Gilmer County, Georgia

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1566: Attempts were made by the Spaniard Moyano to establish Catholic missions, but was not successful.[1]

1665: This region was originally claimed by the Spanish as part of Florida, until 1665, then it became part of Carolina.[1]

1732: Granted by charter to James Oglethorpe and became part of the Province of Georgia.[1]

1769: The first non-Indian settlers arrived and established homes in Talking Rock, which is now a part of Pickens County, along the Old Federal Road. This road was an access road granted by the Cherokee.[1]

1814: Cherokee Chief Whitepath, a warrior living just 5 miles north of Ellijay, and Chief John Ross, swam across the Tallapoosa River and stole the Creek canoes prior to the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, ensuring a victory for his friend, Andrew Jackson.[2]

1829: During the short period of "gold fever" in and around Gilmer County, prospectors came and some established the Georgia Whitepath Copper and Gold Mining Company; however the gold rush ended in the 1840's.

1831: Cherokee County was created by the state legislature. This included all land west of the Chattahoochee River and north of Carroll County.[1]

1832: Incorporated 3 Dec 1832 from Cherokee County, formerly the Cherokee Nation, as the 85th county of Georgia. Named after George Rockingham Gilmer, two-time Governor of Georgia, a state legistlator, and a US Congressman. He was a strong proponent of state sovereignty over Cherokee lands in Georgia and was governor at the time of the Cherokee's forced removal to the west. Originally, the county extended to the Tennessee border, but it was later divided into portions of Pickens, Fannin, and Dawson counties. It was divided because of the large number of Cherokee Indians inhabiting the area and was too difficult to administer. Gilmer County was reduced by almost 68% of it's original size, subsequently most of it's historic sites are located in what is now Pickens County. The Georgia Land Lottery occured during this time, even though the Cherokee had not relinquished their rights to the land.[3][1]

1834: The county seat was established in Ellijay. The name Ellijay is said to be from the Cherokee word "Elatseyi" meaning "new ground" or "green place".[3]

1836-1837: Fort Hetzel} was established to house the Cherokee Indians that were remaining in the area, then eventually moved west to Oklahoma. Many Indians died during the 6 months they were housed there due to little food and no sanitation. It was abandoned by 1842.[2]

1883: Residents successfully worked diligently to secure the arrival of the Marietta and the North Georgia railroad. Ellijay residents eaterly awaited the convenience of the railroad, but the road to the county seat was not completed until 1884. The construction of a roundhouse was started since it would be 1890 before service was established further north. [1]

1903: John W. Clayton planted the first commercial apple orchard in Gilmer County. He competed nationally, taking first prize in 1913 at the State College of Agriculture in New York, along with top honors at county fairs. By 1926, he had over 5,000 apple trees. The top varieties were Winesap, Rome Beauty, and Ben Davis.

1908-1916: In 1908, the first automobile arrived and this was a significant advance in the development of the area, along with the telephone in 1916. Once the development of Highway 515 was completed, a new age was brought to Gilmer.[2]

1920's: Boll weevils destroyed Georgia's cotton crops; the county's economy was bolstered by its apple orchards. The county is known as the "Apple Capital of Georgia". [3]

1929: The Bank of Ellijay closed in the dark days of The Great Crash, and remained closed until 1933.[2]

1939: Plans were begun to install electricity in every home after the Rural Electrification Act was passed by Congress in 1935. This plans was interrupted by WWI, but power was available to every person by 1950.[2]

1991: Ga Highway 515 was completed and brought increasing numbers of tourists, drawn by the county's apples, scenery and various festivals.[2]

Current: There are eleven apple orchards with roughly 35 varieties in Gilmer County, supplying the state with 60 percent of the apple crops sold in grocery stores. See Georgia's Apples.

Government Offices

Gilmer County was incorporated 3 December 1832

Beginning in 1946, Gilmer County was governed by a sole commission, three in all, up until 1988. It is now a three-member board plus a county manager.[3]. See Gilmer County Government Official Website.


Gilmer County Courthouse

1832 - "The place where Ned Tucker recently lived" was designated for meetings and elections[4]
1833 - wooden courthouse was constructed at that location
1854 - new courthouse was built and served the county for 80 years
1934 - The Hyatt Hotel (constructed in 1898) facing the downtown square was converted for use as the courthouse. This was the only courthouse in the State of Georgia nor originally built as a courthouse. Later, a private brick home across the street was purchased and converted into a courthouse annex.
1980 - listed on the National Register of Historic Places
2003 - the courthouse was condemned by the Gilmer County Fire Marshall because of extensive code violations and it was closed; county officers voted to destroy the building rather than renovate and restore it
2005 - identified as threatened by the Northwest Georgia Threatened Historic Sites Project
2008 - the original courthouse was demolished
2009 - the new courthouse was completed, located at the same site

