Cook County


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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 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 County (see 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 Cook (1817-1894).

Cook County Place Names

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