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Revised 27 December 2010

Georgia

Georgia was long deemed to be a prize territory.  The French and the Spanish fought amongst themselves for more than a hundred and sixty years for dominance in this area.  The period in question was from 1540 to about the early 1700s.  When South Carolina became a royal province, the land between the Savannah and the St. Mary's rivers was set aside for a new British colony.

England made it a practice to imprison those individuals who could not pay their debts.  A gentleman and parliamentarian named James Oglethorpe disagreed with this practice and conceived the plan to rehabilitate these poor people by taking them (deporting them) to the New World, giving them a tract of land and assisting them in establishing new homes and a new life in this new territory.  King George II granted him and twenty other men the English territory south of the Savannah.  He brought with him thirty-five families, upon his arrival in 1773 and they established a community at the mouth of the Savannah, which he named after the river.  They established a second community, called Augusta in 1734.  This community was placed about halfway between the mouth of the Savannah River and the border of South Carolina.  during this period, a group of persecuted Protestants in Europe were invited to join the colony.  The Roman Catholics were at first refused admittance into the territory.

In about 1738, the Swiss, German, Italian, Scottish Highlander, Salzberger and Moravian settlers began arriving into Georgia.  In 1739, the community of Frederica was established on the south banks of the Altamaha.  Two years later, 1741, Georgia was divided into two counties.  The territory north of the Altamaha was called Savannah.  The territory south of that river was called Frederica.  Many of the Moravians had come from North Carolina to Spring Place and New Ochota.  It was their desire to convert the Indians to their faith.   When this experiment failed, they later moved from Georgia to Pennsylvania to the areas now called Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Many of the Presbyterians who came to Georgia as Scottish Highlanders, settled in Darien, which they renamed New Inverness.  In 1752, a  1752, a group of Massachusetts Puritans came to Midway.

Georgia became a royal province in 1752.  The colony claimed all of the land between North Carolina and Florida, and the Atlantic and the Mississippi.  

The first counties of Georgia were formed in 1777.  These counties covered only a small portion of the land claimed by the province.  These counties covered the section between the Savannah River and the Oconee and the Altamaha Rivers and another strip about thirty five miles wide, which extended from the Altamaha River to the Florida border.  In 1798 the Territory of Mississippi was created from the western half of Georgia.  That territory later became the states of Alabama and Mississippi.  Georgia ratified the federal constitution on 2 January 1788 and became the fourth state in the union.

Georgia continued to attract settlers from Virginia and the Carolinas by virtue of something called land lotteries.  Families who had lived in the territory for at least one year were permitted to draw for acreages as large as 400 acres.  These lotteries were held in 1803, 1806, 1819, 1827 and 1832.  Georgia is one of the 19 largest states in the Union and contains over 159 counties.

