County Courthouses of Georgia Thread!

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by jub jub, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Fort Gaines

    Date Built: 1871-73

    Architectural Style: Italian Renaissance Revival/Neoclassical Revival/Beaux Arts Classicism

    Designer: Vernacular (Greek Revival influence)

    The 1854 law creating Clay County authorized the justices of the county's first inferior court to provide for erection of a courthouse and jail. However, for the next two decades, it is not clear if a courthouse was actually built or whether the county instead rented space. In 1869 and 1870, local grand juries recommended that a county courthouse be built, and in 1870, the General Assembly authorized Clay County to hold a referendum on borrowing money to build a courthouse (Ga. Laws 1870, p. 450). Voters agreed, and construction began in 1871. Completed in 1873, the Clay County courthouse is still in use today.
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  2. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Blakely

    Date Built: 1904-05

    Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival

    Designer: Morgan & Dillon

    An act of Dec. 21, 1819 organizing Early County directed that until a courthouse was erected, county courts were to meet at the house of Richard Grimsley in the 28th district. It is not clear how long Grimsley's house served as courthouse, but in 1826 Benjamin Collier gave the county 25 acres for building a courthouse and other public buildings. A wooden courthouse was built here in 1826, followed by other structures in subsequent years. A courthouse built in 1858 served until the present building was constructed in 1906. The current courthouse was rehabilitated in 1992-93.

    And a nice memorial provided by the VFW and American Legion.

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  3. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Colquitt

    Date Built: 1977

    Architectural Style: Modern

    Designer: Tomberlin & Associates

    Sometime after Miller County's creation in 1856, its first courthouse was built in Colquitt. This structure was replaced by a new courthouse that burned in 1873. The county's third courthouse was a two-story brick structure with a dome clock tower. This building burned down in 1974 and was replaced by the present courthouse in 1977.
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  4. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Donalsonville

    Date Built: 1922

    Architectural Style: Beaux Arts Classicism/Neoclassical Revival

    Designer: William J.J. Chase

    This courthouse, the only one in the county's history, was renovated in 1978-79.
    County History: On July 8, 1920, the General Assembly proposed a constitutional amendment to create Seminole County (Ga. Laws 1920, p. 52). In that year's general election, Georgia voters ratified the proposed amendment on Nov. 2, 1920, which marks the official date of the county's creation (although a state historical marker on the courthouse grounds incorrectly cites the county's creation as the day the legislative act proposing the constitutional amendment was approved).

    According to the 1920 constitutional amendment, Seminole County was to be "laid out from the Counties of Decatur and Early." However, specific language in the constitutional amendment actually provided that the southern borders of Miller and Early counties constituted Seminole County's northern border. Thus, Seminole County was created entirely from Decatur County. Georgia's 156th county was named for the Seminole Indians, who once lived in this area.

    Why was Seminole County created by constitutional amendment instead of an act of the General Assembly? In 1904, Georgia voters had approved a constitutional amendment limiting the number of counties in the state to 145. The next year, the General Assembly created eight new counties, bringing the total number to 145 -- the constitutional limit. Nevertheless, there was continuing pressure to create more counties. Beginning in 1906, lawmakers got around the 145-county limitation by creating new counties through constitutional amendments that were not subject to the limitation. By 1924, Georgia had 161 counties -- 16 of which had been created by constitutional amendment. On Jan. 1, 1932, Milton and Campbell counties merged with Fulton, leaving 159 counties. In 1945, Georgia voters ratified a new constitution -- one which provided an absolute limit of 159 counties, with an additional provision that no new country could be created except through consolidation of existing counties.

    I like this courthouse the best so far. It is located at the end of the historic downtown area and must really look good with the flag displayed on the pole in front.
    #64
  5. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Bainbridge

    Date Built: 1902

    Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival (with campanile-like clock tower)

    Designer: Alexander Blair

    Decatur County was created from Early County on Dec. 8, 1823 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1823, p. 63). The county was organized by an act of Dec. 19, 1823. Georgia's 58th county was named for U.S. Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur. In 1920, Seminole County was created entirely from Decatur County. Also, portions of Decatur County were used to help create Thomas County (1825) and Grady County (1905).

