Telfair County
Telfair County Courthouse in McRae-Helena
Telfair County Courthouse in McRae-Helena
Map of Georgia highlighting Telfair 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°56′N 82°56′W / 31.93°N 82.94°W / 31.93; -82.94
Country United States
State Georgia
FoundedDecember 10, 1807; 217 years ago (1807)
Named forEdward Telfair
SeatMcRae-Helena
Largest cityMcRae-Helena
Area
 • Total444 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land437 sq mi (1,130 km2)
 • Water6.7 sq mi (17 km2)  1.5%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total12,477
 • Density29/sq mi (11/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district8th
Websitetelfaircounty.georgia.gov

Telfair County is a county located in the central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 12,477.[1] The largest city and county seat is McRae-Helena.[2]

In 2009, researchers from the Fernbank Museum of Natural History announced having found artifacts they associated with the 1541 Hernando de Soto Expedition at a private site near the Ocmulgee River, the first such find between Tallahassee, Florida and western North Carolina. De Soto's expedition was well recorded, but researchers have had difficulties finding artifacts from sites where he stopped. This site was an indigenous village occupied by the historic Creek people from the early 15th century into the 16th century. It was located further southeast than de Soto's expedition was thought to go in Georgia.[3]

History

Modern example of chevron beads

Archaeologists associated with Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of Natural History have excavated a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) plot near McRae-Helena and approximately a mile from the Ocmulgee River, beginning in 2005. In 2009 they announced finding evidence of a Spanish settlement dating to the first half of the 16th century.[4] The archaeologists originally believed that the artifacts may have come from a settlement founded by Spanish leader Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón from Hispaniola in 1526 and briefly occupied by hundreds of colonists. The group encountered hard conditions and fewer than 200 survived to return to Hispaniola.[5]

Additional research suggests that the site instead was one visited in 1541 by the de Soto Expedition. Researchers have recovered Murano glass beads, made in Venice, Italy, and brought by the Spanish for trading with Native Americans; pottery fragments, and iron weapons. Some of the beads bear a chevron pattern. Such beads have been identified as a hallmark of the de Soto expedition, due to the limited period of time in which they were produced. Excavations have also produced six metal objects, including three iron tools and a silver pendant.[6]

The site is further west than scholars had earlier believed that the de Soto expedition had traveled, based on documentation from his expedition. This was the first evidence found of his expedition between Tallahassee, Florida, where excavations have revealed artifacts of his expedition, and western North Carolina[4] where another site has been found.

What we have now is the best-documented collection of Spanish artifacts in Georgia; many are unique, and they are the only examples of certain artifacts ever found outside Florida.

— Archaeologist Dennis Blanton, 2009[6]

This site is believed to have been a Native American community, occupied from the end of the 15th century through the first decades of the 16th century. At that time, they had neither glass nor metal goods.[6] Blanton presented a paper on his findings on November 5, 2009, at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Mobile, Alabama.[4]

The historic Creek people occupied much of this area of Georgia. Telfair County was established by European Americans on December 10, 1807, as part of Georgia. Development of the county largely took place after Indian Removal in the 1830s of the Creek Confederacy, who had occupied a large territory, including the southern two thirds of present-day Georgia, for thousands of years. They were removed to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, in today's Oklahoma. The county is named for Edward Telfair, the sixteenth governor of Georgia and a member of the Continental Congress.[7]

Many of the first European-American settlers were Scottish immigrants and Scots-Irish migrants who traveled down the backcountry from Pennsylvania and Virginia.[8]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 444 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 437 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) (1.5%) is water.[9] The county contains at least 50 artesian wells.