[4] [5]


Location: in the North Central portion of Georgia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about an hour north of Atlanta[6]
Altitude/Elevation: 379m / 1243feet[7]
Area: 431 square miles (1,120 km2), of which 427 square miles (1,110 km2) is land and 4.7 square miles (12 km2) (1.1%) is water [3]
Top Commodities: early industry was cotton gins, gristmills, and sawmills, but mostly cotton; but switched to apples in the early 1900's, thus saving their economy when the boll weevils destroyed the cotton; other commodities are Agriculture, Food, Fiber, Horticulture [1][8]
Total Economic Contribution: Jobs: 2,290; Output: $581,953,218[8]
Climate: Summer: warm and muggy; Winter: short, very cold, and wet; Year Round: partly cloudy. Temperature typically varies from 32°F to 86°F and is rarely below 18°F or above 92°F. [9]
Soil: Valley: fertile; Highlands: produce pasture, Inian corn, oats, rye, and potatoes[10]
Trees/Vegetation/Forests: Blue Ridge Mountains: Haywood timber, such as oak and hickory, grows well[11]
Basins: Coosawattee River sub-basin in the ACT River Basin (Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin); Conasauga River sub-basin of the ACT River Basin; Ocoee River sub-basin of the Middle Tennessee-Hiwassee basin[3]
Ponds/Lakes: Carters Lake: deepest man-made lake east of the Mississippi, over 62 miles of uninhabited shoreline [12]
Mountains: Big Bald Mountain - highest peak in Gilmer County; Rich Mountain - 2nd highest peak in Gilmer County
Terrain: many mountains and valleys with steep slopes and high rainfall[11]

Adjacent Counties

Fannin County, Georgia - north
Dawson County, Georgia - southeast
Pickens County, Georgia - south
Gordon County, Georgia - southwest
Murray County, Georgia - west


Gilmer County is ranked as the 57th (out of 159) largest county in Georgia.[13]

Growth Rate - 2.13%

2010 United States Census: 28,292 people, 11,314 households, and 8,000 families.[3]

29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.3% were non-families, and 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals

- Average Household Size: 2.48
- Average Family Size: 2.92
- Median Age: 43.4
Population Density: 66.3 inhabitants per square mile (25.6/km2); 16,564 housing units at an average density of 38.8 per square mile (15.0/km2)
Racial Makeup: 92.3% white, 0.5% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 5.2% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races; and Hispanic or Latino origin made up 9.5% of the population
Ancestry: 18.7% were Irish, 17.3% were American, 16.3% were English, and 13.4% were German.
Median Income: for a household was $36,741; for a family was $45,317. Males had a median income of $32,177 versus $27,288 for females.
Per Capital Income: $20,439
Poverty Line: 12.4% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over


Census... Pop.... %±
[3] 1840... 2,536 ... —
1850... 8,440 ... 232.8%
1860... 6,724 ... -20.3%
1870... 6,644 ... -1.2%
1880... 8,386 ... 26.2%
1890... 9,074 ... 8.2%
1900... 10,198 ... 12.4%
1910... 9,237 ... -9.4%
1920... 8,406 ... -9.0%
1930... 7,344 ... -12.6%
1940... 9,001 ... 22.6%
1950... 9,963 ... 10.7%
1960... 8,922 ... -10.4%
1970... 8,956 ... 0.4%
1980... 11,110 ... 24.1%
1990... 13,368 ... 20.3%
2000... 23,456 ... 75.5%
2010... 28,292 ... 20.6%
Est. 2016...29,733 [8]... 5.1%

Public Schools

Gilmer County school district serves the Ellijay and East Ellijay communities.[5]
- Number of Students Enrolled: 3,558
- Number of Faculty: 247
- Number of School Districts: 1
- Number of Schools: 7 - 4 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school

Natural Resources

Coosawattee River


Bear Creek Trail access to an impressive specimen of yellow poplar known colloquially as "the big poplar" which is 100 feet tall and approximately 20 feet in circumference at its base[3]
Mountaintown Creek
Springer Mountain Trail
Falls Branch Falls Trail
Gilmer County, Georgia Trails


Cohutta Wildlife Management Area See also Georgia WildLife
Rich Mountain Wilderness See also Rich Mountain WMA
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Park - almost half of Gilmer County is in the National Park which is protected by the Federal Government against development.


Gennett Poplar - a giant yellow poplar measuring over 18-20 feet in circumference at its base and 100 feet tall; said to be the 2nd tallest tree in Georgia; named after the original landowner who spared it from the widespread deforestation that took place in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[3][14] See photos here
Apple Festival - held annually every October since 1971 in Ellijay. See also Wikipedia: Georgia Apple Festival.


