This county was laid out in 1793. A part set off to Baldwin, 1807, and a part to Taliaferro, in 1825. Length, 22 m.; breadth, 20 m.; area square miles, 440. It received its name in honour of John Hancock, whose name appears so conspicuous upon the Declaration of Independence.
The north fork of the Ogeechee River separates the county from Warren, and the Oconee from Putnam.
Hancock is on the dividing ridge between the primitive and secondary, or rather tertiary formations. The northern portion is very hilly, with a red aluminous soil. The southern portion is flat pine woods, with silicious soil. The best lands are on Shoulder Bone and its waters.
Sparta is the seat of justice, twenty-four miles N. E. of Milledgeville.
Powelton is in the N. E. part.
Mount Zion is seven miles from Sparta.
The climate is mild, but variable. The history of this county furnishes a number of instances of longevity. Dr. Timothy W. ROSSITTA died in 1845, aged 92; General Henry MITCHELL, a soldier of the Revolution, died at 79; Mrs. Tabitha MARCHMAN, at 91; Mrs. Judith GREENE, at 84; Captain James REESE, 84; Wm. WYLEY, 84; Mrs. Elisabeth REID, 88.
Among the Revolutionary patriots who died in this county were, JOHN HAMILTON, Esq., aged 78; Mr. AMOS BRANTLEY, aged 70; Dr. EDWARD HOOD, 71.
HENRY GRAYBILL, Esq., aged 82 years. He was born in Lancaster, (Penn.,) but removed to South Carolina before the Revolutionary War, and afterwards settled in Georgia, where he lived forty-two years. He was a conspicuous and active man during the contest which obtained our Independence, and filled with credit to himself and country the important offices of surveyor, clerk of the court, &c., and was four times elected by the Legislature of this State one of the electors of President and Vice-President. He had been a member of the Baptist Church for fifty years, and of the Masonic fraternity since the first establishment of regular Lodges in our State. He sustained through a long life the most unblemished character.
From the earliest settlement of this portion of Georgia the citizens have been particularly distinguished for their great attention to the subject of education. Some of the most eminent men in the State received their academical education in Hancock.
Extract from the Census of 1850. --- Dwellings, 761; families, 785; white males, 2,134; white females, 2,078; free coloured males, 33; free coloured females, 27. Total free population, 4,272; slaves, 7,306. Deaths, 128. Farms, 444; manufacturing establishments, 20. Value of real estate, $1,630,646; value of personal estate, $4,049,156.
HANCOCK MANUFACTURING COMPANY. --- Situated at Sparta; dimensions of factory, 54 by 140; engine-room, 25 by 54; engine, 100 horse power; capital, $80,000; spindles, 4,500; looms, 100; operatives, 140; yards of cloth made per day, 3,500; pounds of thread per day, 500; osnaburgs, sheetings, &c., are manufactured.
The lovers of natural science will find much to interest them in this section of the State. Minerals are abundant, viz., agate, jasper, chalcedony, iron, gold, asbestos, kaolin, galena, zircon, plumbago, epidote, &c.
There are some remarkable mounds in this county. A gentleman has furnished us with an account of several on Shoulder Bone Creek. He says, "The principal one is 400 feet N. of the centre prong of Shoulder Bone Creek; its base is 20 feet above the level of the creek. A few years ago it was 37 feet high; around it are the remains of a ditch or intrenchment, containing about four acres. Near the mound is an inclosure. Human bones, to a large amount, have been exhumed."
This county has furnished her share of distinguished men. Hon. DIXON H. LEWIS was born in Hancock. Governor McDONALD, Hon.. W. T. COLQUITT, and numerous others, resided in it. Hon. BOLLING HALL was a gentleman of an uncommonly fine mind. We have in our possession a number of his letters addressed to prominent men, and they afford evidence of a great knowledge of the science of government. Hancock may still point to many useful and patriotic men among her citizens. It is said that she is particularly noted for producing stout men. We have heard of a jury whose united weight exceeded 3,600 pounds.
Among the first settlers of the county were, General H. MITCHELL, Bolling HALL, Charles ABERCROMBIE, General ADAMS, Henry GRAYBILL, Joseph BRYAN, Wm. REES, Jonathan ADAMS, John MONTGOMERY, Jacob DENNIS, Archibald SMITH, T. HOLT, Thos. RAINES, James BISHOP, Isham REES, M. MARTIN, R. CLARKE, R. SHIPP, F. TUCKER, L. BARNES, W. WYLEY, Wm. SAUNDERS, James THOMAS, Jesse POPE, Jonas SHIVERS, Wm. HARDWICK, L. TATUM, R. MORELAND.
Shoulder Bone Creek is memorable as being the place where a treaty was made with the Creeks in 1786.
Transcribed by Tim Stowell - October, 2003.