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Looking Back Dec. 11

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 73 were created in the month of December. Here is a look back at some of the counties along with a bit of history.

December 10, 1790 - Columbia County

• This 12th county created in the state was taken from portions of Richmond County.

• There are more than thirty prehistoric sites in the county. On Stallings Island is a burial mound documenting a culture that flourished in the Archaic Period more than 4,000 years ago.

• In 1772 Daniel Marshall established Kiokee Baptist Church, the first Baptist church in Georgia.

• William Few and Abraham Baldwin resided in what would become Columbia County and were the only two Georgia delegates who signed to ratify the Constitution of the United States

• The county seat is Appling, an unincorporated area, making Columbia one of only three counties in Georgia to have an unincorporated county seat.

December 19, 1793 - Bryan County

• South Bryan County is home to the earthen Civil War installation Fort McAllister (now Fort McAllister Historic Park) which Gen. William Sherman captured on his March to the Sea.

.• The Ogeechee River basin in lower Bryan County became one of the most productive rice-growing areas on the south Atlantic coast during the 1830s and 1840s. By 1855, three million pounds of rice annually were being shipped from Bryan County plantations.

• John Smoltz owned a summer home here while playing for the Atlanta Braves.

December 10, 1807 - Randolph County

• Another Georgia county, Jasper, was the original Randolph County in Georgia.

• Because of namesake John Randolph’s opposition to U.S. entry into the War of 1812, the Georgia General Assembly changed the county’s name in an act of December 10, 1812. Eventually, John Randolph’s reputation was restored, and in 1828, the General Assembly created the current Randolph County.

• Lumpkin was the original county seat. However, when part of Randolph was taken to form Stewart County, the town went with it.

December 13, 1808 - Pulaski County

• Pulaski County was created from a portion of Laurens County. In 1870, Dodge County was partially created from a section of Pulaski County. In 1912, the northwestern half of Pulaski County was used to create Bleckley County.

• The county was named for Count Kazimierz Pulaski of Poland who fought and died for United States in the American Revolutionary War.

• During the nineteenth century, when the Supreme Court of Georgia traveled to eight locations across the state, Hawkinsville, the county seat, served as one of the court’s regular venues.

• The county is home of the Lawrence L. Bennett Harness Horse Training Facility, the only harness horse training facility in the state and serves as a winter home for harness horsemen across the country.

December 24, 1825 - Taliaferro County

• Taliaferro County was formed by taking portions of five other counties: Wilkes, Greene, Hancock, Oglethorpe, and Warren Counties.

• The spelling of the county’s name is not phonetic. The pronunciation is “Tolliver”.

• Several Hollywood films have been shot in the county. “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”, starring Kristy McNichol and Dennis Quaid, “Paris Trout”, starring Dennis Hopper and, more recently, “Sweet Home Alabama” starring Reese Witherspoon, was filmed in the county seat of Crawfordville.

December 25, 1837 - Dade County

• The county was named for Major Francis Langhorne Dade, who was killed in the Dade Massacre by Seminole Indians in December 1835.

• Georgia did not have a road connecting to Dade County until the purchase of Cloudland Canyon in 1939. The county could only be accessed through Alabama and Tennessee until then.

• Legend has is that in 1860, the people of Dade County were so impatient for Georgia to secede from the Union, they simply seceded by themselves.

• Shortly after the Georgia State Quarter was released, Dade County gained attention over an apparent mistake in the quarter. The outline of the state of Georgia on the quarter appears to have accidentally left out Dade County, which is in the extreme northwestern part of the state.

December 16, 1853 - Webster County

• Webster County was created as Kinchafoonee County. A subsequent legislative act on February 21, 1856 changed the name to Webster.

• The county is named for Daniel Webster, U.S. Representative of New Hampshire and U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator of Massachusetts.

• The first settlement in Webster County was Lanahassee, located east of the creek bearing its name. The settlement was later moved three miles to the west, renamed Preston in 1856, and made the county seat.

• Both the jail and the courthouse are on the National Register of Historic Places.

December 21, 1857 - Mitchell County

• The state’s 123rd county was named either for Henry Mitchell, a general in the Revolutionary War (1775-83), or for David B. Mitchell, who served twice as Georgia’s governor in the early 1800s - historical sources differ.

• Listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the Bacon Family Homestead; the James Price McRee House, a Classical Revival–style house built at the turn of the twentieth century; and the Mount Enon Church and Cemetery, built in the mid-1800s.

• On September 19, 1868, during Reconstruction, a Republican political rally brought a large group of African Americans to Camilla, where local whites opened fire on them, killing about a dozen men and wounding some thirty more. This is known as the Camilla Massacre.

December 13, 1858 - Echols County

• The county was was carved from Clinch and Lowndes counties in 1858 and named in honor of Robert M. Echols, who commanded troops in the Mexican War (1846-48) after serving a total of twenty years in the state legislature.

• The county seat, Statenville, was first called “Troublesome” after nearby Troublesome Creek. The name was changed when the town was chartered in 1859.

• The history of Echols County is dominated by the presence of the Langdale Forest Products Company, founded in 1894 by John Wesley Langdale. Langdale started the business by leasing acres of turpentine timber, and with his sons Billy, Harley, and Noah, he built it into one of the largest wood and wood by-product manufacturers in America.

• In 1958 the state legislature re-drew the city’s boundaries to include only the courthouse square. This action resulted in the city having no residents.

So you will know...

The first counties in Georgia were created on February 5, 1777. The eight were: Wilkes, Richmond, Liberty, Glynn, Effingham, Chatham, Camden, and Burke.

Peach County, the last of Georgia’s counties, was created on July 18, 1924.