Atkinson County, Georgia

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1700's American Indians of a pre-Creek nation, or Muskhogean cultures lived here. The Creek Indians later lived here. During the last stand was 1 1/2 miles from Willacoochee on the Alapaha. There is a story so many Indians were massacred, the river was red with blood. Gradually a trail, known as Kinnaird Trail was formed by traders between the Flint River, and the coastal town of St. Marys. [1][2][3][4]
1773 - -Early settlers were later Revolutionary soldiers and families..The earliest settlers were comprised of Revolutionary soldiers or their families. The Satilla River (pronounced "Sentilly" locally) was the main link to the coast. The first loggers were the Tanner, Gillis, and Griffis families of Atkinson County. The men would raft the logs down the Satilla River to Burnt Fort. [1] [3][4]
Kinnaird Trail Waymarking.
1775-83 - The white settlers used the "Kinnaird Trail" as they traveled from central Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina, arriving here after the Revolutionary War.The trail was called the "Kinnaird Trail" for a trading post managed by Jack Kinnaird at its western limit. It was along the Kinnaird Trail that the first white settlers traveled from middle Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, arriving after the Revolutionary War (1775-83). [1][3][4]
1870's The Brunswick and Albany Railroad extended the railway into Pearson, GA after the Civil War. [1] [3][4]
Atkinson County Mill

1870's -1880's Since the area was covered with virgin pines, logging began cutting the pine forests. settlers used the pines to build homes and the Logging industry contributed to the area economy. [1]Loggers floated the timber on the Satilla River River down to the Coast. Soon land had been cleared from where logging had cleared land to plant tobacco, corn and raise poultry. These soon occupied settlers and logging had slowed. [1][3][4]
1875 The Brunswick and Western Railroad was built into the county, later becoming the Atlantic Coastline. The Brunswick-Western and the Georgia-Florida Railroads intersected in Willacoochee.[3][4][1]
1889 Willacooche has one building, McCranie's Turpentine Still, (active 1925-1949) [1][3]
McCranie's Turpentine Still
Nov 12, 1889 Willacoochee, previously called Danielsville, was the first town to be chartered by the Georgia legislature in Atkinson County. Willacoochee is from an Indian name possibly meaning "wildcat." [3][2][4]
map of Atkinson County.
Other towns in the county are Axson, Kirkland, and Willacoochee. Axson, was named McDonald's Mill before the creation of Atkinson County, then was renamed to honor of U.S. president Woodrow Wilson's first wife, Ellen Axson Wilson (of Rome) .. [1][3][4]
Dec 27, 1890 Pearson was incorporated, named after Benejah Pearson, who was grandfather of Pearson's first mayor, Jeff Kirkland. R. D. Meadow surveyed the city which had 32 (1 acre) blocks, consisting 4 books to the east and 8 blocks northward. 1898 T.B. Marshall surveyed the city again into a square with the railroad for a dividing line. When the Railroad extensions went in, Pearson received its post office before Douglas, since the postmaster of Douglas, GA had to travel into Pearson to pick up the Douglas' mail. [3][4][1]
Loggers used the Satilla River (pronounced "Sentilly" by Georgians) to float the logs cut from the county area down as the main link to the coast. Some of the loggers were the Tanner, Gillis, and Griffis families of Atkinson County. [3][1] [4]
1915 -Pearson Tribune began with editor B.T. Allen. [3][4][1]
Aug 15, 1917 Atkinson County was created from parts of Clinch and Coffee Counties as the 151st county. Only 8 more counties would follow.. Atkinson County was the 151st county formed with only 8 more counties to follow. The county was named for William Yates Atkinson, Georgia's governor from 1894-1898. Only 8 more Counties would follow. i.e. it is a relatively new county. It is bordered by the following counties: Clinch, Coffee, Lanier, Berrien, and Ware. Atkinson County towns are Pearson, the county seat; Axson, once known as McDonald's Mill; Willacoochee; and Kirkland. [4][1][5]
Sept, 1954 Atkinson County Citizen started publication. [3][4]
1917 Axson, Georgia was named McDonald's Mill for the McDonald's large sawmill. At the time of formation of the county, McDonalds name was changed to Axson, Georgia honoring Pres. Woodrow Wilson's wife's name. [2]
Antioch Church and cemetery is one of the oldest churches in Atkinson County, is northwest of Kirkland, Georgia.[4]
One of the oldest churches in Atkinson County, Antioch Church and cemetery, is located northwest of Kirkland.
1920 Atkinson County completed the Atkinson County courthouse in Pearson, the county seat. This has neoclassical revival style. It was renovated during 1980. [1]

