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Atkinson County



Courthouse
County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

LocationPearson
Date Built1920
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival
DesignerJ.J. Baldwin
Seat InformationThe constitutional amendment creating Atkinson County designated that its county seat would be Pearson. When the Brunswick & Albany Railroad was built through the southern end of Coffee County in 1870-1871, a settlement grew up on the railroad. The rail station and village was named Pearson in honor of Benjah (Benejah) Pearson (1811-1885), an important Coffee County figure. On Dec. 27, 1890, the legislature incorporated Pearson (Ga. Laws 1890-91, Vol. II, p. 647).
Courthouse DetailsAtkinson County government began functioning on Jan. 1, 1919. What building initially was used for court sessions is not known, but construction of a three-story brick courthouse was completed in 1920. Remodeled in the early 1980s, this courthouse still serves today.
County Data
Population8375
Population 20007609
Population Growth10.0
County SeatPearson
County Area344.1 Square Miles
Location MapAtkinson County Location Map
History

On Aug. 15, 1917, the General Assembly proposed a constitutional amendment to create Atkinson County from the southern half of Coffee County and a small portion along the northern border of Clinch County (Ga. Laws 1917, p. 41) [Click here to view 1885 map showing future location of Atkinson County.] According to the constitutional amendment, the boundaries of Atkinson County were specified as: 

Beginning at the point where the southern boundary line of lot of land No. 334, in the fifth land district of Coffee County, intersects the middle of the run of Willacoochee Creek, then follow said land line directly east to the southeast corner of lot of land No. 15, in the sixth land district of Coffee County; thence south along the eastern boundary of lot of land No. 16, in the sixth land district of Coffee County to the southwest corner of said lot of land; thence along the land line directly east to where it intersects the middle of the run of the Satilla River; thence, in a southeasterly direction along the run of the said Satilla River to where the same intersects the northern boundary of lot of land No. 250, in the sixth (6) land district, thence directly east along said line to where it intersects the Ware County line; thence in a southerly direction along the Ware County line to the southeast corner of lot of land No. 234, in the seventh land district of Clinch County; thence directly westward along the land line of said lot of land No. 234 on the south, to where it intersects the middle of the run of Alapaha River; thence in a northerly direction along the middle of the run of the Alapaha River to the mouth of Willacoochee Creek; thence along the middle of the run of Willacoochee Creek to point of beginning.

 

Georgia voters ratified the constitutional amendment in the Nov. 5, 1918 general election, which is considered the date of Atkinson County’s creation (although a state historical marker on the county courthouse grounds incorrectly cites the 1917 act proposing the constitutional amendment as the date of the county’s creation). Georgia’s 153rd county was named for former governor William Y. Atkinson (who served 1894-1898). 

Why was Atkinson 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 that no new country could be created except through consolidation of existing counties. 

County Seat: The constitutional amendment creating Atkinson County designated that its county seat would be Pearson. When the Brunswick & Albany Railroad was built through the southern end of Coffee County in 1870-1871, a settlement grew up on the railroad. The rail station and village was named Pearson in honor of Benjah (Benejah) Pearson (1811-1885), an important Coffee County figure. On Dec. 27, 1890, the legislature incorporated Pearson (Ga. Laws 1890-91, Vol. II, p. 647).

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganAtkinson County Citizen
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
YearPopulation
2010 8,375
2000 7,609
1990 6,213
1980 6,141
1970 5,879
1960 6,188
1950 7,362
1940 7,093
1930 6,894
1920 7,656