[an error occurred while processing this directive] Archives of Franklin County

Archives of Franklin County
From the editors of
Roadside Georgia
Established 1784. Named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, whose wit and intelligence helped form the United States of America.

Today Franklin County is much smaller than it was when it was formed from terrortory ceded to the United States by the Cherokee (Treaty of Long Swamp, 1782) and Creek (Treaty of Augusta, 1783) Indians. At that time it included all of Barrow and Jackson counties, significant portions of Oconee, Clarke, Madison, Banks, Hart, Stephens counties, parts of Gwinnett, Hall, and Habersham counties, and the northwestern corner of South Carolina (present-day Pickens, Oconee and Anderson counties). This land was among the last land in Georgia to be distributed under the corrupt "headright" system. In 1789 the headright system passed from state to county government, making them even more corrupt, while the state began to grant hugh tracts of land to speculators. These policies ended with the Pine Barrens Scandal and Yazoo Land Fraud (1795-1796) and the headright system was replaced with a "land lottery" in 1803.

County business was conducted in the home of Warren Philpot in (Sweet) Gum Log on the Tugaloo. Georgia Walton was the first chief justice. In 1788 a courthouse was approved by the statte legislature, but it would take another three years before they approved the funds. In 1794 the first courthouse for Franklin was completed on John Mullins' Ford on the Tugaloo River. In 1806 a courthouse was completed in downtown Carnesville.

Franklin Springs was a popular stop with early visitors and by 1800 a fledgling tourist industry of sorts began to develop, although the land was still remote. The county seat of Carnesville was established in 1806. Work on Traveller's Rest, then in the northern part of the county, began about this time.

By 1830 the county's strong agricultural base was indicated by the 23% slave population, one of the highest of all counties in north Georgia.

Carnesville was recognized with a post office in 1811. Aquilla (name changed to Lavonia in February 24, 1880) got a post office in 1834 and Franklin Springs and Royston got one in 1870.

In 1826 another courthouse was constructed in Carnesville, adjacent to the old one. In 1906 this building would be torn down and another courthouse would be built for the county.

That same year the citizens of Cromer's Mill built a covered bridge (still standing) over Nail's Creek. About the same time, a young man from Royston (b. Narrows, Banks County, Georgia) began to make a name for himself in the relatively new game of baseball -- Ty Cobb. During the next 24 years "The Georgia Peach" would set virtually every record in the game. In a 1950 Sporting News poll he would be named the best player in the history of the sport.

Telephone service reached the county in 1910, in the form of at least one private telephone company. These companies grew into one over the next twenty years. Locals could pay their bills in cash, labor or telephone polls.

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Franklin County links


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