Early County, Georgia

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Formed From
1818--Early County was created 15 December 1818 from Creek Indian Lands.[1]

1830 map of Early County
350 CE to 600 CE The early Prehistoric and nineteenth-century history may be seen in Early County. The Kolomoki Mounds State park contains many of the earthworks and mounds which the Woodland which were found over 1700 years ago.. These have burial and ceremonial mounds. The mounds are sited with the sun, so that at spring equinox and summer solstice, the mounds are in line with the sun. [2]
1700's- 1800's As European settlers began to move into the area, confrontations occurred between the Creeks and the settlers. Soon the US Government removed the Creek Indians west of the Mississippi on the trail of Tears [2]
Chattahoochee watershed
1700's and 1800's The Lower Creek Indians are the earliest known known inhabitants for Early region. [3]


Blakely GA marker
1814 - the Treaty of Fort Jackson awarded the Creek lands to Georgia. Southern Georgia counties of Early, Irwin, and Appling were created from these lands. By 1819 these counties were organized. Early county was the #40th Georgia County and was named for Gov Peter Early (1773-1817) who all was a congressman and judge. After Gov. Early died, Early was named for him as he was serving as governor the years the Creeks ceded the lands that became the new large counties.[4]
1817 General Andrew Jackson pushed the Native American populations out of Georgia along what is now known as the Three Notch Trail. [3]
Dec 15, 1818 With an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1818, p. 27) Early County was formed as 1 of 7 counties. The Legislative act forming Early County did not give instructions for a county Seat. [5] [4]
Marker for Harrod's Creek (Old Factory Creek)
1817 Settlers began to settle in the area. By 1818 some were living on Harrod's Creek (Old Factory Creek) on the Chattahoochee River. 1855 a group of citizens built a 2 story mill cotton mill in later years.[6]
Immigrants came from the E Georgia counties, as well as South Carolina and North Carolina. They found Early county pine lands to be more productive than the eastern lands. Thus cotton planting was extensive.[7]
When Early Counry was divided from 3 original counties, to more counties, the original settlers became scattered over several counties.[7] [6][5]
1818 The Lower Creeks ceded SW Georgia to the USA with a treaty that became law Dec 15, 1818. [3][5]
Dec 15, 1818 Early County, Georgia was created from the Creek Cession lands, of 1814. Portions of Early County's boundaries were used to create Decatur County (1823), Baker County (1825), Clay County (1854), Calhoun County (1854), and Miller County (1856). Early County was named in honor of Peter Early (1773 - 1817), 10th governor of Georgia. [4][5]
1819 The same act for organization of Early County (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 65) gave instructions to the justices for the inferior court to select the county seat as close to the center of the county. It told them to hold court at the house of Richard Grimsley in the 28th district.[4]
Early County was positioned on land near the banks of the Chattahoochee River and tributary creeks. The river and creeks had deposited silt which formed rich soil for good cotton land. Eastern planters brought the slaves for the plantations. These people had culture and wealth and tended to build the large plantations not far from the Chattahoochee river to live with elegance. Luxuries from Columbus and Apalachicola were shipped to the plantation owners by the steamers, weekly. [7][5]
Chattahoochee River
Dec 21, 1819 Irwin, Appling, and Early counties were organized by an act of Dec. 21, 1819, which provided for election of county officials in each county (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 65).The 3 counties formed were large, they began to be divided.. [5]
Early County was split to form:
Decatur (1823)
Baker (1825)
Clay (1854) from Early and Randolph
Calhoun (1854) from Early and Randolph
Miller (1856). Other counties created from these five counties and falling within Early’s original boundaries are:
Dougherty (1853) from Baker
Mitchell (1857)
Grady (1905) from Thomas and Decatur
Seminole (1920) from Decatur
Thomas County (created in 1825) was formed having Early as part of its original land. [4]
Early County was a large county when first created in SW Georgia having (3,770 sq. mi.) In the early years of Georgia history. After this 10 counties were split off from Early county. Following the new counties, the size of Early dropped to 511.2 sq. mi. Its boundaries are the Chattahoochee River and Alabama on west, Clay and Calhoun Counties on North, Baker on East, and Miller and Seminole counties to South.[3]
Baker on East
Calhoun on West
Clay on West
Miller on South
Seminole on South
Thomas on South
1819 The Organization Act called for court to be held in the house belonging to Richard Grimsley. There they elected county officers and held the Inferior Court.[6]
1820-1825 Court was held in the Grimsley home during this time. [6]
Dec 19, 1823- Georgia appointed commissioners:William Howard, John Dennard, Wright Sheffield, Samuel C. B. Jackson and Joseph Grimsley (Ga. Laws 1823, p. 57), with specific stipulations for them to begin a courthouse.[4]
1825 Baker County was split from Early County. When this happened, Early County citizens had to establish a new county seat. The town is named Blakely, Georgia. Blakely was named for Capt. Johnston Blakely who was captaining the U.S. Wasp sloop during the War of 1812-1814, which disappeared Oct, 1814 along with its crew.[3]
1826 After Benjamin Collier donated 25 acres to Early County to be used for the county Seat, the courthouse and other buildings were built. Then Georgia legislature decided the name for the county Seat should be named Blakely, Georgia (Ga. Laws 1826, p. 174). Blakely was named for the War of 1812 naval captain, Johnson Blakely 91781-1841). By 1870 Georgia had incorporated Blakely, Georgia. [4][7]