    County Seat: On Dec. 19, 1823, the General Assembly passed an act organizing Decatur County. Five commissioners were named to select a county seat "as near the center of the county as convenience will admit" and to contract for building a courthouse and jail. The same act directed that Decatur County elections and court sessions be held at the home of George G. Gaines until a county courthouse was built. Subsequently, the commissioners picked a site near where Fort Hughes once stood. Here, they had a wooden courthouse built in 1824. On Dec. 2, 1824, the legislature officially designated this site as permanent county seat and directed that it be known as Bainbridge. The name honored William Bainbridge, former commander of the U.S.S. Constitution. The legislature incorporated the town of Bainbridge on Dec. 22, 1829 (Ga. Laws 1829, p. 186).
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  6. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Cairo (pronounced "kay-row")

    GPS Coordinates : 30.87858, 84.20793

    Date Built: 1985

    Architectural Style: Classical Revival

    Designer: Jinright, Ryan and Lynn Architects

    Grady County was created from Decatur and Thomas counties on Aug. 17, 1905 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1905, p. 54). Georgia's 139th county was named for former Atlanta Constitution editor Henry Grady, who urged Georgia farmers to diversify and end the state's economic dependence on cotton.
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  7. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Camilla

    GPS Coordinates: 31.23139, 84.20912

    Date Built: 1936

    Architectural Style: Art Deco/Stripped Classical

    Designer: William J.J. Chase

    Mitchell County's first courthouse -- a two-story wood building -- was built in 1858. This structure burned in 1869 and was replaced the next year by a similar courthouse. The county's third courthouse was built in 1890 and served until 1936, when the present courthouse was completed as a WPA project.


    Mitchell County was created from Baker County on Dec. 21, 1857 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 38). The county was formed from all portions of Baker County east of the Flint River. Georgia's 123rd county was named for Gen. Henry Mitchell (1760-1839), a hero of the American Revolution, state militia officer, and former president of the Georgia Senate (1808-09). [Some sources have suggested that the county may have been named for David Mitchell (1766-1837), who served as Georgia governor 1809-1813 and 1815-1817.However, the act creating Mitchell County specifically states that it was named in honor of Gen. Henry Mitchell.]

    The Dec. 21, 1857 legislation creating Mitchell County provided for election of county officials in March 1858. After that election, the new justices of the inferior court were empowered to select a "central and convenient place" to serve as county seat, to lay off the site into lots and streets, to provide for erection of a courthouse and other public buildings, and to make temporary arrangements for a site to conduct county business until a courthouse could be built. At some point in 1858, the inferior court designated Camilla as county seat and had a courthouse built. On Dec. 14, 1858, the legislature incorporated Camilla to consist of all territory within one mile of the courthouse (Ga. Laws 1858, p. 135). Reportedly, the town was named for Camilla Mitchell, granddaughter of Gen. Henry Mitchell.
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  8. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    The sadest looking courthouse so far.....(it is a converted school building)


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    I couldn't locate the historical marker but here is a link that has it....

    1994 Flooding of the Baker County Courthouse

    Old Baker County Courthouse

    Location: Newton

    GPS Coordinates : 31.31755, 84.34223

    Date Built: Unknown

    Architectural Style:

