In addition to creating Georgia's first eight counties, the Constitution
of 1777 provided that: "A court-house and jail shall be
erected at the public expense in each county, where the present
[constitutional] convention or the future legislature shall point
out and direct." However, because of the war with Great
Britain, it is not clear if this provision was ever implemented.
In 1791, the state legislature enacted a law providing for commissioners
to designate a site for a Glynn County courthouse and oversee
its construction -- but whether a courthouse actually was built
is not known. In 1817, the legislature authorized county officials
to levy a tax to build a courthouse, but again it is not clear
what happened. In Dec. 1825, the legislature authorized the county's
superior and inferior courts to meet in the Glynn County Academy.
The law also made reference to "the house formerly occupied
as a court-house at Brunswick," which suggests that Glynn
County did not have an actual courthouse at the time. A courthouse
was built at some unknown date, but apparently it was less than
satisfactory. For example, in Dec. 1845, the legislature enacted
an act allowing Glynn County superior and inferior courts to
meet "in the new academy building in the town of Brunswick,
instead of the court-house." An act of Dec. 1849 allowed Glynn
County's inferior court and the court of ordinary to meet in the
county clerk's office "instead of the Court-house."
For the following three decades, Glynn County apparently functioned without a real courthouse, instead renting space for use as courtrooms. Finally, in 1883 county officials authorized construction of a new courthouse. In 1884,
the new three-story brick courthouse was completed (see photo). Twelve years later, it was badly damaged in the
great hurricane that hit Georgia's coast in 1896. The following year, county officials began a campaign for a bond referendum to finance replacement of the damaged courthouse. However, that referendum failed, so the 1884 courthouse continued in use.
of a new courthouse was completed in 1907 (see
photo). This building was used until 1991, when a new courthouse
was completed across the street. In the mid-1990s, Glynn County
built the W. Harold Pate Courthouse Annex several blocks away
photo). Renovation of the 1907 courthouse was begun in the
late 1990s, with the intent to use the restored building as offices
and a meeting hall for the Glynn County Commission. Completion
of that project was subsequently delayed on several occasions
due to lack of funding, and as of 2000 is still not complete.
County Courthouse Historical
According to its 1732 charter, the colony of Georgia was carved
out of the middle of a vast region claimed by South Carolina.
Georgia's boundaries extended from the Savannah River southward
to the Altamaha River. Legally, lands south of the Altamaha River
-- including what would later become Glynn County -- remained
part of South Carolina (though Spanish Florida also claimed this
same area). Not until September 1763 did Britain officially annex
the land south of the Altamaha River to Georgia.
At the time of the arrival of James Oglethorpe and the first
Georgia colonists in 1733, the land south of the Savannah River
was part of the Lower Creek Nation. On May 21, 1733, Creek leaders
signed the Treaty of Savannah, which allowed Oglethorpe's colonists to settle
on "all those lands which our nation hath not occasion to
use." Because the Altamaha River formed Georgia's southern
boundary, the treaty presumably did not apply to Creek lands south
of that river. In 1736, chief Tomochichi gave Oglethorpe oral permission
to settle English colonists on any of his lands -- an area he claimed
extended southward to the St. Johns River. Based on this agreement,
Oglethorpe proceeded with the settlement of St. Simons Island in
1736. Because the island was south of the mouth of the Altamaha
River, Oglethorpe technically was settling land outside of Georgia's
chartered boundaries. In the Treaty of Coweta in 1739, the Creek
Indians formally ceded to Britain all coastal lands and islands
as far south as the St. Johns River. Thus, on this date, the Creek
Indians officially gave up any claims to the land that would become
Glynn County. Of course, the region south of the Altamaha River
was still claimed by South Carolina.
In 1741, the Trustees of Georgia divided the colony into two
counties -- Savannah and Frederica. The County of Frederica consisted
of all lands in Georgia south of the Ogeechee River, and the
town of Frederica on St. Simons Island was to be the county seat.
However, because of concern about a Spanish invasion, the county
of Frederica never became a reality. After the Trustees surrendered
their charter in 1752, Georgia became a royal colony. By an act
of March 15, 1758, the colonial legislature created seven
parishes. Because South Carolina still claimed the land south
of the Altamaha River, none of Georgia's new parishes involved
the mainland south of the river. However, the legislature did
assert a claim to St. Simons Island, which became St. James Parish.
On March 25, 1765, Georgia's colonial assembly divided the
territory south of the Altamaha River into four new parishes.
Two of these parishes -- St. David and St. Patrick -- would later
be combined to form the mainland portion of Glynn County. Additionally,
the 1765 act assigned Jekyll Island to St. James Parish, meaning
that this parish consisted entirely of St. Simons and Jekyll
With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Whig forces
took control of government in Georgia. On Feb. 5, 1777, they
adopted the state's first constitution -- the Constitution of
IV of that document transformed the existing colonial parishes
into seven counties, with Indian ceded lands to the north forming
an eighth county. Glynn County, which was seventh on the list
and thus is considered Georgia's seventh county, consisted of
all of St. David and St. Patrick parishes (see
map). It was named for John Glynn, a member of the British
House of Commons who was supported the rights of the American
colonies. In 1789, the legislature added St. Simons and Jekyll
islands to Glynn County. In 1805, the legislature formed Wayne
County entirely from western areas of Glynn County.
Reportedly, Frederica on St. Simons Island served as Glynn
County's initial county seat. In an act of Feb. 10, 1787, the
Georgia legislature provided that Glynn County's courthouse and
jail be erected and that county elections be held in Brunswick
-- which made it the county seat. Ten years later -- on Feb.
13, 1797 -- the legislature formally designated Brunswick county
seat of Glynn County.
Brunswick was originally laid out in 1771 by order of Parliament.
It was named to honor the German ancestral home of the Hanoverian
kings of Great Britain -- King George I, II, and III. In 1796,
the legislature appointed commissioners with responsibility for
determining the boundaries of Brunswick and Frederica, to lay
out the town as near as possible according to the original town
plans, to open streets, and to have the commons of each town
resurveyed. On Dec. 29, 1836, the legislature incorporated Brunswick.
Size of County (Total
Area): 583.1 square miles
County Rank in Total
Area: 16th out of 159
City of Brunswick