Georgia was the site of the first American gold rush, but it was also the site of the first American oil rush. In 1905, oil was discovered in Bibb County, and the state's oil industry began to grow rapidly.
Wilkinson County, located in central Georgia, has a rich and diverse history that stretches back hundreds of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Creek and Cherokee nations, who lived off the land and established villages along the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers.

In the early 19th century, European settlers began to arrive and establish homesteads in the region. The county was officially created in 1803 and named after General James Wilkinson, a prominent military leader and politician. The county seat, initially known as Irwinton, was established in 1807 and later renamed Irwinville in honor of Governor Jared Irwin.

During the Civil War, Wilkinson County played a significant role as it witnessed both Union and Confederate forces passing through the area. The Battle of Griswoldville, fought in 1864, took place partly within the county's borders. The war took a toll on the region, causing economic and social hardship for many residents.

In the years following the war, Wilkinson County experienced a period of agricultural growth and industrial development. The county's fertile farmland supported a thriving cotton industry, and mills were established along the rivers to harness water power for various industries. However, like many rural areas in the south, Wilkinson County faced challenges during the Great Depression and subsequent decline of agriculture.

Today, Wilkinson County remains a small, rural community with a focus on agriculture and a strong sense of community. Its historic sites, such as the Old Jail Museum and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, draw visitors interested in exploring the county's past. Despite the challenges it has faced, Wilkinson County continues to hold onto its heritage while looking towards a prosperous future.

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

  • 1773 - Wilkes County is established in Georgia.
  • 1803 - Wilkinson County is carved out of the southern part of Washington County.
  • 1825 - Irwinton becomes the county seat of Wilkinson County.
  • 1873 - A devastating fire destroys much of Irwinton.
  • 1911 - The Central of Georgia Railway extends its tracks to Wilkinson County, boosting the local economy.
  • 1988 - The Oconee National Forest is established in the northern part of the county.