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Oglethorpe County, Georgia, named after General James Oglethorpe, was established in 1793 as one of the original thirteen counties in the state. It was created from parts of Wilkes County, and initially covered a large area. The county's formation was a result of the Georgia Land Lottery, a means to distribute land to citizens. Early settlers were primarily of English and Scottish ancestry, and they came to Oglethorpe County in search of fertile farmland. The county became an agricultural hub, with cotton and tobacco becoming major crops.

During the early 19th century, Oglethorpe County experienced economic growth as the cotton industry thrived. The area attracted more settlers, and several small towns sprang up in the county, including Lexington and Crawford. Farms expanded, and plantations became more prominent, with enslaved Africans providing labor. However, like many other southern counties, Oglethorpe County faced the challenges of the Civil War. The county sent many young men to fight for the Confederacy, and the war resulted in significant loss and hardship for the community.

Following the Civil War, Oglethorpe County, like much of the South, struggled to recover from the devastation. The agriculture industry shifted, and farmers began to diversify their crops, planting less cotton and more corn, oats, and vegetables. The county faced further challenges in the early 20th century with the boll weevil infestation and the Great Depression, which further impacted the agricultural sector. However, the county managed to adapt and survive, and significant strides were made in education and infrastructure development during this time.

In recent years, Oglethorpe County has seen a resurgence in its economy, with a focus on small businesses and tourism. The county boasts natural attractions such as Watson Mill Bridge State Park, offering opportunities for outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hiking. Oglethorpe County also takes pride in its rich history and has preserved many historic sites, including the Antebellum Lexington Historic District and the Smithonia Historic District. These efforts have helped to promote tourism and showcase the county's cultural heritage. Oglethorpe County continues to evolve, embracing its past while looking toward the future.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

  • 1793: Oglethorpe County was established on December 19.
  • 1794: Lexington became the county seat.
  • 1803: A portion of Oglethorpe County was used to create Walton County.
  • 1820s: The agricultural economy of the county thrived, with the cultivation of cotton becoming prominent.
  • 1831: Western areas of Oglethorpe County were used to form parts of DeKalb and Newton counties.
  • 1860s: Oglethorpe County was heavily involved in the American Civil War, experiencing economic decline and devastation.
  • 1890s: A considerable decline in cotton production impacted the county's economy.
  • 1930s: Oglethorpe County was affected by the Great Depression, leading to further economic hardships.
  • 1950s: Agriculture became less dominant as industrialization began to take place in the county.
  • Today: Oglethorpe County continues to be a rural community with a rich historical heritage.