George Fort Milton
George F. Milton, Chattanooga newspaper publisher and Democratic political activist, was born in Macon, Georgia, and educated in Chattanooga. After attending the University of the South at Sewanee, Milton entered the banking business in Chattanooga. He left banking to become the editor and manager of the Taxpayer, a monthly publication devoted to tax reform and political issues. In 1895 he moved to Knoxville to edit the Knoxville Sentinel. Three years later, he accepted an appointment as first lieutenant in the Sixth United State Volunteer Infantry and remained with his regiment until the conclusion of the Spanish-American War.
In 1899 Milton returned to Knoxville and bought a two-thirds interest in the Sentinel; in 1901 he acquired the paper’s remaining stock. While at the Sentinel Milton led the fight to pass Knoxville’s prohibition law in 1907. The next year he supported former U.S. Senator Edward Ward Carmack in his race against Governor Malcolm Patterson for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. In 1909 he bought a two-thirds interest in the Chattanooga News. After managing both papers for three years, Milton sold the Sentinel and returned to Chattanooga. In 1910 he supported the fusion movement, a coalition of Republicans and prohibition Democrats, which resulted in the election of Republican Ben W. Hooper as governor.
Milton continued to be interested in tax reform and served on a state tax commission in 1915 and 1917. He also supported Henry Ford’s efforts to bring about peace in Europe prior to the United States entry into World War I in 1917. He visited Europe in 1915 and 1916 with the Ford Peace Party, which worked to end the war.
Milton, whose second wife, Abby Crawford Milton, was president of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage League, served on the Men’s Ratification Committee in support of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. He also worked for improvements in the Tennessee River to make it navigable. Milton died in 1924 in Murfreesboro while campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate William G. McAdoo. He is buried in Chattanooga.