who was known as "the Rose of Sharon [CT]." One of the brothers "offered himself and was refused" and "afterwards walked the twenty miles from Litchfield to Sharon only to gaze at the light in her window and walk back again."

Emily Noyes Vanderpoel, Chronicles of a Pioneer School from 1792 to 1833: Being the History of Miss Sarah Pierce and her Litchfield School (1903) p.128.

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1803.

Profession / Service
Political Office
State Posts:
State Representative (GA) 1813

help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1804, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.

Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany, and Company, 1849.
Secondary Sources:
The New Georgia Encyclopedia (online) -

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