I. William, an American inventor, born in New Jersey about 1760, died in Georgia in 1814. He early removed to Georgia, and in 1790 wrote a letter to Thomas Telfair of Savannah asking his assistance in raising the means to construct a boat to be propelled by steam. This letter was published in the Savannah and Augusta newspapers; the necessary funds were subsequently furnished, and he constructed a small model boat, upon a plan very different from Fulton's, which went on the Savannah river against the stream at the rate of five miles an hour. Cotton had previously been ginned by two rollers, not quite one inch in diameter, which caught the fibres, pressed out the seed, and delivered the clean cotton on the other side, where it was taken by the ginner's hand, and deposited in a bag attached to his person. Longstreet invented and patented the " breast roller," moved by horse power, which entirely superseded the old method. He set up two of his gins in Augusta, which were propelled by steam and worked admirably; but they were destroyed by fire within a week.
He next erected a set of steam mills near St. Mary's, Ga., which were destroyed by the British in the war of 1812. These disasters exhausted his resources and discouraged his enterprise, though he was confident that steam would soon supersede all other motive powers.
II. Augustus Baldwin, an American author, son of the preceding, born in Augusta, Ga., Sept. 22, 1790, died at Oxford, Miss., Sept. 9, 1870. He graduated at Yale college in 1813, studied law at Litchfield, Conn., and in 1815 was admitted to the bar in Georgia. In 1821 he was elected to the legislature, in 1822 became judge of the superior court of Georgia, and in 1824 was a candidate for congress. But the death of one of his children turning his thoughts to religious subjects, he withdrew from the canvass, declined a reelection to the bench, resumed his practice at the bar for several years, and in the mean while prepared himself for the ministry. In 1838 he became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church, and was stationed at Augusta, Ga. In 1839 he was elected president of Emory college, Georgia, where he remained till 1848, when he became president of Centenary college, Louisiana, and soon afterward of Mississippi university, and in 1857 of South Carolina college, a post which he held until the outbreak of the civil war. He commenced writing for the press at an early age, and was a frequent contributor to periodical literature. Several of his addresses and sermons have been published; but he is best known as a humorous writer.
About 1858 he wrote a serial novel, "Master William Mitten, or a Youth of Brilliant Talents who was ruined by Bad Luck." His "Georgia Scenes in the first Half Century of the Republic," a series of newspaper sketches continued for several years, was collected (2 vols., New York, 1840; revised and enlarged, 1 vol., 1867).