The southern two-thirds of Telfair County, bordered by a line from Milan east to Lumber City, are located in the Lower Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin. The northern portion of the county is located in the Little Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the same Altamaha River basin.[10]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Communities

Cities

Unincorporated communities

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1810744
18202,104182.8%
18302,1361.5%
18402,76329.4%
18503,0269.5%
18602,713−10.3%
18703,24519.6%
18804,82848.8%
18905,47713.4%
190010,08384.1%
191013,28831.8%
192015,29115.1%
193014,997−1.9%
194015,1451.0%
195013,221−12.7%
196011,715−11.4%
197011,381−2.9%
198011,4450.6%
199011,000−3.9%
200011,7947.2%
201016,50039.9%
202012,477−24.4%
2023 (est.)10,920[11]−12.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1880[13] 1890-1910[14]
1920-1930[15] 1930-1940[16]
1940-1950[17] 1960-1980[18]
1980-2000[19] 2010[20]
Telfair County racial composition as of 2020[21]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 5,970 47.85%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 4,326 34.67%
Native American 28 0.22%
Asian 30 0.24%
Other/mixed 195 1.56%
Hispanic or Latino 1,928 15.45%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 12,477 people, 4,668 households, and 3,259 families residing in the county.

Politics

Telfair County had been a reliably Democratic county in its Solid South days, but later became a swing county for the rest of the 20th century. The last Democrat to win the county was Tennessean Al Gore in 2000, and the county has trended towards the GOP in more recent elections.

United States presidential election results for Telfair County, Georgia[22]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 2,825 65.17% 1,488 34.33% 22 0.51%
2016 2,450 64.54% 1,313 34.59% 33 0.87%
2012 2,480 57.17% 1,805 41.61% 53 1.22%
2008 2,486 56.81% 1,862 42.55% 28 0.64%
2004 2,171 57.49% 1,590 42.11% 15 0.40%
2000 1,693 48.47% 1,777 50.87% 23 0.66%
1996 1,143 34.30% 1,856 55.70% 333 9.99%
1992 1,324 31.58% 2,238 53.39% 630 15.03%
1988 1,805 50.21% 1,765 49.10% 25 0.70%
1984 1,980 49.14% 2,049 50.86% 0 0.00%
1980 1,173 29.76% 2,700 68.51% 68 1.73%
1976 637 15.27% 3,534 84.73% 0 0.00%
1972 2,245 76.57% 687 23.43% 0 0.00%
1968 720 16.90% 1,038 24.37% 2,502 58.73%
1964 1,914 50.55% 1,872 49.45% 0 0.00%
1960 791 21.30% 2,922 78.70% 0 0.00%
1956 284 12.04% 2,075 87.96% 0 0.00%
1952 243 8.27% 2,695 91.73% 0 0.00%
1948 75 6.65% 712 63.18% 340 30.17%
1944 174 12.78% 1,187 87.22% 0 0.00%
1940 104 6.90% 1,391 92.24% 13 0.86%
1936 121 9.46% 1,158 90.54% 0 0.00%
1932 45 5.65% 746 93.60% 6 0.75%
1928 332 13.90% 2,057 86.10% 0 0.00%
1924 264 15.03% 1,382 78.66% 111 6.32%
1920 37 3.35% 1,069 96.65% 0 0.00%
1916 29 3.51% 773 93.47% 25 3.02%
1912 19 2.59% 694 94.68% 20 2.73%

See also

References

  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Telfair County, Georgia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Hudson, Charles M. (1997). Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun. University of Georgia Press. pp. 157–162.
  4. ^ a b c "Archaeologists Track Infamous Conquistador Through Southeast". Science Daily. Retrieved November 9, 2009.
  5. ^ Davis, Mark, "What Lies Beneath," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 17, 2007, p. C1
  6. ^ a b c Pousner, Howard, "Fernbank archaeologist confident he has found de Soto site", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 6, 2009; updated February 2, 2010
  7. ^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 223. ISBN 0-915430-00-2. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 17, 2003.
  8. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (May 13, 2013). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 239. ISBN 978-1135948597. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Interactive Mapping Experience". Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2023". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  12. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". United States Census Bureau.
  13. ^ "1880 Census Population by Counties 1790-1800" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1880.
  14. ^ "1910 Census of Population - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1910.
  15. ^ "1930 Census of Population - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1930.
  16. ^ "1940 Census of Population - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1940.
  17. ^ "1950 Census of Population - Georgia -" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1950.
  18. ^ "1980 Census of Population - Number of Inhabitants - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 1980.
  19. ^ "2000 Census of Population - Population and Housing Unit Counts - Georgia" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2000.
  20. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  22. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 22, 2018.

31°56′N 82°56′W / 31.93°N 82.94°W / 31.93; -82.94