    Designer: Unknown

    Baker County was created on Dec. 12, 1825. Twelve days later, the legislature passed an act organizing the county and providing that the house of William Howards serve as the site for holding court and handling other county business until a courthouse could be built. On Dec. 16, 1828, the legislature designated the town of Byron as county seat. Shortly afterwards, a courthouse was built in Byron, though details about the structure are missing. In 1831, the legislature moved the county seat to a land lot more centrally located and named commissioners with responsibility for having a courthouse and jail built. Apparently, nothing was done for the following six years, as the legislature in 1837 appointed a new group of commissioners to oversee building of a county courthouse. At some point, a courthouse was built in the new town of Newton. In 1874, the legislature authorized Baker County to borrow up to $5,000 to build a new courthouse. At some point thereafter, county officials built a courthouse -- but it exceeded the $5,000 authorized by the legislature. In 1881, the legislature passed an act allowing Baker County to levy a special tax for 1881 and 1882 to pay off the debt for building the court house and repairing public bridges. This building was replaced with a new courthouse in 1900. Renovations to the 1900 courthouse were required because of major flooding of the Flint River in 1925, 1929, and 1994. The devastating flood of 1994 brought waters from the Flint River almost to the second floor of the courthouse. As a result, Baker County officials moved to a vacant school building several blocks away. This building served as temporary courthouse for six years. In 2000, the county remodeled a vacant school building adjacent to the temporary courthouse and made it new courthouse.
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  9. GAVic

    GAVic Largely unnoticed

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    Location: Jeffersonville

    GPS: 32.687792,-83.64234

    Date Built: 1902-04

    Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival

    Designer: J.W. Golucke

    County History: Twiggs County was created from Wilkinson County on Dec. 14, 1809, by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1809, p. 75). According to that act, Twiggs County's boundaries were specified as:

    . . . beginning on the Ocmulgee river, where the upperl line of said county of Wilkinson strikes the river; thence on the said upper line of said county to where the same crosses the main south fork of commissioners creek; thence a straight line to the first branch, which the present line crosses, dividing Pulaski and Wilkinson, on a south west direction from the corner that divides Laurens and Pulaski counties, and lower line of Wilkinson; thence with said line as it now runs, until it strikes the ocmulgee river; thence up the meanders thereof to the place of beginning of said river; and all that part of Wilkinson county, comprehended within the lines aforesaid . . . .

    Georgia's 37th county was named for Revolutionary War general John Twiggs. A portion of Twiggs County was used to created Bibb County on Dec. 9, 1822 (Ga. Laws 1822, p. 21).

    County Seat: The act creating Twiggs County named commissioners with authority to select the site of the county seat and build a courthouse. They selected land lot 55 in the 25th district and gave the lot's owner a deposit for purchasing the land. However, in an act of Dec. 8, 1810, the legislature directed that the courthouse be erected at or near Joiner's Spring above Savage's Creek, on land lot 73, in the 25th district of the new county (Ga. Laws 1810, p. 40). On Dec. 15, the legislature provided that until a courthouse was built, court sessions and county elections would be held at the house of John Harden (Ga. Laws 1810, p. 72).
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  10. SavannahCapt

    SavannahCapt Long timer

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    The abandoned courthouse was standing on the abandoned town square a year ago. Sort of spooky.
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  11. jub jub

    jub jub frumiousbandersnatch

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    Appreciate your contribution Travis, and Mike. Nice looking pictures too. Looks like you really pulled a bun burner today. I'm going to start adding the historical marker to mine as well. Never thought about until I saw you doing it.

    I spent the day replacing worn out sprinkler heads. At least the weather was good.
    #71
  12. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Talbotton was the site for the first session of the Georgia Supreme Court.

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    Location: Talbotton

    Date Built: 1892

    Architectural Style: Queen Anne

    Designer: Bruce & Morgan

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    Likely, Talbot County business and court sessions initially were conducted at private houses. Reportedly, a brick courthouse was built in Talbotton in 1831. Evidence of this building is found in James Silk Buckingham's 1839 diary, where he records seeing "a good brick court-house" in Talbotton. The building burned in early 1892, and the present courthouse was completed later that year
    #72
  13. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    No historical marker for the courthouse.


