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Tift County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1912-13
Architecture StyleBeaux Arts Classicism
DesignerW.A. Edwards
Seat InformationTifton. In 1872, Henry Hardin Tift built a saw mill and commissary at the crossing of the Brunswick & Western Railroad and the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad in Berrien County. Tift named the settlement Lena (a former sweetheart), but a sawmill worker placed the name "Tifton" on a wooden board and nailed it to a tree -- and the name stuck. The worker had meant to recognize Henry Tift with the name, but Henry disavowed credit. Instead, he insisted that the name honor his uncle, Nelson Tift. On Dec. 28, 1890, the legislature incorporated Tifton. In the 1905 legislation creating Tift County, the legislature designated Tifton as the new county seat.
Courthouse DetailsThis courthouse is the only one in Tift County history. In addition to the courthouse, which is used strictly for judicial functions, there is the Charles A. Kent Administration Building located less than a block away. That facility served as home of Tifton High School from 1917 to 1962, and as the home of Tifton County Junior High School for some time after 1962. In 1974, it was converted into use as an administrative office building for county government.
County Data
Population 200038,407
Population Growth4.5
County SeatTifton
County Area268.9 Square Miles
Location MapTift County Location Map

Tift County was created on Aug. 17, 1905 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1905, p. 60). Formed from portions of Berrien, Irwin, and Worth counties, Georgia’s 141st county was named for Nelson Tift, who helped found the city of Albany. Tift became a important local businessman, local judge, militia commander, member of the Georgia House of Representatives, newspaper publisher, railroad official, and member of Congress (1868-69). Although he did not live in the county that would take his name, Tift was well known for his efforts to promote the economic resources of south Georgia. Although there is some rationale for the name of Tift County also being to honor Nelson Tift’s nephew, Henry Harding Tift, who in 1872 founded the community that became known as Tifton, the legislation creating Tift County specifically credits the name to Nelson Tift. This remained the case until 2013, when legislation sponsored by the local delegation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by the governor - officially indicating that Tift County is named for Henry Harding Tift.

Web SiteVisit Web Site
Legal OrganThe Tifton Gazette
Chamber of Commerce Web SiteVisit Web Site
Historical Population
2010 40,118
2000 38,407
1990 34,998
1980 32,862
1970 27,288
1960 23,487
1950 22,645
1940 18,599
1930 16,068
1920 14,493
1910 11,487