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Burke County is one of the state's original counties. It was
created by the state constitution of 1777 from the colonial
parish of St. George but within thirty years had to divide its
territory with the newly formed Screven and Jefferson counties.
Burke was the first county in Georgia to be designated.
The county was named to honor Edmond Burke, a member of
Parliament who supported the colonies' interest. Waynesboro,
the county seat, was named for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne who
won fame during the final days of the Revolution in Georgia.
In 1779, around four hundred British soldiers engaged Americans
led by John Twiggs and William Few at the Burke County Jail on
McIntosh Creek. The British were driven off.
Halfway between Millen and Waynesboro is the Bellevue Plantation
which was given as a royal grant by George III to Samuel
Eastlake in 1767. What is believed to be the original
plantation house is still standing and occupied by the same
family that has owned it since 1835. In 1864 it was slightly
damaged by gunfire when a Confederate cavalry unit led by Gen.
Joseph Wheeler caught Kilpatrick's Union cavalry pillaging the
The last surviving edifice George Washington was known to have
visited in Georgia had been located in Waynesboro but was
demolished in 1932. A stone marker is all that is left now to
commemorate his visit in 1791 to the house owned by Isaiah and
Alexander Carter of Waynesboro.
Source: Foundations of Government - The
Georgia Counties, Association County Commissioners of
Home of Mrs. Jones
Waynesboro (Bird Dog Capital of the
World) is the county seat for Burke, Eastern
Standard time zone in the Augusta metro areal.
Burke County claims ten Georgia Governors by birth,
residence, or marriage. Lyman Hall, Georgia signer
of the Declaration of Independence and member of the
Continental Congress, had a plantation in the
county. The other nine Governors with Burke County
ties are John Houston, Samuel Elbert, Edward
Telfair, Jared Irwin, James Jackson, David Emanuel,
William Schley, Herschel V. Johnson and Hoke Smith.
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