On July 30, 1918, the General Assembly proposed a constitutional
amendment to create the state's 155th county (Ga. Laws 1918,
p. 102). In that year's general election, Georgia voters ratified
the proposed amendment on Nov. 5, 1918, which marks the date
of Cook County's creation (although a state historical marker
on the Cook County courthouse grounds incorrectly cites the county's
creation as the day the legislative act proposing the constitutional
amendment was approved).
Why was Cook County created by constitutional amendment instead
of an act of the General Assembly? In 1904, Georgia voters had
approved a constitutional amendment limiting the number of counties
in the state to 145. The next year, the General Assembly created
eight new counties, bringing the total number to 145 -- the constitutional
limit. Nevertheless, there was continuing pressure to create
more counties. Beginning in 1906, lawmakers got around the 145-county
limitation by creating new counties through constitutional amendments
that were not subject to the limitation. By 1924, Georgia had
161 counties -- 16 of which had been created by constitutional
amendment. On Jan. 1, 1932, Milton and Campbell counties merged
with Fulton, leaving 159 counties. In 1945, Georgia voters ratified
a new constitution -- one which provided an absolute limit of
159 counties, with an additional provision (see
text) that no new country could be created except through
consolidation of existing counties.
According to the boundaries spelled out in the 1918 constitutional
amendment, Cook County was created entirely from Berrien County.
However, in 1857 the legislature had transferred several land
lots along the southwestern boundary of Berrien County to Lowndes
1915 map). In proposing the creation of Cook County in 1918,
the legislature intended that the Cook-Lowndes County border
be a straight east-west line and apparently had forgotten about
the 1857 change in county lines. So in 1919, the legislature
corrected the mistake by transferring these land lots from Lowndes
to Cook County. Taking into account this correction, Cook is
one of 25 Georgia counties that today retain their original boundaries
from the time of creation.
Cook County was named for former Confederate general, U.S.
Representative, and Georgia Secretary of State Philip