The legislation creating Charlton County provided that Trader's Hill (a former trading post on the St. Marys River) serve as temporary county seat until county voters could vote on designating "some central location" as county seat. That election was held in April 1855 and Trader's Hill (later spelled as "Traders' Hill" and "Traders Hill") was selected as permanent county seat. By 1880, the Savannah, Florida & Western Railroad had been constructed through Charlton County connecting Waycross with Jacksonville, Fla. The town of Folkston developed as a train station on the new railroad and soon grew to be the county's largest city. In July 1901, two-fifths of the voters of Charlton County signed a petition asking the county ordinary (probate judge) to call an election on changing the county seat from Trader's Hill to Folkston. In a September 1901 referendum, over two-thirds of the citizens voting approved moving the county seat. Subsequently, in December 1901, the General Assembly made Folkston the new county seat of Charlton County. Folkston was first incorporated by the legislature in 1911.
It is not clear what served as Charlton County's courthouse for the first two years after its creation in Feb. 1854. The legislature had provided that Trader's Hill served as temporary county seat until a county referendum could be held in April 1855 to choose a permanent county seat. In that election, voters chose Trader's Hill -- but the county did not have sufficient funding to build a courthouse. In March 1856, the legislature authorized the Charlton County to levy a special tax to fund construction of a courthouse and jail. Subsequently, a two-story wooden courthouse was built in Trader's Hill. That building burned in 1877. Presumably, a second courthouse was built, though details are missing out as to when and the building's appearance and composition. In 1901, the legislature designated Folkston as the new county seat, and a courthouse was built here in 1902. That structure burned down in 1928, and the current courthouse was built the same year. In 1978, an annex was added to the courthouse.
783.0 Square Miles
Charlton County was created on Feb. 18, 1854 by the Georgia General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1853-54, p. 290). The new county was created entirely from Camden County, with portions of Ware County added in 1855 (Ga. Laws 1855-56, p. 135). In 1856, the boundary between Charlton and Camden counties was readjusted, with each county gaining and losing land (Ga. Laws 1855-56, p. 131). Portions of Charlton County were used to create Brantley County in 1920 (Ga. Laws 1920, p. 34). Georgia’s 111th county was named for former U.S. Senator Robert M. Charlton, who died in January 1854.