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This Day in Georgia History

February 05, 1777

First Eight Counties Created

Georgia’s first constitution created the state’s first eight counties. All but the first consisted of former parishes that had existed under royal government. Counties named in the Constitution of 1777 in order of creation were:

Wilkes County – Georgia’s first county – was created from the “ceded lands north of Ogechee” – a reference to the land ceded by the Creeks and Cherokees in the Treaty of Augusta of 1773. The county was named for British politician John Wilkes, who supported the cause of the American colonies’ cause in the House of Commons.

Richmond County – Georgia’s second county – consisted of the former St. Paul Parish. The county was named for the Duke of Richmond, a supporter of the American colonies’ cause in Parliament.

Burke County – Georgia’s third county – consisted of the former St. George Parish. The county was named for Edmund Burke, another member of Parliament who championed the rights of the American colonies.

Effingham County – Georgia’s fourth county – consisted of the former Saint Matthew Parish and the portion of Saint Philip Parish above the Canouchee River. The county honored Lord Effingham, an English nobleman who supported the American colonies.

Chatham County – Georgia’s fifth county – consisted of Christ Church Parish and the portion of Saint Philip Parish south of the Canouchee River. It was named to recognize British Prime Minister William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham.

Liberty County – Georgia’s sixth county – consisted of Saint John, Saint Andrew, and Saint James parishes. Reportedly, the county was named in recognition of the patriots who lived in Midway, the first Georgia community to send delegates to the Continental Congress.

Glynn County – Georgia’s seventh county – consisted of Saint David and Saint Patrick parishes. The county’s name honored John Glynn, yet another member of the British House of Commons who supported the American colonies.

Camden County – Georgia’s eighth county – consisted of Saint Thomas and Saint Mary parishes. The county was named for the Earl of Camden, who supported the American colonies cause prior to the Revolution.