Fayette County

Fayette County


On January 8, 1821, the Creek Indian Nation ceded the land that would become Fayette County to the State of Georgia.[1] Fayette County was created by an Act of the Georgia Legislature on May 15 and December 24, 1821. The county is named for the Marquis de LaFayette, the French general who came to this country to fight under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Fayetteville was incorporated and made the County Seat in 1823.[2]   The two creation dates were to correct an error. Fayette County was created with five other counties. The legislature discovered that Fayette was smaller than they had intended and added five land districts from Henry County. A land lot district is nine square miles and was divided into 256 land lots of 2021/2 acres. In December 1821, Fayette County was 36 miles long and 7 miles wide. Fayette County included land where Phipps Plaza and the Hartsfield Atlanta Airport are now. Twelve times land was taken from Fayette County to create or add to adjoining counties. The first was in December 1822, when Dekalb County was formed. Some of the other times were December 1822 for Campbell County, 1851 for Spalding County, 1858 for Clayton County and Campbell County again in 1870. The first Inferior Court Justices were appointed. They were James Strawn, Thomas A. Dodd, James M. C. Montgomery, Richard Repass and Jesse Harris.[3] They were responsible for the first elections. Among the first officers were: Sheriff John Welch, Clerk of the Superior Court Thomas A. Dobbs, Clerk of the Inferior Court Jonathan Dobbs, Coroner John Calhoun and Surveyor James Adams[4]

The courthouse was built in 1825 and is the oldest building remaining in the county. The jail was built in 1829.

The 1830 United States Census was the first to record Fayette County and the population was 4,268. In 1854, Fayette County was 486 square miles and had a free population of 6,744 and 1,965 slaves.[1]

The inferior court justice was the county’s operating official until the first Fayette Board of Commissioners of Road and Revenues was established in 1872. This first board was five elected members. In 1901 the five-member board was changed to a three-member board with the ordinary as chairman. This was changed to a three-member board in 1959. The voters changed to a five-member board in 1976.[2]


Tony V. Parrott

[1]First Tax Digest, Fayette County, Georgia 1823 – 1834, Ancestors Unlimited, 1988

[2] Georgia Historical Commission, 1954

[3] First Tax Digest, Fayette County, Georgia 1823 – 1834, Ancestors Unlimited, 1988

[4] Georgia Historical Commission, 1954

[1] “Vignettes of History,” Varney Graves, Fayette County News December 26, 1979.

[2] “A Short History of Fayette County,” Frances Reeves, 1977.

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