Georgia Counties
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Georgia Counties

Georgia is divided into one hundred and fifty-nine counties. The original eight counties of the State of Georgia were Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond and Wilkes all created on February 5, 1777. The last new county to be established in Georgia was Peach County, established in 1924.

Wilkes County, Georgia

Wilkes County Education, Geography, and HistoryWilkes County, Georgia Courthouse

Wilkes County is a county located in the state of Georgia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 10,593. Wilkes County was created on February 25, 1784.    The county seat is the city of Washington. Wilkes county is named in honor of John Wilkes (1727-1797), a British Member of Parliament who sympathized with the cause of American independence.

Referred to as "Washington-Wilkes", the county seat and county are commonly treated as a single entity by locals, including the area's historical society and the Chamber of Commerce. This is part of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).

Etymology - Origin of Wilkes County Name

Wilkes County was named for John Wilkes, a member of the British Parliament who supported the colonies' cause.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Wilkes County History

Wilkes County, the 8th county formed in Georgia, was created in 1777. Originally including Lincoln, Elbert and parts of Hart, Madison, McDuffie, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Warren counties, Wilkes County was named for John Wilkes, a member of the British Parliament who supported the colonies' cause.

Washington is said to be the first community in the nation to be incorporated under the name in honor of George Washington, and has more ante-bellum homes than any other city of its size in the state. The community was originally named Heard's Fort after the family that settled it in 1773. They were neighbors of George Washington in Virginia.

The world's first cotton gin was developed by Eli Whitney on a Wilkes County plantation in 1794. The county is also the site of the first cotton mill in the south.

Washington is the site of the Heard House where Jefferson Davis formally dissolved the Confederacy on May 5, 1865.

Points of Interest

Callaway Plantation is a living history museum where visitors can tour plantation houses and see how life on a plantation was lived in the 1800s.

Notable Citizens

Among notable citizens of Wilkes County are: Elijah Clark, a pioneer settler and hero of the Revolution; Alexander H. Stephens who was the Vice President of the Confederacy and a Georgia governor; Robert A. Toombs, a US Senator and the Secretary of State for the Confederacy; and John Springer, a Minister and Educator who taught at Princeton and fought in the Revolution.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 474 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 469 square miles (1,210 km2) is land and 4.6 square miles (12 km2) (1.0%) is water.

 Wilkes county is located in north Georgia. The county is in the Savannah River basin.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Elbert County
  • East: Lincoln County
  • Southeast: McDuffie County
  • South: Warren County
  • Southwest: Taliaferro County
  • Northwest: Oglethorpe County


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