Our Georgia History


Rev. John Joachim Zubly



Born:August 27, 1724, Switzerland
Died:July 23, 1781, Savannah

During the Second Continental Congress, Presbyterian minister John J. Zubly stood his ground against the finest Radical minds in America. He stood firmly against independence, and would eventually be forced to leave the Congress. Today the minister is regarded as aberration, a man who had led the Radicals to believe he was one of them, then turned on them at the Congress. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Zubly or Zubley?
People frequently want to add an "e" to Reverend Zubly's name. He spelled it Zubly, while other families with the same name added the "e" (Zubley)
Moving to America from Switzerland, young John Zubly arrived at Charles Town, South Carolina when he was twenty years old. The earliest mention of Rev. Zubly in Georgia occurs in 1756, when he traveled from South Carolina to Georgia to give a sermon in a local church. Warmly received by the congregation, in 1758 he moved to Savannah, accepting a position with the Independent Town Meeting (Presbyterian).

Zubly was a leader in the German Calvinist movement, but his success was not just in the pulpit. His debates with Samuel Frink, another local minister, were printed throughout the Southeast. He was successful in the role of planter as well.

With the passing of the Stamp Act in 1766, Zubly began to speak against the Parliament and the king's advisors, whom he blamed for the failure of the crown. He was popular with the Georgia radicals not only for his oratory ability, but also for tying revolutionary ideals to scripture, something he did repeatedly throughout this portion of his career.

During the next several years, Zubly became a highly respected leader of Radical Georgia. The reverend delivered sermons not only in churches but at many political rallies and the provincial congress. He was called on the open Georgia's Lower House with a prayer on many occasions.

It was because of his beliefs that Rev. John Zubly was chosen to attend the Second Continental Congress. His selection as one of the initial group of Georgians to go to Philadelphia occurred on July 7, 1775, two months after the start of the Congress. Along with Zubly were other members of the Radical elite: Archibald Bulloch, John Houstoun, Noble W. Jones, and Lyman Hall. Zubly never supported an independent nation. He felt that America's differences with the king and parliament needed to be worked out between America and Britain, and that America should retain the monarch.

After arriving in Philadelphia too late to participate in the drafting and signing of the Olive Branch Petition, he realized how out of step he was with some of the other delegates. Mr. Zubly assured Congress that he "did hope for a reconciliation and that this winter may bring it. I may enjoy my hopes for reconciliation; others may enjoy theirs that none will take place" while pointing out that Congress must speedily obtain one of two things--"a reconciliation with Great Britain, or the means of carrying on

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