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Glynn County

Date Built1991
Architecture StyleNeoclassical Revival
DesignerHansen, Lind, Meyer, Inc. Associate Architect: W.S. Ledbetter
Seat InformationReportedly, Frederica on St. Simons Island served as Glynn County's initial county seat. In an act of Feb. 10, 1787, the Georgia legislature provided that Glynn County's courthouse and jail be erected and that county elections be held in Brunswick -- which made it the county seat. Ten years later -- on Feb. 13, 1797 -- the legislature formally designated Brunswick county seat of Glynn County. Brunswick was originally laid out in 1771 by order of Parliament. It was named to honor the German ancestral home of the Hanoverian kings of Great Britain -- King George I, II, and III. In 1796, the legislature appointed commissioners with responsibility for determining the boundaries of Brunswick and Frederica, to lay out the town as near as possible according to the original town plans, to open streets, and to have the commons of each town resurveyed. On Dec. 29, 1836, the legislature incorporated Brunswick.
Courthouse DetailsIn addition to creating Georgia's first eight counties, the Constitution of 1777 provided that: "A court-house and jail shall be erected at the public expense in each county, where the present [constitutional] convention or the future legislature shall point out and direct." However, because of the war with Great Britain, it is not clear if this provision was ever implemented. In 1791, the state legislature enacted a law providing for commissioners to designate a site for a Glynn County courthouse and oversee its construction -- but whether a courthouse actually was built is not known. In 1817, the legislature authorized county officials to levy a tax to build a courthouse, but again it is not clear what happened. In Dec. 1825, the legislature authorized the county's superior and inferior courts to meet in the Glynn County Academy. The law also made reference to "the house formerly occupied as a court-house at Brunswick," which suggests that Glynn County did not have an actual courthouse at the time. A courthouse was built at some unknown date, but apparently it was less than satisfactory. For example, in Dec. 1845, the legislature enacted an act allowing Glynn County superior and inferior courts to meet "in the new academy building in the town of Brunswick, instead of the court-house." An act of Dec. 1849 allowed Glynn County's inferior court and the court of ordinary to meet in the county clerk's office "instead of the Court-house." For the following three decades, Glynn County apparently functioned without a real courthouse, instead renting space for use as courtrooms. Finally, in 1883 county officials authorized construction of a new courthouse. In 1884, the new three-story brick courthouse was completed. Twelve years later, it was badly damaged in the great hurricane that hit Georgia's coast in 1896. The following year, county officials began a campaign for a bond referendum to finance replacement of the damaged courthouse. However, that referendum failed, so the 1884 courthouse continued in use. Construction of a new courthouse was completed in 1907. This building was used until 1991, when a new courthouse was completed across the street. In the mid-1990s, Glynn County built the W. Harold Pate Courthouse Annex several blocks away. Renovation of the 1907 courthouse was begun in the late 1990s, with the intent to use the restored building as offices and a meeting hall for the Glynn County Commission. Completion of that project was subsequently delayed on several occasions.
County Data
Population 200067,568
Population Growth17.8
County SeatBrunswick
County Area583.1 Square Miles
Location MapGlynn County Location Map

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. 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.

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Legal OrganThe Brunswick News
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Historical Population
2010 79,626
2000 67,568
1990 62,496
1980 54,981
1970 50,528
1960 41,954
1950 29,046
1940 21,920
1930 19,400
1920 19,370
1910 15,720
1900 14,317
1890 13,420
1880 6,497
1870 5,376
1860 3,889
1850 4,933
1840 5,302
1830 4,567
1820 3,418
1810 3,417
1800 1,874
1790 413