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Oglethorpe County, Georgia

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Establishment and history of Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

Oglethorpe County, in northeast Georgia, is the state's seventeenth county and comprises 441 square miles. Creek and Cherokee Indians lived there when the first white people arrived, but they lost their land through treaties signed in 1773. Fur trappers and traders traversed the area before the first non-Indians established permanent settlements. A few trappers established a temporary community known as Kennedy's Gate, but it was no longer extant by the time of the American Revolution (1775-83). The first permanent white settlers, led by Revolutionary War veteran Colonel George Mathews to Georgia after the war, were a group of wealthy tobacco planters from Virginia. At first the area was all part of Wilkes County, but Oglethorpe County, named for Georgia's founder James Oglethorpe, was carved from Wilkes in 1793 to accommodate population growth. Over the years Oglethorpe County has gained land from surrounding counties, sometimes in exchange for parts of itself. [1]

Oglethorpe County was originally part of a large tract of land surrendered by Creek and Cherokee Native Americans to the Colony of Georgia in the treaty of 1773. The county itself was founded on December 19, 1793, and is named for Georgia's founder, General James Oglethorpe.Wikipedia

Oglethorpe County, established in 1793, is one of the oldest established areas in Northeast Georgia. It was named for General James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony 60 years earlier. [1]

This area was long inhabited by various Indian tribes. By the Treaty of 1773 it was part of a large tract surrendered by the Creeks and Cherokees to the colony of Georgia. Four years later, that land became Wilkes County. In 1793, Oglethorpe County was created out of the western portion of Wilkes and named in honor of the great English philanthropist, Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony only sixty years before.

With only traders and trappers, there were no permanent settlements in what would become Oglethorpe County until 1774, when a small band of families from North Carolina located on Long Creek, near the present site of Lexington. Extensive settlement of the new lands had been delayed by the Revolutionary War, but by 1784, bounty grants and other incentives offered by the State produced a rapid tide of immigrants into all the open lands.[2]

Many of the newcomers had been tobacco planters in Virginia and North Carolina. They found the area well suited to the production of tobacco, although, as a cash crop, it was quickly superseded by cotton after the invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Some of the settlers from Virginia and North Carolina were distinguished men and women of influence and wealth, who could be considered part of the old aristocracy. They were noted for their culture, education, integrity, and leadership. They and their descendants played important and influential roles in the development of Oglethorpe County, Georgia, and the nation. [3]

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