Early County
Early County Courthouse in Blakely
Map of Georgia highlighting Early County
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 31°20′N 84°55′W / 31.33°N 84.91°W / 31.33; -84.91
Country United States
State Georgia
Founded1818; 206 years ago (1818)
Named forPeter Early
SeatBlakely
Largest cityBlakely
Area
 • Total516 sq mi (1,340 km2)
 • Land513 sq mi (1,330 km2)
 • Water3.8 sq mi (10 km2)  0.7%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total10,854
 • Density21/sq mi (8/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district2nd
Websiteearlycountyga.org

Early County is a county located on the southwest border of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 10,854.[1] The county seat is Blakely, where the Early County Courthouse is located.[2] Created on December 15, 1818, it was named for Peter Early, 28th Governor of Georgia.[3] The county is bordered on the west by the Chattahoochee River, forming the border with Alabama.

History

Prehistoric and nineteenth-century history has been preserved in some of Early County's attractions. It is the site of the Kolomoki Mounds, a park preserving major earthworks built by indigenous peoples of the Woodland culture more than 1700 years ago, from 350 CE to 600 CE. This is one of the largest mound complexes in the United States and the largest in Georgia; it includes burial and ceremonial mounds. The siting of the mounds expresses the ancient people's cosmology, as mounds are aligned with the sun at the spring equinox and summer solstice.

The county area was long territory of the historic Creek Indian peoples of the Southeast, particularly along the Chattahoochee River. Beginning in the early nineteenth century, European-American settlers began to encroach on this territory, pushing the Muscogee out during Indian Removal in the 1830s. The Muscogee were forced to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River.

This area was developed by European-American settlers and their African-American enslaved workers for cotton plantations. Agriculture was critical to the economy into the 20th century. The Cohelee Creek Bridge in the county is the southernmost covered bridge still standing. One of the last wooden flagpoles from the American Civil War era is located at the historic courthouse in downtown Blakely.

According to the Equal Justice Initiative, in the period from 1877 to 1950, Early County had 24 documented lynchings of African Americans, the second-highest total in the state after the more densely populated Fulton County.[4][5] Most were committed around the turn of the 20th century, in the period of Jim Crow conditions and suppression of black voting. This was still a largely agricultural area, and some disputes arose from confrontations between black sharecroppers or tenant farmers and white landowners, particularly at times to settle accounts. Another, Sidney Grist, was lynched on December 31, 1896, for "political activity".[5]

Among these cases were five African-American men lynched by whites in less than a month in the summer of 1899: three on July 23, one on July 25 (all reportedly for rape and robbery), and one on August 3 for attempted rape.[6] Black men were frequently identified as suspects in such cases and lynched before any trial took place; further investigations have sometimes revealed consensual sex or other persons having committed the crime. A mass lynching took place in the county on December 30, 1915, when seven black men were lynched, allegedly as suspects in a murder.[6]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 516 square miles (1,340 km2), of which 513 square miles (1,330 km2) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (0.7%) is water.[7]

The northeastern and eastern portions of Early County, east of Blakely, and extending south to a line east of Jakin, are located in the Spring Creek sub-basin of the ACF River Basin (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin). The western portion of the county is located in the Lower Chattahoochee River sub-basin of the same ACF River Basin.[8]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Communities

Cities

Census designated places

Unincorporated communities

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1820768
18302,051167.1%
18405,444165.4%
18507,24633.1%
18606,149−15.1%
18706,99813.8%
18807,6118.8%
18909,79228.7%
190014,82851.4%
191018,12222.2%
192018,9834.8%
193018,273−3.7%
194018,6792.2%
195017,413−6.8%
196013,151−24.5%
197012,682−3.6%
198013,1583.8%
199011,854−9.9%
200012,3544.2%
201011,008−10.9%
202010,854−1.4%
2023 (est.)10,563[9]−2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1880[11] 1890-1910[12]
1920-1930[13] 1930-1940[14]
1940-1950[15] 1960-1980[16]
1980-2000[17] 2010[18] 2020[19]
Early County, Georgia – Racial and ethnic composition
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity (NH = Non-Hispanic) Pop 2000[20] Pop 2010[18] Pop 2020[19] % 2000 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 6,159 5,250 4,813 49.85% 47.69% 44.34%
Black or African American alone (NH) 5,901 5,441 5,534 47.77% 49.43% 50.99%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 23 34 31 0.19% 0.34% 0.29%
Asian alone (NH) 23 37 47 0.19% 0.34% 0.43%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 7 2 0 0.06% 0.02% 0.00%
Other race alone (NH) 5 5 11 0.04% 0.05% 0.10%
Mixed race or Multiracial (NH) 84 68 232 0.68% 0.62% 2.14%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 152 171 186 1.23% 1.55% 1.71%
Total 12,354 11,008 10,854 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 10,854 people, 4,074 households, and 2,659 families residing in the county.

