Emanuel County, Georgia

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250 years ago --The Lower Creek Indians lived in Emanuel County region and preferred to live in peace. Arrowheads and relics confirm their presence when hunting for game and pelts, and fished in the Ohoopee and Canoochee Rivers. These Creek Indians left about 1837 when the Spaniards, French, and English arrived.[1]
1733 The Colony of Georgia was founded at Savannah by Gen. James Oglethorpe. Its colonists were supposed to be both citizens and soldiers, to provide England with Georgia resources products and keep the Spanish, French and Indians away from the northern colonies.. [1]
1741 Early Savannahians and Carolinians moved into Georgia Colony. The Trustees of the colony thought about dividing the colony into (2) counties- Frederica and Savannah. So they divided these two counties into districts. [1]
1752 The Georgia Colony next became a Royal Province with a Royal governor. Soon the new legislature divided the districts into (8) parishes to ensure the Church of England doctrines was followed.[1]
Emanuel County, Georgia map and surrounding counties.
1773-1783 Indian cessions - Creek Indians were the first settlers, but lost their land in the Indian cessions after the American Revolution. The white settlers acquired their land via the Georgia lottery. They cleared the land from the pine barrens covering the county. They then were able to begin small subsistence farms. Industries such as logging of the pine forests, begin sawmills, turpentine stills and stone cabinetmakers began. [2]
Post 1776 Revolutionary War - Wills and Estate administration records found in Emanuel County records include some of these men with families named in the Revolutionary War days: Jonathan Coleman, Abram S. Lane, John Clifton, David Edenfield, Ephriam Herrington, Joseph Sumner, Jacob Durden and Henry Brown. [1]
Feb 1777 Parishes became counties, ratified by the first Georgia state Constitutional Convention. At this time Emanuel County was actually Washington County, then later became Montgomery County with a county Seat (5 miles) from Swainsboro. [1]

1812 Emanuel County, a SE Georgia's wiregrass county, was formed as the #39 Georgia county, an area of almost solid pine woods and creeks. Emanuel County was created from Bulloch and Montgomery Counties. The county named for David Emanuel, an American Revolution veteran (1775-83) who was Georgia's 1801 governor.[3][2] [1]
Nov 18, 1814 Gov. Early approved the formation of the County and county seat with a Georgia Act designating the site for public buildings in Emanuel County. This is where the first court for the county was held. Jesse Mezzel had pointed an area in the center of the county, on a high hill (3 miles) from Steve Rich's horse lot, which would be great for the county seat.. [1]
1812-1857 Swainsboro, Georgia is known as the "Crossroads of the South" since there are many highways in the area, such as the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and Hwy 80. Swainsboro received its name to honor Stephen Swain, the State Senator who introduced the bill for Emanuel County creation. Swainsborough, Georgia became Paris, Georgia in 1854, but by 1857 the town became named Swainsboro, Georgia. [2]
The Emanuel county line zigzags as it passes through Adrian, Georgia which causes part of the town to be in Johnson county with the other part in Emanuel County. Due to Kea's Mill' post office memo to citizens directing citizens to choose a name on the list, (memo read 'if they did not like any names on its list, "still more" could be sent in'), the citizens with a sense of humor who renamed the town Stillmore. [2] [1]
1830 Settlers arrived in Emanuel County and the Summit-Graymont District by paths which had been developed by the Lower Creek Indians near the Canoochee and Reedy Creeks. As time passed, the paths became more developed routes. Settlers staked land claims, built cabins, farms. [4]
1833, 39, 43 The Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia began to compete with the railway from Charleston to Augusta.. In 1839 the line reached from Savannah to Oliver, and 1843 the railway reached Macon, Georgia. [4]

History on former Gov. David Emanuel

David Emanuel (1744-after 1808) was born in Pennsylvania to German parents. David Emanuel arrived in Georgia prior to 1776, first settled on Walnut Creek, then later to Beaver Dam Creek. He joined the Revolutionary War and served as a scout under his brother-in-law, Gen. john Twiggs.. The British captured him near McBean Creek and took his clothing. 1781 David Emanuel escaped and found American forces. Soon David Emanuel was considered a staunch Maryland Whig. By (1789-1795). David Emanuel was a member of the Constitutional Convention (1789-1795) then later was elected to the legislative branch, and three times to State Senate. Emanuel investigated the Yahoo Land Fraud. In 1801 he became Governor from March 3 to Nov 7, 1801, when Josiah Tattnall was elected. Emanuel died at his home, 1808 in Burke County, Georgia. David Emanuel David Emanuel, Governor

