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Native American History of Laurens County, Georgia

Laurens County is in one of several regions of Georgia that contained advanced indigenous cultures that have received only cursory attention from the archaeology profession.  Future discoveries along the Lower Oconee River may radically change the understanding of the Southeast’s Pre-European history. Although this large county is composed of lands ceded by the Muskogee-Creek Confederacy to the United States in the late 1700s and early 1800s, true Muskogee-Creeks probably did not enter the region until the mid-to-late 18th century.  Even then, occupation was shared with other ethnic groups, who became political allies of the Muskogees in order to survive multiple threats their existence. Prior to the late 1700s, what is now the State of Georgia was a patchwork quilt of indigenous ethnic groups, speaking several languages and many dialects. The town names recorded by the de Soto Expedition in the Oconee-Ocmulgee River Basin during the spring of 1540, suggests that several languages were spoken in the region, including Itsati (Hitchiti,) Mvskoke (Muskogee) and Taino-Arawak. Toa, a town on the Oconee or Ocmulgee River, is a common Taino word, while an Arawak-speaking province of the Creek Confederacy, named Taosi (Tawasee in English) existed into the mid-1700s. Location and geography Laurens County is located in upper southeast Georgia. Its county seat is Dublin. To the northwest of Laurens is Wilkinson and Twiggs Counties. It is bounded on the northeast by Johnson and Emanuel Counties. Bleckley and Dodge Counties form its western boundary, while Wheeler County defines the southern boundary. The entire county is in Georgia’s Atlantic Coastal Plain. This region is underlain by relatively young sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.  Most of...

Native American History of Pulaski County, Georgia

Pulaski County is located in south-central Georgia. It is named after General Kazimierz Pulaski (1745 – 1780) – a lawyer and Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Its county seat is Hawkinsville. Kazimierz Pulaski is considered one of the great heroes of the American Revolution. He was first an officer in a failed attempt to liberate Poland from Russia. He briefly fought on behalf of Turkey in the Russo-Turkish War. In 1777 he sailed to North America and joined the Continental Army. Soon thereafter he saved the life of General George Washington. With the blessings of Benjamin Franklin, the Continental Congress appointed him to the rank of a cavalry general. Pulaski eventually formed the Pulaski Legion, which consisted of two troops of lancers, two troops of dragoons and 200 light infantry soldiers. Pulaski was mortally wounded by grape shot while leading a charge against British earthworks in Savannah, GA. What is believed to be his remains are buried at Monterrey Square in Savannah, GA. The county is bordered on the northeast by Bleckley County and northwest by Houston County. To the east is located Dodge County and to the west is Dooly County. Wilcox forms its southern boundary, while Dooly County forms its western boundary. There is evidence of intensive Native American occupation along all the stream bottomlands of the county. The Hartford Mounds and village site, plus the Shelly Mound are the two best known Native American archaeological sites in the county. Geology and hydrology Pulaski County is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain geological region. The Atlantic Coastal Plain is characterized by underlying rock strata that...

Native American History of Barrow County, Georgia

Barrow County located in northern Georgia and is part of the Atlanta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) The county seat is Winder. The county is named after David Crenshaw Barrow Jr. (1852 –1929.) Barrow served as the chancellor of the University of Georgia in nearby Athens from 1906 until 1925. Barrow County is bordered on the north by Hall County. On the east is bordered by both Clarke and Jackson Counties. On the south it is bordered by Walton County and southeast by Oconee County. Gwinnett County forms its western boundary. The Oconee Rivers defines the boundary between Barrow and Jackson County. Geology and hydrology Barrow County was located in the Piedmont geological region, which is characterized by underlying rock strata of igneous and metamorphicized igneous rock. The Piedmont’s terrain generally consists of rolling hills and stream valleys with some areas being almost flat plains. There are few permanent wetlands paralleling the streams. The top soils are thin over most hills and steep slopes, while much deeper near streams and in the plains. . Most of Barrow County was immediately south and east of the old Cotton Line, which marked the northern limit of cotton species grown before the Civil War. Cotton was the most important agricultural product before the Civil War. The landscape varies from being flat to moderately hilly. It was not well-suited for the large cotton plantations found in regions of the Southeast, adjacent to large rivers. Barrow County is drained by Oconee, Apalachee and Mulberry Rivers. The Mulberry and Apalachee are tributaries of the Oconee. These rivers are relatively narrow and shallow. There are some...

