Brooks County, Georgia

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Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia
1500's Historic Native peoples, (Apalachee and the Lower Creek) were in the area at the time of European encounters. [1]
1570 The first Europeans in what is now Brooks County were Spanish missionaries from their colony in Florida arrived. [1]

The area that was to become Brooks county was first opened up to European-American settlement in 1818 when Irwin County was established. Coffee Road was built through the region in the 1820s.

Coffee Road
1818 With a treaty with the Spanish and Native Americans, President Andrew Jackson claimed land for the United States that would eventually be Brooks County. Lowndes County's first court session was held at the tavern owned ran by Sion Hall on the Coffee Road, near what is now Morven, Georgia in Brooks County.[2] [1]
Coffee Road Trail was built in the early 1820's-- as a supply trail cut through the southern Georgia frontier. The trail ran from Jacksonville, Georgia, through Metcalf and across the Florida border to Tallahassee. The trail was approximately three feet wide (0.91 m), cleared, dug and leveled by enslaved African-American laborers. This trail initially was used to transport supplies and motions to the Florida Territory when the Creek wars were occurring and Indian wars were occurring. It had not bridges, ditches and only private ferry crossings could be used.. Pioneer families migrated to the area to claim land for plantation, who brought enslaved African Americans to work on the cotton plantations.

This became the first vehicular path through the region. The trail was later improved and paved. [3]