Education

The Early County School District holds grades pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of one elementary school, a middle school, and a high school.[21] The district has 156 full-time teachers and over 2,764 students.[22]

Politics

Despite being a Black-majority county, Early County leans Republican. As recently as 2012, the county selected Barack Obama (D) over Mitt Romney (R). However, Early County voted for Donald Trump (R) both in 2016 and 2020, even though Joe Biden (D) defeated Trump statewide in 2020. In the 2022 midterms, Governor Kemp carried it by 19.5 points while Brad Raffensperger carried it by over 21%

United States presidential election results for Early County, Georgia[23]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 2,710 52.24% 2,450 47.22% 28 0.54%
2016 2,552 53.13% 2,168 45.14% 83 1.73%
2012 2,557 47.71% 2,765 51.60% 37 0.69%
2008 2,711 50.74% 2,603 48.72% 29 0.54%
2004 2,495 59.14% 1,701 40.32% 23 0.55%
2000 1,938 54.06% 1,622 45.24% 25 0.70%
1996 1,374 41.98% 1,648 50.35% 251 7.67%
1992 1,457 35.17% 1,970 47.55% 716 17.28%
1988 1,918 58.46% 1,359 41.42% 4 0.12%
1984 2,239 59.98% 1,494 40.02% 0 0.00%
1980 1,538 41.77% 2,110 57.31% 34 0.92%
1976 1,157 32.48% 2,405 67.52% 0 0.00%
1972 2,396 82.37% 513 17.63% 0 0.00%
1968 327 8.37% 785 20.08% 2,797 71.55%
1964 2,398 75.67% 771 24.33% 0 0.00%
1960 254 11.77% 1,904 88.23% 0 0.00%
1956 193 9.60% 1,818 90.40% 0 0.00%
1952 307 14.55% 1,803 85.45% 0 0.00%
1948 94 6.95% 1,110 82.04% 149 11.01%
1944 77 4.21% 1,753 95.79% 0 0.00%
1940 104 5.60% 1,751 94.29% 2 0.11%
1936 46 3.98% 1,107 95.68% 4 0.35%
1932 19 1.65% 1,131 98.18% 2 0.17%
1928 231 25.52% 674 74.48% 0 0.00%
1924 22 5.06% 351 80.69% 62 14.25%
1920 34 8.19% 381 91.81% 0 0.00%
1916 4 0.88% 442 97.14% 9 1.98%
1912 7 1.31% 501 93.64% 27 5.05%

See also

References

  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Early County, Georgia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Early County". Georgia.gov. Archived from the original on August 7, 2008. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Lynching in America, 2nd edition Archived June 27, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Supplement by County: "Georgia, Early County", p. 3
  5. ^ a b "THE LYNCHING PROJECT: EARLY COUNTY". Archived from the original on June 18, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Known Georgia Lynching Victims" Archived March 8, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Mary Turner Project, 2014; based on F.W. Brundage (1993) and R. Ginzburg (1988)
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Interactive Mapping Experience". Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Archived from the original on October 3, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2023". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  10. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". United States Census Bureau.
  11. ^ "1880 Census Population by Counties 1790-1800" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1880.
  12. ^ "1910 Census of Population - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1910.
  13. ^ "1930 Census of Population - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1930.
  14. ^ "1940 Census of Population - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1940.
  15. ^ "1950 Census of Population - Georgia -" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1950.
  16. ^ "1980 Census of Population - Number of Inhabitants - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1980.
  17. ^ "2000 Census of Population - Population and Housing Unit Counts - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2000.
  18. ^ a b "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Early County, Georgia". United States Census Bureau.
  19. ^ a b "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Early County, Georgia". United States Census Bureau.
  20. ^ "P004 Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2000: DEC Summary File 1 – Early County, Alabama". United States Census Bureau.
  21. ^ Georgia Board of Education[permanent dead link], Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  22. ^ School Stats, Retrieved June 8, 2010.
  23. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 19, 2018.

Further reading

31°20′N 84°55′W / 31.33°N 84.91°W / 31.33; -84.91