    Location: Columbus

    Date Built: 1972-73

    Architectural Style: Modern

    Designer: E. Owen Smith and Biggers, Scarbrough, Neal, Crisp & Clark

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    On Feb. 12, 1825, a group of Creek Indians led by William McIntosh signed the Treaty of Indian Springs, in which they ceded all of their remaining lands in present-day Georgia. Subsequently, in an act of June 9, 1825 (see text), the General Assembly provided that the land ceded by the treaty be divided into five sections, surveyed into districts and land lots, and distributed by land lottery (Ga. Laws 1825 Extra. Session., p. 3). [See map of sections] On Dec. 14, 1826, the legislature redesignated the five land sections as the counties of Lee, Muscogee, Troup, Coweta, and Carroll and provided for their organization (Ga. Laws 1826, p. 57). [See map of five counties] [Click here to see legal description of Muscogee County's original boundaries.]

    Despite the fact that the five counties were not named until Dec. 14, 1826, the date their respective boundaries were established -- June 9, 1825 -- is generally accepted as the date of their creation. Because the five counties were provided for in the same act, their order of creation is based on the order they were mentioned in the act -- Lee, Muscogee, Troup, Coweta, and Carroll. Thus, Lee was Georgia's 61st county, while Muscogee was 62nd.

    Muscogee County was named for the Muscogee Indians, otherwise known as the Creek Indians.

    In 1827, a portion of Muscogee County was used to create Harris County.

    In 1969, the General Assembly created a special commission to draft a charter to consolidate the city of Columbus and Muscogee County into a single countywide government. [At the time, there was one other incorporated municipality in Muscogee County--the town of Bibb City. Its residents and officials decided not to be part of the consolidation, so it was exempted from the new charter.] In May 1970, voters of Columbus and Muscogee County approved the merger in separate referendums. Election of officials took place in Nov. 1970, and the new consolidated government went into effect on Jan. 1, 1971. Subsequently, in an act of Oct. 5, 1971, the General Assembly enacted the charter into law, although confirming the previous Jan. 1 as the effective date of the new consolidated government (Ga. Laws 1971 Extra. Session, p. 2007).

    Bibb City, incorporated by superior court in August 1909, continued to function as an independent municipality through 2000. However, when the Bibb Mill closed in 1998, the town lost its principal source of tax revenue. In December 2000, the town council voted to give up its charter and become part of the Columbus-Muscogee consolidated government. Consequently, the General Assembly in 2001 repealed Bibb City's charter.
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  14. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Hamilton

    Date Built: 1908

    Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival

    Designer: E.C. Hosford
    A log building was used as county courthouse until l831, when a more permanent structure was completed. This second building served until the present courthouse was built in 1908. This courthouse is notable for its six-column facade.
    #74
  15. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    On Dec. 14, 1826, the legislature directed that Troup County elections and court sessions be held in the house of Joseph Weaver. The county's first inferior court was authorized to erect a courthouse, but it is not known if a courthouse was built in 1827. In Dec. 1827, portions of Troup County were used to create two new counties -- Meriwether and Harris. New elections were set for Feb. 1828, after which the new inferior court was given the responsibility of providing for a courthouse. Reportedly, a brick courthouse was built in LaGrange in 1830. This structure was torn down in 1903 or 1904 and replaced by a new three-story brick courthouse with clock tower, which was completed in 1904. This courthouse burned in 1936 and was replaced in 1939 with a new marble courthouse.

    On Feb. 12, 1825, a group of Creek Indians led by William McIntosh signed the Treaty of Indian Springs, in which they ceded all of their remaining lands in present-day Georgia. Subsequently, in an act of June 9, 1825 , the General Assembly provided that the land ceded by the treaty be divided into five numbered sections, surveyed into districts and land lots, and distributed by land lottery (Ga. Laws 1825 Extra. Session., p. 3). On Dec. 14, 1826, the legislature redesignated the five land sections as the counties of Lee, Muscogee, Troup, Coweta, and Carroll and provided for their organization (Ga. Laws 1826, p. 57).

    Despite the fact that the five counties were not named until Dec. 14, 1826, the date their respective boundaries were established -- June 9, 1825 -- is generally accepted as the date of their creation. Because the five counties were provided for in the same act, their order of creation is based on the order they were mentioned in the act -- Lee, Muscogee, Troup, Coweta, and Carroll. Thus, Lee was Georgia's 61st county, while Troup was 63rd. Troup County was named for George M. Troup, who was governor of Georgia at the time of the county's creation.