1826 1st Courthouse - a wooden courthouse was built here. Other buildings were built in later years. [4]
1840's The Muscogee were moved to the indian Territory west of the Mississippi River during the Trail of Tears. [2]
The majority of Early County population was composed of pine woods people who raised cattle. [7]
1850 The other component of Early County population were the plantation owners along the Rivers, who had brought the slaves to farm the cotton. the ratio of African Americans slaves were equal to the white population. However the African American slaves were confined to the plantations on the river or on the creeks or tributaries. Up-county people kept the plantations here in Early County to spend the winters here, with their homes located far away. Then some of the wealthy planters lived in Early all year long.[7]
1850's Cotton plantations began by the European-American settlers. They brought in African-American slaves to work the plantations. [2]
1855 Citizens built a 2-story cotton mill on the N Side of Harrod's Creek, named Harrods. They spun thread and sold it in Columbus, Georgia. The factory closed in 1876. Tresspassers burned the building 1927. By this time it was called Old Factory.[8]
Marker for Old Factory Creek Cotton Mill
1858 2nd Courthouse was built which served until 1906. [4]
1862-65 Civil War - the courthouse in Blakely, Georgia, has one of the last wooden flagpoles from the Civil War era.[2]
1862-65- Civil War- The David S Johnston's Southern Confederate Navy Yard on the Chattahoochee River. The Navy yard produced the gunboat, CSS Chattahoochee and delivered it Dec, 1862. Two other boats were in Progress of construction when the war ended.[3]
1865-1870's The plantations on the river had all of the earnings invested into young African American slaves, thus these planters did not have money to hire the same African Americans.. His fortune was ties up in cotton and the cost of the slaves. --- When freedom came for the African Americans, these planters were not wealthy. . The plantation African Americans did not want to stay in the swamp areas, thus left to try for jobs in the towns or moved away.. This left the planter unable to manage the planting. Plantations were mortgaged, then if the cotton crop was a disaster, he was bankrupt. The plantations had to be abandoned.[7]
Cohelee Creek, an old covered bridge still stands.[2]
Cohelee Creek Covered bridge

1877-1950 Reconstruction Sadly 24 lynchings of African Americans occurred in Early County. (this is the 2nd highest number for the state). The majority occurred near the 1900's during the times of suppression of African American voting. Landowners and the African American sharecroppers have confrontations when accounts need to be paid.[2]
Agriculture still is the main source of economy. Landowners and the African American sharecroppers have confrontations when accounts need to be paid.[2]
Early County, 1874
1899 African American men (5) were lynched by white men due to cases of rape and robbery.[2]
1915 Another mass lynching of 7 African American men who were suspected of murder.[2]
Wealthy settlers had private teachers to teach the children at home. When old enough, they children were sent to the best schools. When they returned home, they brought educated friends and created a society of their own.The wealthy had their private teachers and their children were taught at home until they were old enough to attend the best schools of the South. gIn the summer time and in the malarial season they sought the up-country or their piny woods retreat.[7]
Lands near the river and creeks were fertile. A bale of cotton/acre was the normal production. Churches were far apart. Ministers were not supported or of inferior grade.[7]
Post 1865 Railroads were extended which changed the churches and schools.[7]

Hilton Station, Georgia this village originated on the Central of Georgia railroad, 5 miles NE of Columbia, Alabama. By 1900 the village had population of 104 with a post office, free rural delivery, express and telegraph offices, stores, and was a shipping area for the countryside.(Source: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Kim Mohler)

Kestler, Georgia was located on E side of Early County, incorporated Dec. 6, 1900. It also was built on the Georgia Florida & Alabama railway, with post office, and stores, and ships supplies out to be sold. In 1900 the population was 110 and had a money order postoffice, some mercantile interests, and does considerable shipping. (Source: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Tracy McAllister)

Killarney, Georgia was located near the Miller County line is in the S part of Early county. The railway is in Jakin on Atlantic Cost railway. (Source: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Tracy McAllister)

Saffold, Georgia village had population of 47, is located on the Atlantic coast Line Railway. It has stores and ships merchandise out by rail and water. (Source: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Tracy McAllister)

