Barrow County

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On July 7, 1914, a joint resolution of the General Assembly was approved proposing a constitutional amendment to create a new county from portions of Gwinnett, Jackson, and Walton counties. The new county was to be named after David C. Barrow, who was then chancellor of the University of Georgia. On Nov. 3, 1914, Georgia voters approved the constitutional amendment, making Barrow Georgia's 149th county. Reportedly, the new county was created because although downtown Winder was located in Walton County, its city boundaries extended into Gwinnett and Jackson counties, meaning Winder residents were divided among three different counties. Local citizens petitioned the General Assembly to create a new county with Winder as county seat in the center.

Why was Barrow 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.

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