COUNTY FORMATIONS

Name Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Appling 1818 Creek Indian Lands Baxley
Atkinson 1917 Coffee, Clinch Pearson
Bacon 1914 Appling, Pearce, Ware Alma
Baker 1825 Early Newton
Baldwin 1803 Creek Indian Lands Milledgeville
Banks 1858 Franklin, Habershaw Homer
Barrow 1861 Jackson, Walton, Guinett Winder
Bartow 1861 Changed from Cass in 1861 Cartersville
Ben Hill 1906 Irwin, Wilcox Fitzgerald
Berrien 1856 Lowndes, Coffee, Irwin Nashville
Bibb 1822 Jones, Monroe, Twiggs, Houston Macon
Bleckley 1912 Pulaski Cochran
Brantley 1920 Charlton, Pierce, Wayne Nahunta
Brooks 1851 Effingham, Liberty Pembroke
Bulloch 1796 Franklin Statesboro
Burke 1777 St. George Parish Waynesboro
Butts 1825 Henry, Monroe Jackson
Calhoun 1854 Baker & Early Morgan
Camden 1777 St. Mary, St. Thomas Woodbine
Campbell (see Fulton) 1828 Carroll, Coweta (Merged with Fulton in 1932)  
Candler 1914 Bulloch, Emanuel, Tattnall Metter
Carroll 1826 Indian Lands Carrollton
Cass (See Bartow) 1832 Changed to Bartow in 1861  
Catoosa 1853 Walker, Whitfield Ringgold
Charlton 1777 St. Phillip, Christ Church Parish Savannah
Chattahoochee 1854 Muscogee, Marion Cusseta
Chattooga 1838 Floyd, Walker Summerville
Cherokee 1832 Cherokee Lands, Habersham, Hall Canton
Clarke 1801 Jackson, Green Athens
Clay 1854 Early, Randolph Ft. Gaines
Clayton 1858 Fayette, Henry Jonesboro
Clinch 1850 Ware, Lowndes Homerville
Cobb 1832 Cherokee Marietta
Coffee 1854 Clinch, Irwin, Ware, Telfair Douglas
Colquitt 1856 Lowndes, Thomas Moultrie
Columbia 1790 Richmond Appling
Cook 1918 Berrien Adel
Coweta 1826 Indian Lands Newman
Crawford 1822 Houston, Marion, Talbot, Macon Knoxville
Crisp 1905 Dooly Cordele
Dade 1837 Walker Trenton
Dawson 1857 Lumpkin, Gilmer Dawsonville
Decatur 1823 Early Bainbridge
DeKalb 1822 Fayette, Gwinett, Newton, Henry Decatur
Dodge 1870 Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair Eastman
Dooly 1821 Indian Lands Vienna
Dougherty 1852 Baker Albany
Douglas 1870 Carroll, Campbell Douglasville
Early 1818 Creek Indian Lads Blakely
Echols 1858 Clinch, Lowndes Statenville
Effingham 1777 St. Mathews, St. Phillips Springfield
Elbert 1790 Wilkes, Madison Elberton
Emmanuel 1812 Montgomery, Bullock Swainsboro
Evans 1914 Bulloch, Tattnall Claxton
Fannin 1854 Gilmer, Union Blue Ridge
Fayette 1821 Indian Lands, Henry Fayetteville
Floyd 1832 Cherokee, Chattooga, Palding Rome
Forsyth 1832 Cherokee, Lumpkin Cumming
Franklin 1784 Cherokee Lands Carnesville
Fulton 1853 DeKalb, Campbell Atlanta
Gilmer 1832 Cherokee, Union Ellijay
Glascock 1852 Warren, Jefferson Gibson
Glynn 1777 St. David, St. Patrick Brunswick
Gordon 1850 Cass, Floyd Calhoun
Grady 1905 Decatur, Thomas Cairo
Greene 1786 Washington, Oglethorpe, Wilkes Greensboro
Gwinnett 1818 Cherokee Lands, Jackson Lawrenceville
Habersham 1818 Cherokee Lands, Franklin Clarkesville
Hall 1818 Cherokee Lands, Jackson, Franklin Gainesville
Hancock 1793 Greene, Washington Sparta
Haralson 1856 Carroll, Polk Buchanan
Harris 1827 Muscogee, Troup Hamilton
Hart 1853 Elbert, Franklin Hartwell
Heard 1830 Carroll, Coweta, Troup Franklin
Henry 1821 Indian Lands, Walton McDonough
Houston 1821 Indian Lands Perry
Irwin 1818 Indian Lands, Coffee, Telfair Ocilla
Jackson 1796 Franklin Jefferson
Jasper (See note on 1st Randolph County) 1812 Baldwin Monticello
Jeff Davis 1905 Appling, Coffee Hazelhurst
Jefferson 1796 Burke, Warren Louisville
Jenkins 1905 Bullock, Burke, Emanuel, Screven Millen
Johnson 1858 Emanuel, Laurens, Washington Wrightsville
Jones 1807 Baldwin, Bibb, Putnam Gray
Kinchafoonee (see Webster) 1853 Stewart, changed to Webster in 1856  
Lamar 1920 Monroe, Pike Barnesville
Lanier 1919 Berrien, Lowndes, Clinch Lakeland
Laurens 1807 Montgomery, Washington, Wilkinson Dublin
Lee 1824 Indian Lands Leesburg
Liberty 1777 St. Andrew, St. James, St. Johns Hinesville
Lincoln 1796 Wilkes Lincolnton
Long 1920 Liberty Ludowici
Lowndes 1825 Irwin Valdosta
Lumpkin 1832 Cherokee, Habersham, Hall Dahlonega
McDuffie 1870 Columbia, Warren Thomson
McIntosh 1793 Liberty Darien
Macon 1837 Houston, Marion Oglethorpe
Madison 1811 Clarke, Elbert, Franklin, Jackson, Oglethorpe Danielsville
Marion 1827 Lee, Muscogee, Stewart Buena Vista
Meriwether 1827 Troup Greenville
Miller 1856 Baker, Early Colquitt
Milton (see Fulton) 1857 Cobb, Cherokee, Forsythe (Merged with Fulton in 1911) was Alpharetta
Mitchell 1857 Baker Camilla
Monroe 1821 Indian Lands Forsythe
Montgomery 1793 Washington, Laurens, Tattnall, Telfair Mt. Vernon
Morgan 1807 Baldwin, Jasper Madison
Murray 1832 Cherokee Chatsworth
Muscogee 1826 Creek Lands, Harris, Lee, Marion Columbus
Newton 1821 Henry, Jasper, Morgan, Walton Covington
Oconee 1875 Clarke Watkinsville
Oglethorpe 1793 Clarke, Green, Wilkes Lexington
Paulding 1832 Cherokee Lands, Carroll, Cobb Dallas
Peach 1924 Houston, Macon Fort Valley
Pickens 1853 Cherokee, Gilmer Jasper
Pierce 1857 Appling, Ware Blackshear
Pike 1822 Monroe, Upson Zebulon
Polk 1851 Paulding Cedartown
Pulaski 1808 Laurens, Dodge, Dooly, Houston Hawkinsville
Putnam 1807 Baldwin Eatonton
Quitman 1858 Randolph, Stewart Georgetown
Rabun 1819 Cherokee Lands, Habersham Clayton
Randolph (See also Jasper) 1828 Baker, Lee (There was an earlier Randolph created in 1897 or 1808.  The name was changed in 1812 to Jasper.  This is the second county by the same name.) Cuthbert
Richmond 1777 St. Paul Parish Augusta
Rockdale 1870 Henry, Newton Conyers
Schley 1857 Marion, Sumter Ellaville
Screven 1793 Burke, Effingham Sylvania
Seminole 1920 Decatur, Early Donalsonville
Spalding 1851 Fayette, Henry, Pike Griffin
Stewart 1830 Randolph Lumkin
Sumter 1831 Lee Americus
Talbot 1827 Crawford, Harris, Marion, Macon, Muscogee Talbotton
Taliaferro 1825 Green, Hancock, Oglethorpe, Warren, Wilkes Crawfordville
Taftnall 1801 Montgomery, Liberty Reidsville
Taylor 1853 Crawford Butler
Telfair 1807 Wilkinson, Appling McRae
Terrell 1856 Lee, Randolph Dawson
Thomas 1825 Baker, Decatur, Irwin, Lowndes Thomasville
Tift 1905 Berrien, Irwin, Worth Tifton
Toomba 1905 Emanuel, Tattnall, Montgomery Lyons
Towns 1856 Rabun, Union Hiawassee
Treutlen 1917 Emanuel, Montgomery Soperton
Troup 1826 Indian Lands LaGrange
Turner 1905 Dooly, Irwin, Wilcox, Worth Ashburn
Twiggs 1809 Wilkinson Jeffersonville
Union 1832 Cherokee Lands, Lumpkin Blairsville
Upson 1824 Crawford, Pike Thomaston
Walker 1833 Murray LaFayette
Walton 1803 Cherokee Lads Monroe
Ware 1824 Appling Waycross
Warren 1793 Columbia, Richmond, Wilkes Warrenton
Washington 1784 Indian Lands Sandersville
Wayne 1803 Indian Lands, Appling, Glynn, Camden Jesup
Webster 1856 Changed from Kinchafoonee 1856 Preston
Wheeler 1912 Montgomery Alamo
White 1857 Habersham Cleveland
Whitfield 1851 Murray, Walker Dalton
Wilcox 1857 Dooly, Irwin, Pulaski Abbeville
Wilkes 1777 Washington Washington
Wilkinson 1803 Creek Cession Irwinton
Worth 1852 Dooly, Irwin Sylvester
For books on Georgia History, visit the THE COUNTRY STORE.  Proceeds from sales of books through this link-over to Amazon.com will help to support this website.