1850-60 The "hill" is 317 feet high, is the site of the Emanuel County Courthouse, and the town was named Swainsboro for Senator Stephen Swain. Many travelers missed seeing this county, even with the historical data now to be found, due to few if no roads leading into Emanuel county. [1]
1860-65 Prior to and during the Civil War (1861-65), there were no roads, which hindered any transportation.[2]
1861-65 Civil war. Rosters of Emanuel county
Civil War Roster Emanuel County, GA
Civil War Roster Emanuel Co., company G
35th Regiment Emanuel Roster, GA
38th Regiment co. C Emanuel Co., GA
48th Regiment, Co. H Roster
1864 Civil War - The lack of roads did not prevent Gen. William T Sherman and troops from coming through Emanual County, Georgia, with raiding and destruction of homes and building on their way to the South Carolina. Farms failed due to the war efforts and lack of roads and railroads, followed by emancipation of the slaves. Destroyed homes and buildings were rebuilt which needed wood . Prior to the train lines, lumbermen cut the trees, to haul to Altamaha. From there they floated the logs to Darien Georgia, the lumber center. Then the lumbermen had to walk the (100 miles) to home (the Summit-Graymont area).[4] [2]
Rountree's log cabin on eastern side of Emanuel county
1866 and 1882 Central of Georgia needed people to haul the lumber to the railway. One haul, James (John) Rountree (1834 - 1914) owned 3700 acres of pine on the Eastern side of Emanuel out-leased part of the Railway line. A "Y" railway stubwas extended for turnaround was made on the Rountree property. [4]
This is sometimes called "The State of Emanuel" due to the large size of this county. Settlers here were poor, with small farms or property owners who could allow their cattle range in the open land. These people hewed logs for their rafts in summers, then in winter they floated the logs on the rafts to the Ogeechee canal and Savannah. [5]
Hotel Albert
Economic industry here was cattle and sheep raising, next was small amount of corn, sugar cane and oats in the poor land. After the Civil war, the commercial fertilizers helped enough to grow.[5]
1870 The railway train tracks in Emanuel County were not laid until the 1870s. After this the lumbar industry began in earnest.but when the railroads arrived, an era of large-scale lumber industry began. After the arrival of the Railroad, the Swainsboro Lumber Company operated twenty years in the lumber industry.[2]
1880 Parrish Mill was built in the George L. Smith State Park as a sawmill and a dam. The park also offers camping, hiking, and boating to visitors.[2]
1895 The 3rd courthouse was built 1895, which was 3 story and impressive.. This burned 1919.


1895 Courthouse, burned 1919
1900 Hotel Albert was built (within 1000 yards) of the Railway station along with other businesses and homes. [4]

Modoc,Georgia had 100 people in the village on the Midvalle, Swainsboroo & Redbluff railroad, (5 miles northeast) of Swainsboro. [5]

Monteis in the central part of Emanuel county, on the short branch of the Millen & Southwestern railroad connecting Dekle to Stillmore. Population of 1900 was 257, with a money order postoffice, some stores. (by Tammy Rudder).[5]

Odomville, Georgia in the western part of the county on the Wadley and Mount Vernon railroad, close to Adrain. It has post office, express office, and stores, with a 50 people in 1900. By Kristen Bisanz. [5]

Rackley, Georgia is Southwest of Corsica which has a railway. By Kristen Bisanz.[5]

Swainsboro, Georgia

Swainsboro, Emanuel County, Georgia is the county seat of Emanuel county, located between the Stillmore Airline and the Swainsboro & Red Bluff railroads. In 1900 population was 895 and boasted post office with rural delivery, courthouse, good schools, several churches and homes. Cotton (5000 bales) is handled here, by Kristen Bisanz. [5]

Summertown, Georgia has a station on the Midville, Swainsboro & Red Bluff railroad, with 1900 population of 158. It is proud of stores, post office, churches, schools, by Kristen Bisanz.[5]

Stillmore, Georgia was incorporated 1889. This is the 2nd largest town of this county. The Dover and Brewdon of the Central of Georgia, the Millen & Southwestern, and Stillmore Airline bring visitors and produced here. In 1900 population was 741. This town has a bank, good stores, factories, churches, a school, post office with express and telegraph offices, a money order Kristen Summit, Georgia is incorporated, (10 miles northeast) of Stillmore, on the Millen & Southwestern railroad, ten miles northeast of Stillmore.In 1900 its population ws 264 with factories, stores, shipping, and post office, by Kristen Bisanz.[5]