Post 1820 Settlers traveled down the Coffee Road from middle Georgia in their covered wagons, ox-drawn carts, and buggies. This became the first vehicular path through the region. [2] [1]
1853 Brooks was elected to Congress as a States' Rights Democrat, serving until his death. Preston Brooks was best known for his vicious physical assault in Congress of the older Senator Charles Sumner, an anti-slavery advocate from Massachusetts.
June 17, 1858 - Lowndes County residents were unhappy when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad announced they had selected a planned route that would bypass Troupville.
June 22, 1858 at 3:00 am, the Lowndes County courthouse at Troupville was set afire by William B. Crawford, who then fled to South Carolina after being released on bond.[1]
Aug 9, 1858 - a meeting began in the academy building in Troupville. All decided to request creation of a new county from the area of Lowndes County to the west of the Withlacoochee River . This would be called Brooks County.[1][4]
Dec 11, 1858 Georgia legislature created Brooks County from parts of Lowndes and Thomas counties as the 131st Georgia county. The 494-square-mile county was named for Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina, an extremely popular young legislator known for his intensely southern sentiments and his zealous defense of southern rights. [2]
Quitmen, Georgia
1859 While creating Brooks County, the judges of the inferior were directed to select a site within 4 miles of the county center for the County Seat. The act directed that the county seat be named Quitman to honor John Quitman, a former governor of Mississippi, veteran of the Mexican War, and Mississippi congressman. The judges acted quickly,by selecting a site for Quitman on the Railway line which connected Savannah and southwestern Georgia. [4] By Dec 19, the state had approved incorporation of Quitman, Georgia.
Jan. 1859 a month after the creation of Brooks County, the judges used the home of Thomas Folsom in Quitman, Georgia for the county's first court room. [4]
1859 A temporary Courthouse was built.. Work was begun on a new courthouse of substance.. The Civil War delayed building. The contractor died in 1862.. Finally the new courthouse was completed 1864. [4]
1859 The first courthouse, a small, temporary building, opened. Roads were projected to run from the courthouse to each part of the county. A permanent courthouse was begun.
Brooks county map
1860 Brooks County was developed for cotton plantations, which depended on the slaves to plant, pick, maintain the cotton plantations. Cotton provided a high return in local and overseas markets, which made the large plantation owners wealthy.. The 1860 census showed a white population 3,067, a Free people of color population of 2, and a slave population of 3,282.[1]
1862-65 soon the Civil War (1861-65) delayed the courthouse construction. That courthouse, was completed in 1864, is still in use today, although it has undergone remodeling and modernizing. [2]
Oct 23, 1863 The Atlantic and Gulf Railroad reached Quitman.[1]
Eudora Plantation, Brooks County
1862-65 Civil War, the county grew and provided the food for the Confederacy. It was called the "Smokehouse of the Confederacy."{History of Brooks County Georgia 1858-1948}.[1]
1862-65 -Civil War delayed the construction, by 1864 the new building was completed. This courthouse still stands today, with some remodeling, as well as modernizing.[2]
1862-65 Brooks county raised men for some Confederate Army regiments. Friction occurred between the economic classes of the county, when plantation owners, county officials, and slave patrol members were exempted from military conscription.[1]
Marker Civil War Vickery, slave conspiracy
August 1864 a local white man named John Vickery conspired to incite a slave rebellion. His plan called for killing the slave owners, stealing their weapons, setting fire to Quitman, going to Madison, Florida, burning the town, getting help from Union troops from the Gulf Coast, and then returning to Quitman. Authorities learned of the plans. On the evening before the rebellion, a slave was arrested for theft and interrogated. this was followed by Vickery and the other slaves. Aug 23, 1864, Vickery and his 3 slaves were tried by the local militia and hanged in Quitman. Activity such as this with food riots, draft evasion,unrest increased during the last year of the Civil WAr.. Historical Marker located in Front of Quitman City Hall, Georgia. [1] [5]
old Quitman, Brooks co. jail
1868-70's After the war freedmen worked as sharecroppers or tenant farmers. This county had a high rate of racial violence by the whites against the African Americans. The county recorded the highest number of hate-related murders. [1]
1918 13 African Americans were killed following a manhunt for Sidney Johnson. Due to Georgia's convict lease system, Johnson had been forced to work for an abusive white planter Following Johnson killing the planter, Johnson was killed by a police shootout. Others were killed including Johnson, Hayes Turner and wife Mary Turner who was 8 months pregnant. Possible 500 African Americans fled Lowndes and Brooks counties rather than face the same treatment. Nationally this sparked an Anti-Lynching Crusaders campaign,. known as the 1922 Dyer Bill. It proposed to make lynching a federal crime.[1]
Brooks county is a prosperous county. Farmers raise hogs as the primary industry. Moultrie packing house is in Brooks County. He saw the most hogs and fine quality near Quitman. Brooks county seemed to be prospering with nice homes, barns and fences. Farmers seemed to be loaning money to the merchants rather than merchants doing the loaning. [6]
Downtoan Quitman
The largest town in Brooks County, Quitman, was named the county seat. Quitman, in Brooks County, is known as the Camellia City. Longtime resident Betty Sheffield developed a camellia variety that carries her name. [2]
Today Brooks County is classified as being in the Plantation Trace tourist region.[1]
Other small towns in the county include Barney (famous for its peaches), Barwick, Morven, and Pavo.[2]
2010 - The Census 2010 shows Brooks with a population of 16,243, a decrease from the 2000 population of 16,450.[2]

Government Offices

1st Courthouse, 1859 The first courthouse, a small, temporary building, opened in 1859. A permanent courthouse was begun that year, but soon the Civil War (1861-65) delayed its construction. That courthouse, completed in 1864, is still in use today, although it has undergone remodeling and modernizing.

Brooks county Courthouse.

2nd Courthouse, 1864 In 1861-65 the Civil War delayed the construction, by 1864 the new building was completed. This courthouse still stands today, with some remodeling, as well as modernizing.[2]


