Georgia Today – 159 Counties

The county system is the bedrock of the American governance system within each state.  It evolved from the English system which began as “shires” in the 7th century but evolved into a county system over time.  In America, counties serve as the principal political subdivision of each state, although how many counties and the number of people served per county is another matter.  Georgia now has 159 counties, second only to the state of Texas, which has 254.

Why so many counties? Lots of reasons, but mainly because it was relatively easy to do and certain people benefited from the creation of a new political entity complete with power, jobs and money.  In 1755, the Church of England subdivided the colony into eight original “parishes”.  By 1800 the Revolutionary War was over and there were now 24 counties in Georgia.  By 1833 Georgia’s external footprint was complete and Georgia had 89 counties.  Over 37 Million acres had been “ceded” from the Creeks and the Cherokees in less than 75 years. Today’s 159 counties are the result of an additional 70 counties being carved out of the original 89.

georgia-county-map

To see how Georgia developed year by year and county by county click here

To learn more about the development of Georgia counties click here.

In this post Revolutionary War environment, veterans and other land hungry settlers poured into Georgia.  Most of these settlers lived in rough log cabins and set to clearing land and raising crops for subsistence, as well as barter for tools and materials.   There was much conflict with the native inhabitants.  Soon, successful planters begin to emerge with larger land holdings and communities and towns began to take shape.  This emerging infrastructure, along with the associated agricultural commerce gave rise to the need for roads and transportation of people and products to market.  Many of these roads were built on ancient Indian trails and footpaths. 

To learn more about early road building in Georgia click here.

To learn more about early Indian trails and roads click here.

The late 1700’s saw the establishment of farms and crude settlements as Georgia was rapidly emerging as a full fledged state with a significant economy. This economy was driven by agricultural activity, towns, transportation and the goods and services required to support it.  The convergence of huge amounts of virtually free land  and the resulting massive migration to take advantage of it,gave rise to the spontaneous creation of rural communities all across the new state of Georgia.  At the heart of these emerging communities were the churches.  The churches came first.  The towns, the county system and all else followed.  We feel that these early rural churches of Georgia are a vital part of who we are and how we got here.  They should be treasured and preserved for future generations.