Native American History of Lumpkin County, Georgia

Lumpkin County located in northern Georgia. It is part of the Atlanta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) Its county seat is Dahlonega. It is named after Wilson Lumpkin, a U.S. Congressman and governor of Georgia in the early 1800s. He was state Indian commissioner when the Creeks ceded tracts of land that eventually became much of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area and Cherokees ceded a tract of land that included the future territory of Lumpkin County. The original name of Atlanta was Marthasville, taken from the first name of Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter. Lumpkin County is best known for its historic association with the Georgia Gold Rush in the 1820s and 1830s. Gold was re-discovered by Georgians in the Nacoochee Valley of adjacent White County, but Dahlonega was chosen as the location of the United States Mint. Visitors to the county can still pan for gold at several gold mines. The town name Dahlonega is an anglicized form of the Cherokee word for gold, literally meaning “yellow earth.” Lumpkin County is bordered on the north by Union County and on the northwest by Fannin County. Hall County adjoins Lumpkin on the southeast. Dawson County forms its western boundary while White County forms its eastern boundary. Geology and hydrology Lumpkin County is located in the Blue Ridge Foothills and Blue Ridge Mountains geological regions, which are characterized by underlying rock strata of igneous and metamorphicized igneous rock. Lumpkin County contains some of Georgia’s highest mountains. Blood Mountain (4,458 feet above sea level) on the boundary between Lumpkin and Union Counties is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. The terrain...

Native American History of Jones County, Georgia

Jones County is located in central Georgia and is part of the Macon, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA.) It is named after U. S. Rep. James Jones of Georgia (c. 1769-1801.) Its county seat is Gray. Congressman Jones was born in Maryland, but moved to Georgia with his uncle. He was a member of the Georgia General Assembly from 1796 to1798. In 1798 he was elected as a Federalist to the Sixth U. S. Congress. He served from March 4, 1799 to January 11, 1801. He died in office on January 11, 1801, in Washington, D.C and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Jones County is bounded on the north by Jasper County and northeast by Putnam County. Baldwin County forms part of its eastern boundary while Monroe County forms its western boundary. Both Wilkinson and Twiggs Counties are located to its southeast. Bibb County forms its southern boundary. Geology and hydrology Jones County is located in both the Piedmont and Coastal Plain geological regions. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about 80% of the county is within the Piedmont. On rivers the transition from igneous-metamorphic to sedimentary rocks is marked by drops in elevation, along with accompanying shoals and waterfalls. The transition zone is known in Georgia as the Fall Line. The Lower Piedmont is characterized by underlying rock strata of igneous and metamorphicized igneous rock. The terrain consists of rolling hills and, stream valleys. Seasonal or permanent wetlands parallel many of its streams. These are relatively narrow bands of soggy terrain that provide ecological diversity for animal and plant life. The top soils are thin over...

Native American History of Jasper County, Georgia

Jasper County is located in central Georgia and is part of the Atlanta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) It is named after Sergeant William Jasper, a German-American hero of the American Revolution, who was killed in action during the siege of Savannah in 1779. Its county seat is Monticello. Johann Wilhelm Gasper (1750-1779) arrived in Philadelphia in 1767. There a British official changed his name to William Jasper. After working as an indentured servant for a few years, he moved to South Carolina. He joined the South Carolina militia in order to earn enough money to bring his Pennsylvania girlfriend down to live with him. He and Elizabeth married soon after her arrival, but then the Revolution in the South flared up. Jasper became a widely known as the hero of a series of battles around Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, SC. He died in 1779 leading a charge against the British breastworks at Savannah. Jasper County is bounded on the northeast by Morgan County and on the south by Jones County. Putnam County forms its eastern boundary while Butts County forms its western boundary. Monroe County is located to the southwest, while Newton County is located to the northwest. Geology and hydrology Jasper County is located in the Piedmont geological region, which is characterized by underlying rock strata of igneous and metamorphicized igneous rock. The terrain consists of rolling hills and, stream valleys. Seasonal or permanent wetlands parallel many of its streams. These are relatively narrow bands of soggy terrain that provide ecological diversity for animal and plant life. The top soils are thin over most hills and...

Native American History of Houston County, Georgia

Houston County is located in central Georgia and is part of the Macon, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA.) It is named after American Revolutionary leader, John Houstoun (1744 –1796). The spelling of the county’s name was changed to its current form after his death. However, it is pronounced House-ton, not like the Texas city of the same name. Its county seat is Perry. John Houstoun was born in St. George’s parish near present-day Waynesboro. His father was a baronet (minor nobility) from Scotland and a successful planter. Houstoun was appointed to the Governor’s Council by Royal Governor James Wright, but soon became an active proponent for Georgia’s autonomy from Great Britain. He was elected to both the 1775 and 1776 Continental Congresses, but did not attend the one in 1776 that adopted the Declaration of Independence. When the first president of the Georgia Committee of Safety, Archibald Bulloch, was poisoned by a British agent, Houstoun took over leadership of the patriot government in Savannah. He also was in command of the Georgia militia, until his personal conflicts with regular Continental Army officers contributed significantly to the failure of an attack on St. Augustine in British East Florida. He was elected Governor of Georgia in 1778, but had to flee Savannah in December of 1779, when it was captured by the British. After the Revolution, Houstoun served another one year term as governor. In 1790 he became the first elected Mayor of Savannah. In 1791 was appointed a justice of the Superior Court of Georgia. In 1792 he was appointed president of the Chatham Academy, Georgia’s oldest high school, and...

