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:: Wilkes County ::

Community Profile

County Formed February 5, 1777
County Seat Washington
Incorporated Cities Tiggnall and Washington
Total Area 471.4 square miles


Wilkes County, the 8th county formed in Georgia, was created in 1777. Originally including Lincoln, Elbert and parts of Hart, Madison, McDuffie, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Warren counties, Wilkes County was named for John Wilkes, a member of the British Parliament who supported the colonies' cause.

Washington is said to be the first community in the nation to be incorporated under the name in honor of George Washington, and has more ante-bellum homes than any other city of its size in the state. The community was originally named Heard's Fort after the family that settled it in 1773. They were neighbors of George Washington in Virginia.

The world's first cotton gin was developed by Eli Whitney on a Wilkes County plantation in 1794. The county is also the site of the first cotton mill in the south.

Washington is the site of the Heard House where Jefferson Davis formally dissolved the Confederacy on May 5, 1865.

Points of Interest

Callaway Plantation is a living history museum where visitors can tour plantation houses and see how life on a plantation was lived in the 1800s.

Notable Citizens

Among notable citizens of Wilkes County are: Elijah Clark, a pioneer settler and hero of the Revolution; Alexander H. Stephens who was the Vice President of the Confederacy and a Georgia governor; Robert A. Toombs, a U.S. Senator and the Secretary of State for the Confederacy; and John Springer, a Minister and Educator who taught at Princeton and fought in the Revolution.

Annual Events

Wilkes County hosts a number of festivals including the Black Families Festival of Love Reunion, Annual Spring Tour of Homes, Fourth of July Fireworks, Annual Band Festival, and Mule Day Heritage Festival.

Additional County Info
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State of Georgia

Robert Toombs House, Washington

Oil Jail, Washington

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