GAGenWeb Laurens County - History

History of

Laurens County GAGenWeb

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The main crop in Laurens County was cotton.  By 1850 slaves accounted for 45% of the population in Laurens County, helping to care and harvest for

the cotton on the plantations.  The county went into an economic depression after Civil War.  The establishment of the five railroads in Laurens County

in the late 1800's helped to erase those economic woes. 

 

By 1900 Laurens County was one of the fourteen most heavily populated counties in Georgia.  Timber companies clear-cut tens of thousands of acres

which allowed even more cotton to be planted.  Laurens County farmers produced more than 31 million pounds of cotton in 1911. The Boll Weevil caused

the economic collapse of the county in 1919.  Only Carroll County had more farms than Laurens County between 1920 and 1930.  Many people left the

county after the drop in cotton production for better economic opportunities, leaving for industrial employment.

 

Among the leading citizens that lived in Laurens County early on were George Troup, David Blackshear and Mirabeau Lamar.  George Troup was Georgia's

first elected governor and was an early advocate of states' rights.  David Blackshear was a general in the War of 1812.  Mirabeau Lamar lived in Troup's

household as a personal secretary and later became the second president of the Republic of Texas.

 

George Linder, an African American minister who lived in Laurens County was elected in 1868 to the Georgia Legislature (during reconstruction). Private Bill

Yopp, a Laurens County soldier,  is the only African American Confederate soldier buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta.  Sugar Ray

Robinson lived some of his formative years in Laurens County, his parents were married there.

 

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The following was contributed by: Rose Jones at TOMNROSEJ@aol.com,

Taken from G.C. Smith's "The Story of Georgia and the Georgia People" and "The History of Laurens County, Georgia 1807-1941" by Bertha Hart)

 

On December 10, 1807, the General Assembly of Georgia passed an Act to lay out and identify new counties out of the counties of Baldwin

and Wilkinson. One of these new counties was to be called and known by the name of Laurens in honor of John Laurens of Revolutionary fame.

 John Laurens, a native of South Carolina, was of Huguenot ancestry, and had the honor of being aide to General Washington. The new county of Laurens

 was to consist of "all that part of Wilkinson County lying between the Oconee and the Ocmulgee Rivers.   

 

 The size and location of Laurens changed several times due to size concerns by local citizens. Sumpterville was the first county seat of Dublin and

was located on the West Side of the Oconee River on Turkey Creek. Sumpterville is located about eight miles west of the present county seat of Dublin.

The first court was held at Sumpterville at the home of Major Peter Thomas.      

 

The first grand jury consisted of: Benjamin Adams, Benjamin Brown, William Boykin, Robert Daniel, Joseph Denson, Benjamin Dorsey (Darsey),

Simon Fowler, Henry Fulgham, John Gilbert, Thomas Gilbert, Leonard Green, Edward Hagan, Andrew Hampton, Charles Higdon, Mark May, Gideon

Mays, George Martin, William McCall, Charles Stringer, John Speight, James Sartin, Jesse Stephens, Samuel Stanley, Samuel Sparks, George Tarvin,

 Joseph Vickers, Jesse Wigins, Nathan Weaver, David Watson, Joseph Yarbrough.

 

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