Marker Text: Born in Meriwether County, William Yates Atkinson settled in Newnan after receiving a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1877. Elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 1886, he served four terms in the House, becoming Speaker in 1892. In the House, he helped establish Georgia Normal and Industrial College (now Georgia College and State University). Elected to two terms as governor, he served from 1894-1898. He championed progressive issues, hiring Georgia’s first salaried female state employee, Helen Dortch Longstreet, as Assistant State Librarian in 1894. Atkinson died at age 44 and is buried in the Presbyterian section of Newnan’s Oak Hill Cemetery.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, and the Coweta County Genealogical Society