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WILKES COUNTY, GEORGIA

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 The Story of Washington-Wilkes

Compiles and Written by Workers of the Writers'

Program of the Work Projects

Administration

in the State of Georgia

( The Records are clickable)

Submitted by Christina Palmer

 

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

1773 June 1. Land north of Little River ceded to Georgia by Creek Indians.
  December 31. Firt settlers arrive on site of Washington.
1774 January. Stockaded fort erected on site of Washington and named fort Heard; one built eight miles northeast on this site and called Head's Fort.
1777 February 5. "New Purchase" area north of Ogeechee River made into Wilkes County by first state constitution; Wilkes is first county named in the constitution.
1779 February 12. Battle of Kettle Creek fought.
  August 25. First court north of Augusta held in home of Jacob McLendon.
1780 January 23. Commissioners appointed to lay out town to be "called Washington."
  February. Seat of state government transferred from Augusta to Heard's Fort.
1783   New commissioners appointed by legislature and ordered to proceed with plans for town of Washington.
    Wilkes County (Washington) Academy chartered, one of first three in Geogria.
    Fishing Creek Baptist congregation organized; second Baptist church in upper Georgia.
1784   Immigrants from Virginia settled Goospond tract on Broad River.
1785   First Wilkes County courthouse built at Washington.
    John Talbot, wealthy Virginian who had settled on 50,000 acres in Wilkes County, builds first house other than log cabins.
1786   First school teacher, Samuel Blackburn, elected to teach in Washington Acadamey.
1787   Mineral Springs given to twon by Nathaniel Coats.

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    Grant's Meeting House, first MethodistChurch in Georgia, organized.
1788   Methodist Episcopal Church Conference convenes in Wilkes County for first meeting in state.
    The Reverend Hope Hull assigned in Wilkes County as itinerant Methodist preacher.
    Congregations of Liberty, Providence, and Symra Churches organized in Wilkes County.
1790   John Springer ordained; this is first Presbyterian ordination on Georgia soil.
    First Presbyterian congregation in Washington organized.
    Elbert County created from Part of Wilkes.
    Population of Wilkes County, 31,500 (U.S. Census), more than one-third of state.
1792   Date inscribed on Nelson's Rock, county's oldest preserved records.
    Methodist Conference first held in Washington.
1793   Original Oglethorpe County created from ladn taken from Wilkes.
1795   Eli Whitney perfects and sets up his frist successful cotton gin in Wilkes County.
1796   First permanent Washington Acadeemy Building erected.
    One of first Roman Catholic churches in Georgia built at Locust Grove in Wilkes County.
    Lincoln County created from Wilkes County land.
1797   Elijah Clarke, Revolutionary officer, dies.
1798   The Reverend John Springer dies.
1800   The Washington Gazette, the town's first newspaper, founded by Alexander McMillan.
    Population of county, 13,103 (U.S. Census).
1803   Hymns and Spiritual Songs, compiled byt the Reverend Hope Hull, published in Washington, used widely as Methodist hymnal.
1805   Private school for girls established in Washington by Madame Pauline Dugas.
1806   First hanging of a woman (Polly Barclay) in Georgia occurs in Washington.
1808   Alexander House, first brick dwelling in Georgia north of Augusta, erected.
1810   Robert Tombs born.
    Population of county, 14,887 (U.S. Census).

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1811   Bolton's Factory, first textile plant in South, built on Upton Creek in Wilkes County.
1817   First substantial Wilkes County courthouse completed.
1819   President James Monroe visitis Washington.
1820   First religious edifice (Methodist church) built in Washington; used by all denominations.
    Branch of Georgia State Bank established in Washington.
    Population of county, 17,606 (U.S. Census)
1825   First Presbyterian church in Washington erected.
    Some Wilkes County land taken inton Taligferro County.
1828   First Baptist Church in Washington erected.
1830   St. Patrick's Church built in Washington; first brick Roman Catholic Church in Georgia.
    Population of County, 14,237 (U.S. Census).
1831   City Board of Health apponted.
1832   Roberts Toombs elected member of Board of Town Commissioners; his first public office.
1833   Christian Index brought to Washington and published by Jesse Mercer.
1834   Methodist Conference again held in Washington; movement set in motion to organize Emory College.
1839   Washington Female Seminary organized by Miss Sarah Brackett, teacher, building erected by popular subscription.
1840   Population of county, 10,142 (U.S. Census).
1841   Much of Washington's business district destroyed by fire after which first fire engine is purchased and fire company of 25 men organized.
1845   Robert Toombs elected to United States House of Represnetatives.
1850   Population of county, 12,107; of Washington, 462 free (U.S. Census).
1853   Vranch of Georgia Railroad from Barnett to Washington completed.
    Robert Toombs elected United States Senate.
1860   The Irwin Guards ordered to Atlanta for immediate service in War between States.
    Population of county, 11,420 (U.S. Census).
1865   President Jefferson Davis holds last meeting of Confederate Cabinet in Washington.
1868   Thomas J. Beck, outstanding educator, open Burdette Academy at Mount Pleasant.

