Peter Early was born June 20, 1773 in Madison County, Virginia, son of Joel Early (1738-1807) and Lucy Smith (c1745). He was an American lawyer, jurist and politician; serving as a member of the United States House of Representatives, Governor of Georgia and a member of the Georgia Senate.
He graduated from Lexington Academy (now Washington and Lee University) and Princeton College. His family moved to Wilkes County, Georgia in 1792; while, Peter was studying law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon completing his legal studies, Early also moved to Wilkes County, where he married Ann Adams Smith (1783-1822), daughter of Francis Smith, Jr. and Lucy Wilkinson.
Early was elected a Representative from Georgia to the 8th and 9th United States Congress. He did not seek reelection in 1806, but instead was elected by the Georgia General Assembly in 1807 as judge of the Superior Court of the Georgia Ocmulgee Circuit. In 1813, he was elected as the 28th Governor of Georgia. Early did not seek re-election and moved back to Greene County, Georgia where he was elected to the Georgia Senate. He died on August 15, 1817 during his first term as a State Senator. Originally buried near his home, Fontenoy Plantation in Greene Co., he was reinterred in the Greensboro City Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia in 1914. Early County, Georgia was named in his honor in 1818.
Peter and Lucy Smith Early were the parents of seven children: Agustus, Alexander,Peter Jr., Francis, Lucy W., Cynthia A. and Thomas Early.