This Day in Georgia History
March 15, 1758
Georgia Divided into Eight Parishes
Royal governor Henry Ellis signed an act of the General Assembly dividing the colony of Georgia into eight parishes - Christ Church, St. Matthews, St. George, St. Paul, St. Philip, St. John, St. Andrew, and St. James - as part of a broader act providing for religious worship according to the rules of the Church of England. Although parishes were primarily religious jurisdictions, they also had several civil functions (such as setting taxes for relief of the poor and registering all births, marriages, and deaths). Four more parishes were added by an act of March 25, 1765. The final lands added to colonial Georgia were lands ceded by the Creeks and Cherokees on June 1, 1773. Later, the Constitution of 1777 redesignated the 12 parishes and area of ceded lands as 8 counties and renamed them.