    On Dec. 14, 1827, the legislature formed Meriwether County from the eastern half of Troup County and Harris County from portions of southern Troup County (Ga. Laws 1827, p. 69).
    #75
  16. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Greenville

    Date Built: 1904

    Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival

    Designer: J.W. Golucke

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    Meriwether County's first courthouse reportedly was a two-story brick building constructed in 1832. The courthouse was badly damaged by a tornado in 1893 -- but it was rebuilt and served until the current courthouse was completed in 1904. In 1976, a fire destroyed much of the building -- except for the brick exterior walls. In a restoration begun in 1977 and completed in 1980, the courthouse was rebuilt within the original walls. The interior, however, was significantly altered to provide more office space. The courthouse rotunda was eliminated, a basement dug, and the ceiling space reduced to allow three floors instead of two. A French bell weighing one-half ton was installed in the clock tower, and a statue of the female muse Justice placed on top of the tower.
    #76
  17. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Zebulon

    Date Built: 1895

    Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival/Colonial Revival

    Designer: Golucke & Stewart

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    Pike County's first courthouse was a simple wooden structure built in Newnan. After Zebulon was designated county seat in 1825, a brick courthouse was erected on the public square. The structure was replaced by the present courthouse in 1895.


    County History: Pike County was created on Dec. 9, 1822 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1822, p. 21). The county was organized by acts of Dec. 23, 1822 (Ga. Laws 1822, p. 23) and Dec. 20, 1824 (Ga. Laws 1824, p. 45). Later, parts of Pike County were used to help create the following counties: Upson (1824), Spalding (1851), and Lamar (1920).

    Georgia's 56th county was created from Monroe County and named for Gen. Zebulon Pike (1779-1813), noted Western explorer who was killed during the War of 1812.
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  18. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Barnesville

    Date Built: 1931

    Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival

    Designer: Eugene C. Wachendorff

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    Other Information: For the first decade after its creation, Lamar County did not have a courthouse. Rather, county officials rented office space in Barnesville, while the local Masonic Hall was used for court sessions. A new courthouse was constructed in 1931, and this building is still in use. In 1986, the courthouse windows were altered.


    County History: On Aug. 17, 1920, the General Assembly proposed a constitutional amendment to create Lamar County from Monroe and Pike counties (Ga. Laws 1920, p. 45). In that year's general election, Georgia voters ratified the proposed amendment on Nov. 2, 1920, which marks the date of Lamar County's creation (although a state historical marker on the courthouse grounds incorrectly cites the county's creation as the day the legislative act proposing the constitutional amendment was approved).

    Why was Lamar County created by constitutional amendment instead of an act of the General Assembly? In 1904, Georgia voters had approved a constitutional amendment limiting the number of counties in the state to 145. The next year, the General Assembly created eight new counties, bringing the total number to 145 -- the constitutional limit. Nevertheless, there was continuing pressure to create more counties. Beginning in 1906, lawmakers got around the 145-county limitation by creating new counties through constitutional amendments that were not subject to the limitation. By 1924, Georgia had 161 counties -- 16 of which had been created by constitutional amendment. On Jan. 1, 1932, Milton and Campbell counties merged with Fulton, leaving 159 counties. In 1945, Georgia voters ratified a new constitution -- one which provided an absolute limit of 159 counties, with an additional provision (see text) that no new country could be created except through consolidation of existing counties.

