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Early County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1904-05
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival
DesignerMorgan & Dillon
Seat InformationThe 1818 act creating Early County made no provision for a county seat. An act of 1819 organizing the county designated the justices of the inferior court as courthouse and jail commissioners and authorized them to select a county seat "as near the centre thereof as convenience will admit" (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 65). The act further directed that until a courthouse was erected, Early County courts were to meet at the house of Richard Grimsley in the 28th district. An act of Dec. 19, 1823 appointed William Howard, John Dennard, Wright Sheffield, Samuel C. B. Jackson and Joseph Grimsley as commissioners to select a temporary seat of government for Early County and to erect a temporary courthouse (Ga. Laws 1823, p. 57). In 1826, Benjamin Collier gave the county 25 acres for use as the county seat. An act of Dec. 27, 1826 provided that "the present site of the public buildings in the county of Early, be and the same is hereby made permanent, and shall be called and known by the name of Blakely" (Ga. Laws 1826, p. 174). Reportedly, the town was named for War of 1812 naval captain Johnson Blakely (1781-1841). The legislature incorporated Blakely on Oct. 24, 1870 (Ga. Laws 1870, p. 168).
Courthouse DetailsAn act of Dec. 21, 1819 organizing Early County directed that until a courthouse was erected, county courts were to meet at the house of Richard Grimsley in the 28th district. It is not clear how long Grimsley's house served as courthouse, but in 1826 Benjamin Collier gave the county 25 acres for building a courthouse and other public buildings. A wooden courthouse was built here in 1826, followed by other structures in subsequent years. A courthouse built in 1858 served until the present building was constructed in 1906. The current courthouse was rehabilitated in 1992-93.
County Data
Population 200012,354
Population Growth-10.9
County SeatBlakely
County Area516.3 Square Miles
Location MapEarly County Location Map

Early County was one of seven counties created on Dec. 15, 1818, by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1818, p. 27). [Click here for a legal description of Early County’s original boundaries.] Early, Irwin, Appling counties extended across south Georgia and were created from Creek lands acquired in 1814 by the Treaty of Fort Jackson.

Irwin, Appling, and Early counties were organized by an act of Dec. 21, 1819, which provided for election of county officials in each county (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 65).

Portions of Early County’s original boundaries were used to create the following counties: Decatur (1823), Baker (1825), Clay (1854), Calhoun (1854), and Miller (1856). Other counties created from these five counties and falling within Early’s original boundaries are: Dougherty (1853), Mitchell (1857), Grady (1905), and Seminole (1920). Also a portion of Thomas County (created in 1825) falls in Early’s original boundaries.

Georgia’s 40th county was named for former governor, congressman, and judge Peter Early (1773-1817). Early was governor when the Creeks ceded the lands that would later be used to form Early, Irwin, and Appling counties. The year after Early’s death, the legislature named a new county for him.

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganEarly County News
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
2010 11,008
2000 12,354
1990 11,854
1980 13,158
1970 12,682
1960 13,151
1950 17,413
1940 18,679
1930 18,273
1920 18,983
1910 18,122
1900 14,828
1890 9,792
1880 7,611
1870 6,998
1860 6,149
1850 7,246
1840 5,444
1830 2,051
1820 768