How Georgia's Counties Were Formed
The History Behind The Counties

Georgia was named to honor King George II of England, who signed the royal charter which established the colony of Georgia in 1732.

It was created to serve as a buffer between Spanish controlled Florida and English controlled South Carolina. 

In the fifty states there are over 3,000 counties nationwide.  The number and size varies from state to state.  Texas has the most counties and Georgia ranks second with 159 counties plus Milton, Campbell and Old Walton as defunct counties.

After Oglethorpe's founding of the colony of Georgia in 1733 there were no specific boundaries drawn for Georgia and very little functioning of Governmental bodies aside from defense and land issues.
There were originally twenty one trustees named in the 1732 charter "The Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia". Over the period of the trusteeship (1732-1755), fifty more were added.  The attempt to form counties in Georgia in 1741 by the Trustees died an early death due to the war with Spain.  The counties were to be Frederica and Savannah.  Georgia's population grew from 1733 and reached around 40,000 people in 1776.  Georgia did not have counties until 1777.  Georgia was originally divided into districts and towns from 1732 to 1758.  Georgia was divided into twelve parishes from 1758 to to 1777, these became the original SEVEN counties of Georgia:

Burke - (St. George Parish)
Camden - (St. Thomas and St. Mary Parish)
Chatham (St. Phillips and Christ Church Parish)
Effingham (St. Matthew and St. Phillip Parish)
Glynn - (St. David and St. Patrick Parish)
Liberty - (St. John, St. Andrew, and St. James Parish)
Richmond - (St. Paul Parish)
Wilkes County was the eighth county created on February 5, 1777 by the Georgia Constitution, but was originally created on June 1, 1773 from the Treaty of Augusta - when the Cherokee and Creek Indians ceded the land. 

Georgia's constitution in 1945 set a maximum limit of 159 counties for Georgia.  Counties or parts thereof, may merge with or establish themselves with a neighbor county, if such action has the approval of the Georgia General Assembly and the voters of the counties that would be affected by the change.  The residents can vote also to consolidate their county government with the government of all cities within that county - Clarke, Muscogee and Richmond have done these in the past. 

Many citizens of current day North Fulton are attempting to bring about change to create the 160th county, and in that change want to bring back "Old Milton County", which was merged with Fulton County. 
 

Click on the following Links to find more information on Georgia Counties:

Creation List of Georgia Counties and their Information

US Counties.Com - Misc. Info on Georgia

http://www.sos.state.ga.us/archives/rs/ghfaq.htm

 

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Sources and Recommended Readings on Georgia
County Formations:

[Source: Bryant, Pat. Georgia Counties: Their Changing Boundaries. Atlanta: State Printing Office, 1983.]

[Source: Krakow, Kenneth. Georgia Place Names. Macon, GA: Winship Press, 1994.]


For more detailed information on the institutional organization and development of the province, please see Georgia as a Proprietary Province: The Execution of a Trust by James Ross McCain (Boston - Richard G. Badger, 1917).

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