Early History of Calhoun County Georgia
The land of Calhoun County, located in
Southwest Georgia, was first established by the lottery of
1820, which opened up present day Calhoun. The lottery was
available to all ordinary citizens and especially recognized
Revolutionary soldiers. Even if a Revolutionary soldier had
already drawn a lucky lot as an ordinary citizen in 1805 or 1807, he
was allowed another draw in the lottery of 1820. If the
soldier had not taken an extra draw, they were allowed two
in this lottery. Surveyors continued surveying until the
first Monday in May 1827 when it was completed.
Even after the land had been ceded to the
"Georgians" by lottery, the Creek Indians continued to raid
and antagonize the settlers. Many legends and family stories
have filtered down through the ages concerning these anxious
times. Local forts or stockades dotted the contryside.
Gradually the Lower Creeks were pushed out of the area and relinquished their title to lands in Georgia. And
finally, the last Cherokees were moved out of North Georgia
in 1832 on the Trail of Tears, leaving Georgia completely to
the European settlers.
As quoted in the Georgia Jornal of May 22
that year: "What had been a savage wilderness is now
becoming a garden."
Meanwhile, two general areas had been
developing in what would become Calhoun County. One area was
called Concord, located west of present-day Leary. The other
area, known then as Whitney, located east of present-day
Edison, had been settled by a group of
pioneers from South Carolina. Whitney was later renamed
Dickey after the 1848 founders. This town site was chosen
for its rich soil. All travel in the area was done on
horseback. The South Carolinians were devout Presbyterians
and Methodists. Whitney had one of the best schools in South
Georgia by 1854.
Creation Of Calhoun County
Finally on February 20, 1854, Calhoun
County was created by the legislature from parts of Baker
and Early Counties. Our county, the 111th, was named for the
prominent South Carolinian statesman, John Caldwell Calhoun
who had resigned as Vice President of the U.S. in 1832 so
that he could return to the Senate to debate Daniel Webster
on state rights. The new county contained
284 square miles. Dougherty Co., which had just been created
in 1853, became the eastern boundary.
A Unique Proposal
Concord, a growing community west of
Leary, was a voting precinct when District 3 belonged to
Baker County. Naturally, the settlers there wished to build
a courthouse at Concord. The South Carolina settlers at
Whitney disagreed. This disagreement created a unique
proposal that became a part of Calhoun County history.
The leaders of both colonies agreed to
"split the difference" on the location of the new county
seat. They tied a cloth to the rim of the front wheel of a
buggy. They both took seats in the buggy at Concord and drove to Whitney,
counting revolutions of the flagged buggy wheel. At Whitney
they divided the number of revolutions by two and turning
about, then drove in the direction of the starting place.
When the wheel had made the half number of revolutions, the
two self-made arbiters got out of the buggy and set a stake
where the Calhoun County courthouse now stands, and Jasper,
Georgia was born.
The spot, of course, was called Jasper for
a few weeks until it was learned that there already was a
Georgia town by that name. But "that spot" was renamed
Morgan and has been the site of the court house from that
day until this. The courthouse has burned down twice in
Calhoun County, once in 1888 and again in 1920.