Native American History of Henry County, Georgia

Henry County is located in central Georgia and is part of the Atlanta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) It is named after Patrick Henry (1736–1799) – ardent patriot and twice governor of Virginia. Its county seat is McDonough. Henry is bounded on the north by Rockdale and DeKalb Counties. On the east Newton County forms its boundary. Clayton County forms its western boundary. Newton County forms its eastern boundary. Butts County is located to the southeast of Henry, while Spalding County is located to the southwest. Geology and hydrology Henry County is drained by tributaries of the Ocmulgee River. Most of these streams flow into the South River. The Ocmulgee River joins the Oconee River in southern Georgia to become the Altamaha River, which eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Henry County is located in the Piedmont geological region, which is characterized by underlying rock strata of igneous and metamorphicized igneous rock. The terrain consists of rolling hills and, stream valleys. Seasonal or permanent wetlands parallel many of its streams. These are relatively narrow bands of soggy terrain that provide ecological diversity for animal and plant life. The top soils are thin over most hills and steep slopes, while much deeper near streams. Short-sighted cultivation techniques in the 19th and early 20th century caused much of the best top soil to be eroded; thus exposing red clay sub-soil. Sandy loam can still be found near streams and there are some deposits of blue pipe clay (alluvial kaolin.) Most of Henry County’s streams, except for the Flint River, flow from west to east or east to west. Because of the terrain,...

Native American History of Haralson County, Georgia

Haralson County is located in west central Georgia and is part of the Atlanta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) It was named after Hugh Anderson Haralson, who was a planter, lawyer and United States Congressman from Lagrange, Georgia. The county seat is Buchanan. Haralson County is bounded on the north by Polk County, GA and on the northeast by Paulding County, GA. On the south it adjoins Carroll County, GA. On the west, it is bordered by Cleburne County, Alabama. Geology and hydrology Haralson County is located in the Piedmont geological region, which is characterized by underlying rock strata of igneous and metamorphicized igneous rock. The terrain consists of rolling hills, stream valleys and some relatively level plateaus. Seasonal or permanent wetlands parallel many of its small streams. These are relatively narrow bands of soggy terrain that provide ecological diversity for animal and plant life. The top soils are thin over most hills and steep slopes, while much deeper near streams. Short-sighted cultivation techniques in the 19th and early 20th century caused much of the best top soil to be eroded; thus exposing red clay sub-soil. Sandy loam can still be found near streams. Haralson County is drained both by the Chattahoochee River and the Little Tallapoosa. The drainage areas divide the county roughly in half. The Chattahoochee River joins the Flint River in deep southwestern Georgia to form the Apalachicola River, which flows through Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. The Little Tallapoosa flows from Haralson County into Randolph County, AL. It later joins the Tallapoosa River. The Tallapoosa joins the Coosa River in southeastern Alabama to form...

Native American History of Hall County, Georgia

Hall County located in northern Georgia. It is part of the Gainesville, GA Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA.) Its county seat is Gainesville. It is named after Lyman Hall, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. Gainesville was known as the Poultry Capital of the World in the 1950s through the1970s. It was here in the 1930s that Jesse Jewell pioneered the modern vertically integrated poultry industry, making chicken an inexpensive meat, affordable to most families. Until that time, chicken was a food item often reserved for Sunday dinner. In the late 1950s the Jesse Jewell Company pioneered frozen fried chicken and “TV dinners;” something that is taken for granted by 21st century North Americans. Jewell’s TV jingle, “When you buy chicken, make it a rule, real fine eating with Jesse Jewell!” dominated the new media of television in the 1950s. Since the 1970s clusters of poultry farms, poultry feed plants and chicken processing plants have been established at several locations in the southern half of the United States. The economy of the Gainesville Area has greatly expanded to the point that it is no longer solely dependent on poultry production. Hall County is bordered on the north by White County and the northeast by Habersham County. Both Dawson and Lumpkin Counties define its northwestern boundaries. Banks County is located to the east, while Jackson County is located to the southeast. Barrow County forms the southern boundary. Gwinnett County adjoins Hall on the southwest side. Forsyth County forms the western boundary, while both Dawson and Lumpkin Counties adjoin Hall on the northwest. Geology and hydrology Hall...
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