Georgia's twenty-fourth county, Lincoln County comprises 211 square miles and was created in 1796 in the northeast part of the state from Wilkes County. The county is named for Benjamin Lincoln, a major general of the Continental Army who played a key role in the defeat of the British at Yorktown during the American Revolution (1775-83). The area's first inhabitants were Creek and Cherokee Indians, who ceded the land to Georgia in 1773. The first white settlers came from the Carolinas, enticed by land grants available for "a reasonable sum."
The county seat is Lincolnton, incorporated in 1817. When the county was created in 1796, the state legislature directed that court sessions be held in the house of Joseph Stovall until a county seat was selected. Lincolnton was named county seat in 1800, and a stone courthouse was built soon thereafter. It was replaced in 1874 with a two-story courthouse, which was torn down in 1916. The current courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been in use since 1915.
During the Civil War (1861-65) a number of men from Lincoln County volunteered to fight in the Confederacy's Georgia Volunteer Infantry. Lincoln County played a part in a famous incident, during which wagons traveling from Washington to Abbeville, South Carolina, laden with Confederate gold were waylaid. The wagons, encamped on the grounds of the Chennault Plantation in Lincoln County, were beset by robbers at night. Word spread that the robbers had buried the
In addition to Clarke and Dooly, other notable residents of the county include Thomas P. Ashmore, educator and astronomer, and Otis Ashmore, historian and scientist, both of whom were editors of Grier's Almanac.
Among places of interest in the county are the Elijah Clark State Park; the Lincoln County Historical Park, featuring a cotton gin, sawmill, and smokehouse; and the Groves-May House. The Mulberry Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and affiliated school, built in 1873 in Lincolnton, once offered the only church services and school for the town's African Americans. The school is now a "Society House." The Society, originally formed to offer black citizens affordable insurance, now provides assistance to those in need when hospitalized, or on the death of a family member.
According to the 2000 U.S. census, the population of Lincoln County was 8,348, an increase of 12.2 percent from 1990. In 2010 the population decreased to 7,996.
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
Robert S. Davis Jr. and James E. Dorsey, comps., Lincoln County Genealogy and History (Swainsboro, Ga.: Magnolia Press, 1987).
Clinton J. Perryman, History of Lincoln County, Georgia (1933; reprint, Tignall, Ga.: Boyd Publishing, 1985).
Dianne M. Poteat, ed., Lincoln Legends (Lincolnton, Ga.: Lincoln County Historical Society, 1998-99).
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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