Located just west of Valdosta in southwest Georgia, on the Florida border, Brooks is a county of moss-laden oaks and a long and honored history.
Size 494-square-mile county
Named for Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina
Size -the county has a total area of 498 square miles (1,290 km2), of which 493 square miles (1,280 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12 km2) (1.0%) is water.
Eastern boundary- the Little River (Withlacoochee River) and the Withlacoochee River, which together meander along a distance of over 100 miles (160 km) to form that boundary. These river boundaries are shared with Cook and Lowndes counties.
Southern boundary of the county has a mutual east-west interface of about 25 miles (40 km) with Florida The county is discontinuous along the Florida border,
Easternmost section about a mile east of the rest of the county. This section presently consists of one parcel, recorded as 350 acres (1.4 km2), although it has a border with Florida of almost 2 miles (3.2 km)
North-south boundary about 26 miles (42 km) in length with Thomas County to the west.
East-west boundary of 10 miles (16 km) and a north-south boundary of 3 miles (4.8 km) with Colquitt County to the northwest.
Parcels- 10,000 parcels of land, with 19 over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) and two more than 5,000 acres
Subbasins - majority of Brooks County, including the NW part, central Brooks County, and the SE corner, is located in the Withlacoochee River sub-basin of the Suwannee River basin. Most of the S edge of the county is located in the Aucilla River sub-basin of the larger Aucilla-Waccasassa basin. NE portion, centered on Morven and including Barney, is located in the Little River sub-basin of the same Suwannee River basin
Wildlife -Quail, dove, ducks, and deer abound in the fields and forests. Brooks County also offers excellent fishing in its many lakes and streams, which are open to the public.

Adjacent counties

  • Lowndes County created 1825
Brooks county
  • Cook County - northeast (created 1918 from Berrien County)
  • Madison County, Florida - southeast
  • Jefferson County, Florida - southwest
  • Thomas County - west (created 1825 from Early and Decatur counties)
  • Colquitt County - northwest (created in 1856 from Thomas and Lowndes counties)

Protected areas

  • home to several endangered plant and animal species, including the Pond Spicebush, the Wood Stork, and the Eastern Indigo snake


In 2000, there were 16,450 people in the county with a population density of 33 people/sq. mi. The racial makeup of the county was 57.36% Caucasian, 39.34% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.76% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 3.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In 2010 16,243 people lived in the county with a population density of 32.9 people/sq. mi. The median income for a household in the county was $41,309 and the median income for a family was $47,599. The per capita income for the county was $20,346. About 14.7% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 22.3% of those age 65 or over. [7]


  • US 84.svg U.S. Route 84
  • US 221.svg U.S. Route 221
  • Georgia 33.svg State Route 33
  • Georgia 38.svg State Route 38
  • Georgia 76.svg State Route 76
  • Georgia 122.svg State Route 122
  • Georgia 133.svg State Route 133
  • Georgia 333.svg State Route 333
  • BROOKS CO Runway length 5000' Lights, CTAF 122.9 FSS Macon 122.4 [12]
  • Cotton plantations needed slave labor. The county was majority black following the Civil war into 1900's. At this time hundreds of African Americans left the county in the GREAT MIGRATION to go to midwestern industrial cities to find better jobs and escape the Jim Crow conditions of 1880-1930's


  • Brooks County School District offers pre-school to grade twelve. There are two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school, Brooks County High School. The district has 167 full-time teachers and over 2,563 students.
    • North Brooks Elementary School
    • Quitman Elementary School
    • Brooks County Middle School
    • Brooks County High School
  • The county is serviced by the Brooks County Public Library.


Towns/Census Des Places/Uninco Communities
Barwick, Georgia, population 444)
Morven, Georgia (population 634)
Pavo, Georgia, populaton 711)

County Resources

  • The county is serviced by the Brooks County Public Library.
  • Brooks County Museum and Cultural Center

The former library was adapted for use as a cultural center. It is the site of a series of music, art, and culinary events throughout the year.

  • Georgia State Bicycle Route 10 is one of 14 bike routes across Georgia. Route 10 is 246 miles (396 km) long and goes from Lake Seminole in the west to Jekyll Island in the east. It runs a west-east route, of approximately 27.3 miles (43.9 km), through the County and passes through downtown Quitman.


1860 === 6,356 —
1870 === 8,342 31.2%
1880 === 11,727 40.6%
1890 === 13,979 19.2%
1900 === 18,606 33.1%
1910 === 23,832 28.1%
1920 === 24,538 3.0%
1930 === 21,330 −13.1%
1940 === 20,497 −3.9%
1950 === 18,169 −11.4%
1960 === 15,292 −15.8%
1970 === 13,739 −10.2%
1980 === 15,255 11.0%
1990 === 15,398 0.9%
2000 === 16,450 6.8%
2010 === 16,243 −1.3%
Est. 2016 === 15,687



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