Willacoochee, Georgia

Nov 12, 1889 - The first town chartered in the area that was to be known later as Atkinson County.The Georgia legislative act established town limits 1/2 mile from the Brunswick and Western Railroad depot. Willacooche is derived from eh Indian name meaning "Home of the Wildcat". Previous to this name it was Danielsville named for local family. First Mayor was Dr. Jefferson Wilcox, a native of Coffee County, who graduated from the southern Medical College, 1883. He was a veteran of the Spanish American War with his volunteers as Captain. The city near the Alpha River has population of 1,434 in 2000.[6]

Government Offices

  • Atkinson County Clerk of Superior Court has Land Records from 1919 and Court Records from 1919. The County Clerk of Superior Court has jurisdiction over cases for title to land and equity, felony cases, adoptions, divorces, child support and custody enforcement. The clerk also is tasked with recording deeds and maintaining the chain of title to all property in the county.
Atkinson County Courthouse, 1920
  • 1890 Pearson, Georgia was incorporated and the county courthouse was built there in 1920. The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.


Size - area of 338 square miles(98.24%) is land and 6.05 sq. mi (1.76%) is water.
Created from parts of Clinch and Coffee counties.
Named for William Y. Atkinson, governor from 1894 to 1898.
County Seat -Pearson has served as the county seat since its creation.
Location -south central Georgia
Type: majority of Atkinson County is located in the Satilla River sub-basin of the St. Marys-Satilla River basin. The entire narrow western border area, in a line parallel to the western border and running through Willacoochee, is located in the Alapaha River sub-basin of the Suwannee River basin. A small southeastern corner of the county is located in the Upper Suwannee River sub-basin of the Suwannee River basin.
Rivers - Satilla River, Alpha River, Suwannee River, Upper Suwannee River

Adjacent counties

  • Coffee County - north
  • Ware County - east
  • Clinch County - southeast
  • Lanier County - south
  • Berrien County - west

Protected areas

  • Satilla River sub-basin


In 2000 8,375 people were living in the county with a population density of 25 people/sq. mi. The racial makeup of the county was 62.2% White, 17.3% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 17.7% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 24.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In 2010 8,375 people were living in the county with a population density of 24.7 people/sq. mi. The median income for a household in the county was $33,834 and the median income for a family was $34,859. The per capita income for the county was $15,456. About 19.8% of families and 28.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.4% of those under age 18 and 21.3% of those age 65 or over [7]

  • The county is serviced along with Coffee County, Georgia by the Satilla Regional Library System.


  • U.S. Route 82
  • U.S. Route 221
  • U.S. Route 441
  • Georgia State Route 31
  • Georgia State Route 64
  • Georgia State Route 89
  • Georgia State Route 90
  • Georgia State Route 135
  • Georgia State Route 520


  • Atkinson County School district for K through 12 grades are 2 elementary schools (each have a pre-school program) and 1 high school. The district employs 102 full time teachers and has 1,648 students.
Pearson Elementary School
Willacoochee Elementary School
Atkinson County Middle School
Atkinson County High School



County Resources

  • Minnie F. Corbitt Memorial Museum, established 1955 in the first residence built in Pearson (1873). It is dedicated to the memory of South Georgia pioneers and their way of life.
  • Pearson 1st residence was built by S. J. Henderson circa 1873 on lot no. 1. Pearson was then the terminus of the Brunswick & Albany RailRoad.
  • In 1905 it became the residence of Martin S. Corbitt (mayor 1905-1906) and Minnie F. Corbitt who was ordinary of Atkinson County 1928-1930 of Pearson. 1955, at the request of Mrs. Corbitt and her sons, the house was dedicated by the City of Pearson and the John Floyd Chapter, D A R to the perpetuation of the memory of south Georgia pioneers and their way of life.
  • Columbus Salt Road
  • Kinnaird Trail
  • Minnie F. Corbitt Memorial Museum, 1955 and located in the first house in Pearson, built in 1873.


1920 --- 7,656 —
1930 --- 6,894 −10.0%
1940 --- 7,093 2.9%
1950 --- 7,362 3.8%
1960 --- 6,188 −15.9%
1970 --- 5,879 −5.0%
1980 --- 6,141 4.5%
1990 --- 6,213 1.2%
2000 --- 7,609 22.5%
2010 --- 8,375 10.1%
Est. 2016 --- 8,273



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A History of Georgia: From Its First Discovery by Europeans to the Adoption of the Present Constitution in MDCCXCVIII, Vol 1], by William Bacon Stevens January 1, 1847 New York : D. Appleton

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