Wade, Georgia has a population in 1900 of 86. It is on the MIllen & Southwestern Railroad and boasts a post office, ships some goods, with stores. By Kristen Bisanz. [5]

Some settlers were: James Moon, Wm. Stephens, Henry Darden, George Roundtree, Richard Edinfield, M. Thigpen, A. Gardner, N. Rowland, E. Swain, James Tapley, John Small, James Hicks, Wm. Phillips, I. Sutton, E. Lane, B. Johnson, John Wiggins, P. Newton, Wm. Rowland, Wm. Norris, I. Norris, Wm. Douglas, S. Powell, John Rhiner, M. Curl, S. Kennedy, E. Coleman, D. E. Rich, E. Wilkes, S. Williamson, B. Keys, J. C. Sumner.

Adjacent Counties

Portions of Johnson (1858), Jenkins (1905), Toombs (1905), Candler (1914), and Treutlen (1918) counties were taken from Emanuel's original borders.
  • Jefferson County - north
  • Jenkins County - northeast
  • Burke County - northeast
  • Candler County - east
  • Tattnall County - southeast
  • Bulloch County - southeast
  • Toombs County - south
  • Laurens County - southwest
  • Johnson County - west
  • Treutlen County - west

Government Offices

Did this county have an arsonist?

  • Emanuel County has had seven courthouses in its over 200 years of existence.
  1. 1 place for Court business

In the county's early years, the court met on a high hill (3 miles) from Steven Rich's horse lot. Gov. Early approved a Georgia act for the first county Seat. This hill, 317 feet high is now the site of the Emanuel County Courthouse.[1]

1st Courthouse, 1814 was built but burned in 1854. (3 miles) from Steven Rich's horse lot. Gov. Early approved a Georgia act for the first county Seat. [1]

2nd Courthouse, 1854 This building burned 1855

3rd Courthouse, 1855 This courthouse burned in 1857

1895 Courthouse, burned 1919

4th Courthouse, 1895, burned 1919

5th Courthouse, 1920

5th Courthouse, 1920, was replaced with a 3-story brick building. This burned 1938.

1940 Courthouse

6th Courthouse, 1940 - did not burn!!! but was too small in later years. In 1990 several county offices moved into vacant office space on the courthouse square.

7th, current Courthouse, 2002-2003

7th Courthouse, 2002 The county bought land near the old Post office in 2000 to built its 7th courthouse and sheriff's office. The courthouse was completed in Swainsboro as a large single story building which has also incorporated the Post office building as well. 7th Emanuel County Courthouse, 2002, was built in Swainsboro in 2002. The 1940 courthouse, was the first in the county's history that did not burn. It was demolished in 2000, and a city park was built on the site.

A city square was built on the former courthouse site with the old sheriff's office renovated to serve as the city's visitors' center as well as the office for Swainsboro-Emanuel County Chamber of Commerce.


Size -686 square miles ( 7th largest in area of Georgia's counties)
Trees, vegetation- a large body of almost exclusively pine woods.
Creeks, Rivers -the Ohoopee, the Canoochee and Ogeechee rivers and a number of large creeks. :Swamps Large swamps,
Soil -the lands bordering the rivers were not arable, and there was no attention paid to agriculture.
First industry Stock raising, later logging
1960 Emanuel County has now increased in both population and industry, bringing the county to be a center for financial investment. increase in both population and industrial trends led to the county's becoming a center for financial investment.[2]


County Resources

  • East Georgia State College
  • Southeastern Technical College.

*Emanuel Arts Council has gallery and a gift shop

  • George L. Smith State Park, which houses the renovated Parrish Mill, a combination gristmill, sawmill, covered bridge, and dam dating from the 1880s.
  • Annual events include the Pine Tree Festival
  • Garfield Washpot Cookout annual event
  • Agricultural Appreciation Day.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Emanuel County is 22,598, an increase from the 2000 population of 21,837.


Swainsboro and Stillmore and Adrian are thriving towns with good churches and good schools.

  • Pat Mitchell, the first woman to lead the Public Broadcasting Service


  • 1990 census The current county population is about 20,546 according to the 1990 census.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Emanuel County is 22,598, an increase from the 2000 population of 21,837.



  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 http://www.thegagenweb.com/gaemanuel/brfhist.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/counties-cities-neighborhoods/emanuel-county
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_County,_Georgia
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 https://www.twincityga.com/LittleCityBigHistory.aspx
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 http://genealogytrails.com/geo/emanuel/countyhistory.html
  6. wikimedia commons.org

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