U.S. Route 76 in Georgia
Georgia State Route 2
Georgia State Route 5
Georgia State Route 52
Georgia State Route 136
Georgia State Route 382
Georgia State Route 515


Ellijay, Georgia See also Wikipedia: Ellijay, Georgia
East Ellijay, Georgia See also Wikipedia: East Ellijay, Georgia


Cherry Log, Georgia a census designated populace, See also Wikipedia: Cherry Log, Georgia
Tails Creek

County Resources

Gilmer County Chamber of Commerce
City of Ellijay county seat of Gilmer County
Gilmer Library of the Sequoyah Regional Library System
Gilmer County Schools
Gilmer County Sheriff
Dalton State College, Gilmer Campus
Chattahoochee Technical College Ellijay Learning Center/Adult Education
UGA Extension Office for Gilmer County, Georgia
Piedmont Healthcare Mountainside
Times Courier News

National Protected Areas

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. See also US Dept of Agriculture Forest Service

Historical Markers

Hetzel a Trail of Tears Cherokee Removal Fort established in 1837, abandoned a year later[15]
Cartecay Methodist Church and Cemetery the church was organized in 1834 and the buildling was constructed about 1859[15]
General David Bailey Freeman the youngest confederate soldier[15]
Ebenezer Baptist Church established 1839[15]
Gilmer County established 1832 out of Cherokee County[15]
Gilmore County War Memorial erected in 1980 in dedication to all who served[15]
Whitepath home of Chief Whitepath, a full-blood traditionalist leader and member of the Cherokee National Council[15]
Oakland Academy established in 1867[15]
Springer Mountain [15]

National Register of Historic Places

Cartecay Methodist Church and Cemetery
Gilmer County Courthouse


George Rockingham Gilmer 34th Governor of Georgia; served as first lieutenant in the Forty-third Infantry Regiment from 1813 to 1815 in the campaign against the Creek during the War of 1812[16]
Hon Albert Henry Burtz (1878-1953) Mayor of Ellijay
John L Woody (1796-1873) Pioneer of Gilmer County


Gilmer County, Georgia Cemeteries on WikiTree
Cherry Log Baptist Church Old Cemetery, Cherry Log, Georgia
Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Ellijay Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Flat Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Jarrett Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
John Osborn Gravesite, Gilmer County, Georgia
Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Macedonia Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Category:Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery 2, Blue Ridge, Georgia
Mount Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Mount Zion Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Mountaintown Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Pleasant Gap Baptist Church Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia
Tickanetley Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Tickanetley, Georgia
Underwood Cemetery, Gilmer County, Georgia
Yukon Cemetery, Ellijay, Georgia

FindaGrave, List of Cemeteries in Gilmer County, Georgia
GeorgiaGenealogy, List of Cemeteries in Gilmer County, Georgia
USGenWeb Tombstones Transcription Project, Gilmer County, Georgia
US Cemeteries Project, Gilmer County, Georgia
Cemetery Records of Gilmer County, Georgia
List of Cemeteries on Georgia Genealogy Trails
AHGP Georgia Cemetery Transcription & Photo Project, Gilmer County, Georgia

Obituary Links

TimesCourier Obituaries
Miscellaneous Obits in Gilmer County, Georgia


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Gilmer County, Georgia on Georgia Encyclopedia
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Gilmer County, Georgia on RoadsideGeorgia
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Gilmer County, Georgia on Wikipedia
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gilmer County, Georgia on Galileo
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gilmer County Courthouse
  6. UGA Extension Office for Gilmer County, Georgia
  8. 8.0 8.1 2016 UGA Extension Office Annual Report, Gilmer County
  9. Average Weather in Ellijay, Georgia
  10. Georgia Genealogy, Gilmer County, Georgia
  11. 11.0 11.1 GeorgiaInfo/Galileo, Geographic Regions of Blue Ridge Mountains
  12. Blue Ridge Highlander
  13. World Population Review, Gilmer County, Georgia
  14. Atlanta Hiking Trails
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8
    Historical Markers Database for Gilmer County, Georgia
  16. George Rockingham Gilmer

See also

Digital Library of Gilmer County, Georgia
RAOGK, Gilmer County, Gerogia
Gilmer County Historical Society
Genealogy Inc, Gilmer County, Georgia
Our Georgia History, Gilmer County, Georgia
Historic Ellijay Downtown
List of Civil War Soldiers of Gilmer County, Georgia
USGenArchives Gilmer County, Georgia, Military
Civil War Roster of Gilmer County, Georgia
Gilmer County Genealogical Society
Born in Gilmer County

Book Resources

Author: Ward, George Gordon. Annals of Upper Georgia, Centered in Gilmer County (Ward, Carrollton, Georgia, 1965)

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Gilmer County Government is led by a 3 member commission, not a 5 member commission. There is a chairman and two post commissioners.

I live in Gilmer County, Georgia and was employed by the county government for over ten years.