1906 3rd Courthouse was built in the neoclassical revival style.. This courthouse was renovated 1992-93. [4]
Kolomoki Mounds Historic State Park Museum
One of the most famous State parks of Georgia is the Kolomoki Mounds State Park. The Temple Mound, part of Kolomoki Mounds State Historic Park, is one of the largest mounds in the SE USA. The park is located in Blakely.[3]
Kolomoki Mounds Historic State Park.
Historical attractions are Kolomoki Mounds Historic State Park. The park contains one of the largest Native American temple mounds east of the Mississippi River. The Swift creek and Weeden Island Indians built all of the Temple Mounds.[3]
Inside Museum built around Kolomoki Mound excavation
Fort Gaines (located in Clay County) was a 100 sq. ft. fort, which had been named for Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines.The first white settlement was a 100-square-foot fort, Fort Gaines (now in Clay County), named after General Edmund Pendleton Gaines. [3]
Fort Gaines replica.
The Early County Courthouse, in Blakely, was built in 1904-05 in the neoclassical revival style. The courthouse was renovated in 1992-93.[3]
1906 3rd Courthouse
There are 3 public schools and 1 private school, called Southwest Georgia Academy in Early County. Higher education is provided by Bainbridge State College which holds classes at the high school and Albany Technical College has a satellite campus in Early County.[3]

Adjacent Counties

  • Clay County (north)
  • Calhoun County (northeast)
  • Baker County (east)
  • Miller County (southeast)
  • Seminole County (south or east)
  • Houston County, Alabama (southwest/CST Border)
  • Henry County, Alabama (west/CST Border)

Government Offices

Early County is operated by a commission-administrator system with five elected commissioners.

1826 1st Courthouse - a wooden courthouse was built here. Other buildings were built in later years.


1858 Blakely, Early Co. Courthouse
1858 2nd Courthouse was built which served until 1906. [4]
1906 3rd Courthouse
1906 3rd Courthouse was built. This courthouse was renovated 1992-93. [4]


516 square miles (1,340 km2), of which 513 square miles (1,330 km2) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (0.7%) is water. NO snow
Sunshine -225 sunny days per year in Early County.
Spring Creek sub-basin of the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin) - NE and E parts of Early County, extending south to east of Jakin.
Lower Chattahoochee River sub-basin of ACF River Basin - western portion of the county
Rainfall- 52 inches of rain, on average, per year. (US average is 39 inches of rain per year). Early County gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 67 days per year
Temperatures -July high is around 92 degrees, Winter Low: the January low is 37
Elevation -220 feet above sea level
Location- - Up-county or piny woods
Health - Malaria in summer.

Protected areas

The largest mound is 57-feet high, which dominates 2 smaller burial mounds and several ceremonial mounds. The park’s museum is built around an excavated mound.
Kolomoki Mounds in Kolomoki Mounds Historical state Park.
Kolomoki Historic State park has 8 Indian mounds, 1,293 Acres, has 2 lakes, 25 tent, Trailer and RV campsites, 5 picnic shelters, 1 amphitheater, 2 Group Shelters which seat 50-120. 1 group camp to sleep 135, 2 Pioneer Campgrounds, 1 boat ramp, sand beach, fishing dock and Museum with Gift Shop.


In 2000, there were 12,354 people in the county with a population density of 24 people/sq. mi. The racial makeup of the county was 50.3% White, 48.1% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. By 2010, the population had decreased to 11,008 people with a population density of 21.5 people/sq. mi. In terms of ancestry, 8.2% were American, 6.1% were Irish, and 5.5% were German. The median income for a household in the county was $26,928 and the median income for a family was $40,238. About 22.9% of families and 28.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.4% of those under age 18 and 15.2% of those age 65 or over.[9]

  • According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population is 11,008, a decrease from the 2000 population of 12,354.


  • Early County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of one elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 156 full-time teachers and over 2,764 students.


  • U.S. Route 27
  • US U.S. Route 27 Business
  • US U.S. Route 84
  • Georgia State Route 1
  • Georgia State Route 1 Business
  • Georgia State Route 38
  • Georgia State Route 39
  • Georgia State Route 45
  • Georgia State Route 62
  • Georgia State Route 62 Bypass
  • Georgia State Route 200
  • Georgia State Route 216
  • Georgia State Route 273
  • Georgia State Route 273 Spur
  • Georgia State Route 370


County Resources

Kolomoki Mounds in Kolomoki Mounds Historical state Park.
  • Kolomoki Historic State park has 8 Indian mounds, 1,293 Acres, has 2 lakes, 25 tent, Trailer and RV campsites, 5 picnic shelters, 1 amphitheater, 2 Group Shelters which seat 50-120. 1 group camp to sleep 135, 2 Pioneer Campgrounds, 1 boat ramp, sand beach, fishing dock and Museum with Gift Shop.



  1. https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Early_County,_Georgia_Genealogy#Parent_County
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_County%2C_Georgia
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/counties-cities-neighborhoods/early-county
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 https://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/topics/counties/early
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 https://www.raogk.org/georgia-genealogy/early-county/
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/county/fulton/early/
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 http://genealogytrails.com/geo/early/countyhistory.html
  8. Georgiainfo
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_County%2C_Georgia

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