    Lamar County was named for Georgia-born Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar (1825-1893). Lamar had served as a U.S. Representative and Senator from Mississippi, and as U.S. Secretary of Interior under Pres. Grover Cleveland. At the time of his death in Vineville, Ga., Lamar was serving as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The 1920 constitutional amendment creating Lamar County provided that Barnesville serve as county seat. Barnesville began in 1820 as a stagecoach stop in what was then Monroe County on the old Alabama Road running from Macon westward. It was named for Gideon Barnes, who operated a stage line and owned a tavern here. In 1822, Barnesville was included in the portion of Monroe County used to create Pike County. The legislature incorporated Barnesville by an act of Feb. 20, 1854 (Ga. Laws 1853-54, p. 211).
    #78
  19. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    Location: Thomaston

    Date Built: 1908

    Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival

    Designer: Frank P. Milburn

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    Georgia's 59th county was named for Stephen Upson, a noted Georgia lawyer of the times. Born in 1784 or 1785 in Waterbury, Conn., Upson graduated from Yale University in 1804. Because of health reasons, he moved southward -- first to Virginia, and then in 1807 to Lexington, Ga. Here, he practiced law and became a respected friend of William Crawford. Upson died in Aug. 1824 at age 40 and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Lexington. Although it is not clear that Upson ever served in public office, his reputation as an attorney and jurist led the General Assembly to name a new county in his honor four months after his death.

    Legislation organizing Upson County approved on Dec. 20, 1824, directed the justices of the county's first inferior court to select the site for the county seat, which was to be as near the center of the county "as convenience will admit" (Ga. Laws 1824, p. 45). The justices selected a site on the principal road through the county almost in the geographic center of the new county. It is not clear whether a settlement already existed on this site -- but in any event, the site selected for the county seat became known as Thomaston (named for Gen. Jett Thomas, who fought in the War of 1812 and earlier built the University of Georgia's first building in Athens and the state capitol at Milledgeville). On June 11, 1825, the legislature incorporated Thomaston and designated it as Upson's county seat (Ga. Laws 1825 Ex. Sess., p. 23).
    #79
  20. tsimmons

    tsimmons Been here awhile

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    The Texas Connection : Joanna Troutman, aged 18 years and living in Crawford county sewed a silk flag with a five pointed blue star and the words "Liberty or Death". She presented this flag to a battalion of Georgia volunteers who were leaving to fight in the Texas Revolution in 1835. This flag influenced the current design of the Texas state flag. A 'lone star' was not used in any version of a flag that flew for Texas until 1836.

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    Around 1890, a new railroad was built through the middle of Crawford County following a north-south route. For whatever reason, the railroad's path came near -- but skipped -- the county seat. A train station was built one mile southwest of Knoxville, which became known as Roberta. In the years that followed, most Knoxville residents moved to Roberta. Eventually, Knoxville ceased functioning as a town, although its charter was never repealed. By the 1990s, Knoxville was one of over 100 Georgia towns that provided few if any services to their citizens but legally retained the status of an incorporated municipality. In an effort to deal with this problem, the General Assembly enacted legislation in 1993 mandating that any incorporated city in Georgia must provide its citizens with at least three municipal services or lose its charter (O.C.G.A. sec. 36-30-7.1). Though given a grace period to comply, over 100 small or inactive towns -- including Knoxville -- lost their municipal charters on July 1, 1995. At that point, they became unincorporated communities under the jurisdiction of their county governments. Today, Crawford, Columbia, and Echols are the only Georgia counties with an unincorporated community serving as county seat.

    In an act of Dec. 23, 1822, the legislature authorized Crawford County's initial inferior court to select a site to serve as county seat and provide for construction of a courthouse (Ga. Laws 1822, p. 23). The same act provided that until a courthouse could be built, Crawford County courts and elections would be held at the house of Imlay Vansciver. In Dec. 1823, the legislature designated Knoxville as county seat. At some point thereafter, Crawford County's first courthouse was built. That structure burned in 1829 or 1830. The following year, construction of a new courthouse began. The new building was completed in Jan. 1832. Since then, there have been numerous repairs and remodeling, with extensive interior renovations and construction of a small addition in the late 1960s. In 2001-02, a new courthouse was built one block behind the old courthouse.

    The new county courthouse :

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    The locals were not too impressed with the new court house when the clock tower sank and caused extensive damage to the roof.
    #80