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Burke County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1857
Architecture StyleVernacular with Italianate elements and Victorian clock tower
DesignerUnknown (perhaps D.B. Plump)
Seat InformationOn Feb. 26, 1784, the legislature designated Waynesborough as county seat of Burke County. The date of its initial settlement is not certain, but the town was named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Waynesboro, as the town's name was shortened to, was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1812.
Courthouse DetailsAccording to Jordan and Puster, Burke County's first courthouse was a log cabin constructed in 1773 -- four years before the county's creation. In 1777, a new wooden courthouse was built, but it burned in 1825. A third courthouse was built in 1856, but it was destroyed that year in a fire. The present courthouse was built in 1857. It was expanded 1899-1900, with L.F. Goodrich as architect. In 1940, a Neoclassical Revival annex was completed at the rear of the courthouse. Since then, the courthouse has been completely renovated. Reportedly, it is one of the oldest brick buildings still in use in Georgia.
County Data
Population 200022,243
Population Growth4.8
County SeatWaynesboro
County Area835.1 Square Miles
Location MapBurke County Location Map

The land that would form Burke County was ceded to the English by the Creeks in the Treaty of Savannah on May 21, 1733, confirmed and expanded by agreements of 1735 and 1736. By an act of March 15, 1758, the colonial legislature created seven parishes. 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 forming an eighth county. Burke County, which was third on the list and thus is considered Georgia’s third county, consisted of Saint George parish. The county was named for Edmund Burke, a member of the British Parliament who championed the rights of the American colonies.

Between 1793 and 1905, the legislature took land from Burke County to help form the new counties of Screven (1793), Jefferson (1796), and Jenkins (1905), and to add area to Richmond County (1841).

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Legal OrganThe True Citizen
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
2010 23,316
2000 22,243
1990 20,579
1980 19,349
1970 18,255
1960 20,596
1950 23,458
1940 26,520
1930 29,224
1920 30,836
1910 27,268
1900 30,165
1890 28,501
1880 27,128
1870 17,679
1860 17,165
1850 16,100
1840 13,176
1830 11,833
1820 11,577
1810 10,858
1800 9,504
1790 9,467