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1870   Population of county, 11796; of Washington 1,506 (U.S. Census).
1876   St. Joseph's Home for Boys organized by Father James M. O'Brien.
1877   St. Joseph's Catholic sisters organized and St. Joseph's Female Academy established under their control.
1880   Population of county, 15,930; of Washington, 2,199 (U.S. Census).
1884   East Wilkes Club organized by twenty-four county farmers.
1885   General Robert Toombs dies.
1888   Mule-drawn street cars for passengers and frieght operated from Georgia Railroad station to courthouse square.
1889   Mary Willis Library, first library free to both town and county in the state. completed and formally opened.
    History of Wilkes County written by Miss Eliza Bowen and published serially in Washington Chronicle.
1890   Washington Foundry, now in Washington Manufacturing Company, organized.
1895   Kettle Creek Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, organized.
    Business district swept by second large fire.
    Washington's Baseball Club organized.
    Episcopal Church destroyed by fire and rebuilt.
1897   School for Christian Scientists opened in Wilkes county by Mrs. Carolyn Armstrong.
    First public school building erected.
1899   Municipal light and water plants for Washington constructed.
    Last Cabinet Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, organized.
1900   Kettle Creek battlefield purchased by local chapter, Daughter og the American Revolution.
    Population of county, 2,866; of Washington, 3,300 (U.S. Census).
1904   Present courthouse built.
1905   Pope Manufacturing Company, Washington's first ice factory, built.
1907   Washingotn Coca-Cola Bottling Plant constructed.
1908   Washington Civiv Leauge organized.
  April 26. Confederate marker on public square unvieled.
1909   Grandview, first residential subdivision in Washington, developed and lots offered for sale.
1910   Woman's Club organized.
    Population of county, 23,441; of Washington, 3065 (U.S. Census).

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1911   New Wilkes County jail completed.
1912   St. joseph's Female Academy destroyed by fire; reopened in Augusta.
    Wilkes-Lincoln Fair first held.
1913   Washington Country Clubhouse built.
    Washington's first concrete paving laid.
1916   The Washington and Lexington Rrailroad begun.
    First Wilkes County soldiers leave for World War.
1919   Elberton and Eastern Railroad completed.
1920   Kiwanis club organized.
    Population of county, 24,210; of Washington, 4,208 (U.S. Census).
1921   The Wilkes Milling Company, Washington's first electric flour mill, built.
1923   Jerome Wootten Post American Legion organized.
1924   Washington General Hospital opened.
1927   Wilkes County Welfare Association orgaized.
1928   Wilkes County Co-operative Creamery organized and put into operation.
1929   Washington Building and Loan Association established.
    An old residence converted into clubhouse by Washington's Woman's Club.
1930   Kettle Creek Battleground Marker dedicated.
    Battery B, unit of National Guard, organized.
    Auditorium-Armory built on public school grounds.
    Population of county, 15,944; of Washington, 3,158 (U.S. Census).
1935   First successful curb market opened in Washington by club women of county.
1937   First garment factory, Royal Manufacturing Company, opened in Washington.
1939   Washington selected as headquarters for anti-aircraft unit of National Guard.
1940   Lions Club organized.
    Presbyterian Synod of Georgia met in Washington to commenmorate the organization of Washington Presbyterian Church and ordination of the Reverend John Springer.
    Population of county, 15,084; of Washington, 3,537 (U.S. Census).
 
 

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County Coordinator:

Georgia State Coordinator:
Ed Gordon

Assistant State Coordinator:
Vivian Price Saffold

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