HARRIS COUNTY, GA HAS A UNIQUE AND VARIED HISTORY
But Harris County, GA also has a diverse history that has contributed to the unique quality of the region.
Harris County was officially created on December 14th, 1827 and named after Savannah attorney Charles Harris. Harris was a English nobleman who came to Savannah to study law at the age of 16, and came to be known as the best lawyer in Georgia.
The 464 square mile area was created from parts of Muscogee and Troup Counties.
THE DAYS BEFORE HARRIS COUNTY, GA
Before Harris County, GA was officially created, it served as a tug of war between Native Americans, English, French, and Spanish affairs.
The foundation of the county was laid down during the early 18th century, when the English and Spanish who were battling for territory came to a peace treaty with Native Americans and General Oglethorpe in 1739.
Benjamin Hawkins is another important, yet underappreciated, figure who shaped the area. Working under Thomas Jefferson, Hawkins was the first to document the plants and wildlife in the area in a journal called “Viatory of Journal of Distance and Observations”.
LAND CHANGES HANDS IN THE 19TH CENTURY
The U.S. government pledge of 1802 to remove all Native Americans from the land began a tumultuous early part of the century.
The Treaty of Indian Springs turned the area over to Georgia in 1825. The largest Native American group at the time, the Indian Creeks, moved across the Chattahoochee River into Alabama.
Georgia held land lotteries to auction off the new territories. The lotteries attracted settlers from East Georgia, to Pennsylvania, to the Carolinas.
After Harris County, GA became an official territory, Hamilton was incorporated soon after in 1828.
THE RAILROADS OF HARRIS COUNTY, GA
Pine Mountain was founded in 1882 as Chipley, which was later changed due to Callaway Gardens. Pine Mountain itself has an interesting history as part of the gold rush of the mid-1800s.
In the heyday of the gold rush, there were as many as 19 commercial mining operations. However, most had disappeared by the turn of the century.
Waverly Hall was incorporated in 1914. Both were developed through the railroad industry that went through Columbus, GA. The town was especially was hit hard by the commercial collapse of the industry, leading to a sharp decline in population.
Harris County, GA has a present day population of over 32,000 residents with four cities: Hamilton, Pine Mountain, Shiloh, and Waverly Hall. From Indian Creeks, to Thomas Jefferson to the railroad industry, the diverse range of influences as far as two centuries earlier still continue to impact Harris County, GA today.
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