GEORGIA HISTORY WEBLINKS

Georgia Genweb Project Georgia Department of Archives and History
Georgia Humanities Council Georgia Historical Society
Colonial Delaware Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
Hargrett Library (University of Georgia) Historic Preservation Division (Georgia Department of Natural Resources)
Historical Society of the Georgia National Guard Richard B. Russell Library (University of Georgia)
Georgia's Prehistoric Indians European Exploration of the "New World"
Map of Spanish Missions in Georgia: 1526-1686 Map of Spanish Missions in Georgia: 1526-1686
Native American Conquest Military Artifacts of Spanish Florida: 1650-1821: An Internet Museum
Age of Spanish Exploration, Conquest, and Early Colonization Spanish History and Heritage Links
Charlesfort Fort Caroline National Memorial  
Fort Caroline National Memorial (GORP) Bourbon France: Spain's Colonial Allies and Antagonists, 1699-1781
Monarchs of Britain Fort King George
James Edward Oglethorpe When is Georgia's Birthday?
Moravians in Georgia, 1735-40 History of Frederica
Frederica town plan, 1742 Battle of Bloody Marsh
Ruins of William Horton house on Jekyll Island Georgia Salzburgers
Treaty of Paris (1763) Georgia's Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Georgia and the American Revolution Georgia $4 Currency, 1776
Georgia's Black Revolutionary Patriots Founding of the University of Georgia
Travels of William Bartram Yazoo Land Fraud
Dahlonega Gold Rush and U.S. Mint Gold Rush Gallery
Roster of the Georgia Guard (1831) Gold coins minted in Georgia (description and images)
Georgia and the Texas Revolution Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
Cotton Culture Civil War in Georgia
Reconstruction Georgia Reconstruction in North Georgia
Freedman's Bureau Records for Georgia (selected records, 1865-1868) Origin of Grady Hospital
Tunis Campbell: Marching to a Different Drummer 1881 International Cotton Exposition in Atlanta
Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia Society of Georgia Archivists