|Seat Information||In an act of Dec. 21, 1819, the General Assembly provided for election of Appling County's first justices of the inferior court and provided when elected, those justices were empowered to select a site for the county seat as near the center of the county "as convenience will permit." Apparently, the justices were unable to choose a site, for on Dec. 21, 1820, the legislature named Henry Hagans, William Smith, Jacob Raulerson, Jesse Meazels, and Gabriel Tucker as courthouse and jail commissioners with authority to select a temporary county seat "as nearly central as convenience will admit" (Ga. Laws 1820, p. 28).
In 1824, the General Assembly returned the power to select the county seat and construct a courthouse to the justices of Appling County's inferior court (Ga. Laws 1824, p 45). Until this was completed, Appling County elections and court sessions were to be held at the house of William Carter, Jr.
Eventually, the justices of the inferior court selected the land lot where Solomon Kennady lived as the site for Appling County's seat of government. On Dec. 8, 1828, the General Assembly officially designating this site as county seat and named it Holmesville (Ga. Laws 1828, p. 168). However, many Appling County residents felt that Holmesville was not conveniently located. The county's grand jury studied the issue and agreed that the county seat should be moved. Following that action and petitions for removal by a majority of the county's residents, the General Assembly on Dec. 24, 1836 appointed a seven-member commission and gave it responsibility for determining whether the courthouse should be moved to a more central location (Ga. Laws 1836, p. 106). If so, the commissioners were empowered to name the site of the new county seat and to build a new courthouse. Apparently, the commission was unable to decide whether to move the courthouse, for Holmesville remained county seat for over three decades. Continuing criticism over the matter led the legislature in August 1872 to call for an election the next month in which Appling County voters would decide whether to move the county seat. In the event a majority of voters favored removal, the act named a commission that would be empowered to select a new county seat and provide for construction of a courthouse. Presumably, those wanting a new county seat won the election, and the commissioners picked Baxley -- for the legislature in 1873 provided for selling the old courthouse at Holmesville and using the proceeds for construction of a new courthouse in Baxley [actually the 1873 act mistakingly indicated that the new courthouse was being built at Holmesville--but this error was corrected by the 1874 legislature].
Baxley was first settled as a result of the Macon & Brunswick Railroad being built through Appling County in 1870. Originally, it was a railroad depot known as Station Number 7 -- but it soon was named Baxley (after one of the community's first settlers, William Baxley of North Carolina). After the 1872 election on the location of Appling's county seat, the commissioners selected Baxley as the new county seat. Work began on building a new courthouse, and in either 1873 or 1874 county officials left Holmesville and moved to Baxley. On Feb. 23, 1875, the legislature passed an act incorporating Baxley.|
|Courthouse Details||In 1819, the General Assembly authorized the first justices of Appling County's inferior court to select a site for erection of public buildings, purchase a lot, and contract for construction of a courthouse and jail (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 65). The legislation also provided that until a courthouse was built, county courts were to meet at the house of John Johnson.
In 1820, the legislature named five courthouse and jail commissioners with authority to select the county seat and provide for a courthouse. Until a courthouse was built, county elections and business were to be conducted at the house of a Mr. Tomlison.
In 1821, three years after the Appling County's creation, the General Assembly authorized the county's inferior court to levy a local tax to finance construction of a courthouse. However, no action was taken--as the courthouse commissioners could not agree on the location of the county seat.
In 1824, the General Assembly returned the authority to select a county seat and build a courthouse to the justices of Appling County's inferior court. Until this was done, the house of William Carter, Jr. was to serve as the temporary courthouse. However, it was not until 1828 that the legislature designated that Appling County's courthouse and other public buildings would be located on the land lot where Solomon Kennady [as the name was spelled] lived, a site the legislature named Holmesville. Here, a wooden courthouse was built, though it reportedly burned in the 1850s. A second courthouse was subsequently built in Holmesville.
In an 1872 referendum, Appling County residents voted to move the county seat to a more central location. Work began on a new wooden courthouse in Baxley in 1873, and the legislature passed a law directing the county ordinary (probate judge) to sell the old courthouse in Holmesville and use the proceeds to complete the new courthouse. This courthouse continued in use until the present courthouse was completed in 1908. |