Glynn County


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According to its 1732 charter, the colony of Georgia was carved out of the middle of a vast region claimed by South Carolina. Georgia's boundaries extended from the Savannah River southward to the Altamaha River. Legally, lands south of the Altamaha River -- including what would later become Glynn County -- remained part of South Carolina (though Spanish Florida also claimed this same area). Not until September 1763 did Britain officially annex the land south of the Altamaha River to Georgia.

At the time of the arrival of James Oglethorpe and the first Georgia colonists in 1733, the land south of the Savannah River was part of the Lower Creek Nation. On May 21, 1733, Creek leaders signed the Treaty of Savannah, which allowed Oglethorpe's colonists to settle on "all those lands which our nation hath not occasion to use." Because the Altamaha River formed Georgia's southern boundary, the treaty presumably did not apply to Creek lands south of that river. In 1736, chief Tomochichi gave Oglethorpe oral permission to settle English colonists on any of his lands -- an area he claimed extended southward to the St. Johns River. Based on this agreement, Oglethorpe proceeded with the settlement of St. Simons Island in 1736. Because the island was south of the mouth of the Altamaha River, Oglethorpe technically was settling land outside of Georgia's chartered boundaries. In the Treaty of Coweta in 1739, the Creek Indians formally ceded to Britain all coastal lands and islands as far south as the St. Johns River. Thus, on this date, the Creek Indians officially gave up any claims to the land that would become Glynn County. Of course, the region south of the Altamaha River was still claimed by South Carolina.

In 1741, the Trustees of Georgia divided the colony into two counties -- Savannah and Frederica. The County of Frederica consisted of all lands in Georgia south of the Ogeechee River, and the town of Frederica on St. Simons Island was to be the county seat. However, because of concern about a Spanish invasion, the county of Frederica never became a reality. After the Trustees surrendered their charter in 1752, Georgia became a royal colony. By an act of March 15, 1758, the colonial legislature created seven parishes. Because South Carolina still claimed the land south of the Altamaha River, none of Georgia's new parishes involved the mainland south of the river. However, the legislature did assert a claim to St. Simons Island, which became St. James Parish.

On March 25, 1765, Georgia's colonial assembly divided the territory south of the Altamaha River into four new parishes. Two of these parishes -- St. David and St. Patrick -- would later be combined to form the mainland portion of Glynn County. Additionally, the 1765 act assigned Jekyll Island to St. James Parish, meaning that this parish consisted entirely of St. Simons and Jekyll islands.

With the outbreak of the American Revolution, Whig forces took control of government in Georgia. On Feb. 5, 1777, they adopted the state's first constitution -- the Constitution of 1777. Art. IV of that document transformed the existing colonial parishes into seven counties, with Indian ceded lands to the north forming an eighth county. Glynn County, which was seventh on the list and thus is considered Georgia's seventh county, consisted of all of St. David and St. Patrick parishes (see map). It was named for John Glynn, a member of the British House of Commons who was supported the rights of the American colonies. In 1789, the legislature added St. Simons and Jekyll islands to Glynn County. In 1805, the legislature formed Wayne County entirely from western areas of Glynn County.

Glynn County Place Names

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