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He was born in Savannah, Georgia on December 4, 1848; his parents were Ralph M. Meldrim and Jane Fawcett Meldrim. He had Irish heritage and was president of the local Hibernian Society from 1887 to 1912.
At age 16 he fought in the defence of Savannah against Sherman's March to the Sea. He was privately tutored, attended Chatham Academy, then attended the University of Georgia, Class of 1868, where he was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was a charter member of the Eta Chapter of the Chi Phi Fraternity. He was the Phi Beta Kappa anniversary orator. In 1869 obtained an LL.B, then in 1871 earned an M.A., also from the University of Georgia. He awarded an honorary LL.D. from the University in 1913.He married his wife, Frances P. Casey, in 1881.
He became chairman of the Georgia State Commission on the Education of Colored Persons from its inception in 1891, and worked to expand African-Americans' access to education.
In 1881 General Meldrim was elected to the Georgia State Senate, in 1891 elected as an alderman of the city of Savannah, Georgia, and ran for Mayor of Savannah in 1897 defeating incumbent Herman Myers. Two years later, though, he declined to run for re-election and Myers became mayor again.
Meldrim was a highly regarded attorney known for his handling of complex cases and oratory who served as a commissioner from Georgia on the Uniform Law Commission which works to enact uniform state laws nationally, presented addresses on law to various state and national bar associations, served as president of the Georgia State Bar in 1904, became chairman of the American Bar Association Committee on Jurisprudence and Law Reform, then the Association's president in 1915. From 1917 to 1933, he was a superior court judge with the Savannah-based Eastern Judicial Circuit.
General Meldrim died on 13 December 1933 at his home, the historic Green-Meldrim House, where he had resided since 1892. At his death he was still a superior court judge, president of the Georgia State Agricultural Society, a member of assorted social and civic clubs including the Capital City Club, and a trustee of the University of Georgia.
Herman Myers, Democrat
|Mayor of Savannah|
Herman Myers, Democrat