Georgia has a strong military history and has been the site of several important military installations, including Fort Benning, which is home to the U.S. Army Infantry School.
Wilcox County, located in central Georgia, has a rich and intriguing history that dates back to its establishment in 1857. Named after Colonel Mark Wilcox, a Georgia state legislator and veteran of the Mexican-American War, the county was formed from parts of Dooly, Irwin, and Pulaski counties. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Creek and Seminole nations, who were displaced as European settlers moved into the region.

During the Civil War, Wilcox County played a significant role as part of the Confederacy. Many residents joined the Confederate army, and local industries contributed to the war effort by supplying necessities such as food and clothing. After the war, the county faced the challenges of Reconstruction, like many other areas in the South. Economic recovery was slow, and the county began to rely heavily on agriculture, particularly cotton and timber, as its main sources of income.

In the early 20th century, Wilcox County experienced a period of growth and development. The railroad arrived in 1901, improving transportation and facilitating trade with neighboring towns and cities. This led to the establishment of new businesses and industries, further boosting the county's economy. However, like much of rural Georgia, Wilcox County was heavily affected by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Widespread poverty and unemployment plagued the area, exacerbating challenges already faced by the agricultural community.

The latter half of the 20th century brought both progress and challenges to Wilcox County. The construction of the Wallace Dam, completed in 1975, created Lake Blackshear and provided opportunities for tourism, recreation, and improved water supply for the county. However, the decline of the agricultural industry and subsequent consolidation of farms led to population decline and economic shifts. Today, Wilcox County continues to face the ongoing challenges of rural decline, but community members remain resilient and dedicated to preserving the county's history while seeking new opportunities for growth.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Wilcox County, Georgia.

  • Early 1800s: Wilcox County is established on December 22, 1857, and is named after General Mark Wilcox, a soldier in the Creek War.
  • 1858: The county seat is designated as Abbeville.
  • 1861-1865: Wilcox County, like many parts of the South, is greatly affected by the Civil War.
  • Late 19th century: Agriculture, particularly cotton farming, becomes a dominant industry in Wilcox County.
  • Early 20th century: The construction of railroads in the county helps facilitate transportation and economic growth.
  • 1930s: The Great Depression brings hardship to Wilcox County, as the agricultural sector suffers from falling cotton prices.
  • 1940s-1950s: The county experiences a decline in population due to the shifting agricultural economy and outmigration to urban areas.
  • 1960s: Civil rights activism and efforts to combat racial discrimination are prominent in Wilcox County.
  • 1985: The Georgia Historical Society designates the Wilcox County Courthouse as a historical site.
  • 2000s: The county continues to be primarily rural, with agriculture and small businesses driving the local economy.