Camden County, Georgia
||This Camden County, Georgia needs additional citations for verification. (August 2009)|
|Camden County, Georgia|
Camden County Courthouse in Woodbine, Georgia
Location in the state of Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
|Largest city||St. Marys|
782.52 sq mi (2,027 km²)
629.91 sq mi (1,631 km²)
152.61 sq mi (395 km²), 19.50%
69/sq mi (27/km²)
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
Camden County is a county U.S. state of Georgia. It is one of the original counties of Georgia, created February 5, 1777. Its county seat is Woodbine, the largest city is St. Mary's. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 50,513.
The first European to land on what is today Camden County was Captain Jean Ribault of France in 1562. Ribault was sent out by French Huguenots to find a suitable place for a settlement. Ribault named the rivers he saw the Seine and the Some. Today these rivers, the former of which forms the southern border of Camden County, are known as the St. Marys and Satilla Rivers. Ribault described the area as, "Fairest, fruitfulest and pleasantest of all the world."
Spanish missionaries 
In 1565, Spain became alarmed by the French settlements and sent out a large force to take over and settle the area. The Spanish held the area for the next 100 years. During that time, the Spaniards attempted to convert all the native Indians they came across to Christianity. One Franciscan party built a mission in what is now St. Marys. The missionaries received permission to build by the Indian Queen Hiacaia, the ruler over a large Indian village in the area.
After many years, the Spaniards abandoned the settlements due to troubles with the Indians. The Indians had risen up against the Spanish and slaughtered many of the priests. After the abandonment, the English felt the area was now open to their claims. During this time, Spain also continued to claim the area. They lost their claim in 1742 during the decisive Battle of Bloody Marsh (off St. Simons Island).
General Oglethorpe had quite an influence in this area aside from leading battles. He founded a town on St. Simons Island called Frederica, named after a member of the royal family. Oglethorpe designed the town of Savannah and his work can still be seen in the historic district. He was at Cumberland Island when an Indian gave the barrier island its name. Later, he erected a hunting lodge on Cumberland named Dungeness, which was predecessor to the famous Greene and Carnegie Dungeness Mansions. He also founded St. Andrews Fort on the north end of Cumberland Island as well as a strong battery, Fort Williams, on the south end. Fort Williams commanded the entrance to the St. Marys River.
In 1763, Spain, under a treaty of peace with England, ceded Florida to Britain. After this, the boundaries of Georgia were extended from the Altamaha (now the southern boundary of McIntosh County) to the St. Marys River (the current southern boundary of Camden). In 1765, four towns were laid off between the Altamaha and St. Marys Rivers. These were St. Davids, St. Patricks, St. Marys and St. Thomas. The Parish of Camden, named for Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden in England, was then formed from the St. Marys and St. Thomas townships. At first, the community of St. Patrick was the County Seat of Camden. Later, the county seat was moved further south to St. Marys.
The American Revolution 
Georgia was the last state to join in the War for Independence in 1775. It was then that the people renamed the area Camden County.
During this time, the brothers of Governor Wright of Georgia, Charles and German Wright - who were English Loyalists - built a fort on their land. The brothers built this fort, which was on the St. Marys River, in order to protect their land during the war. Wright's Fort became a rendezvous for a group of loyalists called the "Florida Rangers". They robbed many south Georgians and stored their loot in Wright's Fort.
Two skirmishes were fought by Loyalist and Continental forces over Wright's Fort, and both times American troops failed to rout the Loyalists from the area. Finally, retreating British soldiers burned it down in 1778. The Americans rebuilt it when they invaded East Florida, and then burned it down to prevent it falling into enemy hands. The remains were finally discovered in 1975.
By 1783, the British had lost the war and turned Florida over to the Spanish. The English loyalists came home to Camden to find that their property had become property of the state. Despite the population loss during the war, abandoned settlements were soon repopulated, and the area recovered as people were again drawn to the rich Camden County land.
War of 1812 
The coastal town of St. Marys, Georgia, within Camden County, was the region of a small battle known as the Battle of St. Marys. The British achieved victory and thus captured and occupied the town for a couple weeks.
The Civil War 
During the American Civil War, Camden sent out two companies of infantry to fight in the Confederate Army. This was a huge amount of men to leave such a sparsely populated area. At the beginning of the Civil War, the population was 5,482 of which only 1,721 were white. The war devastated the area. Several families lost their sons in the fighting.
After the War, especially during Reconstruction, the local residents learned to live without slave labor and eventually began to prosper again. Even so, many plantation owners left the area, leaving only their slaves, their dead and their name. Today, their influence can be seen by the surnames of local African American families such as the Hutchinsons, Parrishes and the Holzendorfs.
Camden County seemed able to deal with the changes easier than some other areas. By the turn of the century, about half the land in the county was owned by blacks. The freeing of the slaves appears to be yet another change that the blacks and whites of this county dealt with in a relatively positive manner. Integration in the 1960s was peaceful.
As of 2012[update], the Camden County Joint Development Authority is considering developing a spaceport for both horizontal and vertical spacecraft operations. Options include moving the St. Marys' airport to the Atlantic coastal site.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 782.52 square miles (2,026.7 km2), of which 629.91 square miles (1,631.5 km2) (or 80.50%) is land and 152.61 square miles (395.3 km2) (or 19.50%) is water.
Major highways 
Interstate highways 
U.S. highways 
State routes 
- State Route 25
- State Route 25 Spur
- State Route 40
- State Route 40 Spur
- State Route 110
- State Route 252
- State Route 405 (unsigned designation for I-95)
Adjacent counties 
- Glynn County (north)
- Nassau County, Florida (south)
- Charlton County (southwest)
- Brantley County (northwest)
National protected area 
Camden is home to one comprehensive high school (with a separate center for ninth graders), two middle schools, nine elementary schools and an alternative school. The system serves approximately 9,600 students. The school board is run by the following members:
- Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Will Hardin
- Assistant Superintendent - Arthur VanBlarcum
Camden County High School is the single public high school in Camden County, offering a comprehensive curriculum (9–12) with a variety of classes for both College Preparatory and Career Technology Preparatory. The high school campus is one of the largest in the state of Georgia. It consists of a main building (10-12 building) as well as a ninth grade center that holds two additional hallways, one gymnasium, one cafeteria, and one media center. The school has also recently constructed an additional building consisting of classrooms, conference rooms, and a large weight room. The school offers AP classes and joint-enrollment with College of Coastal Georgia and the Valdosta State University Kings Bay Campus. The school is part of the Georgia 5A Class. In 2003, the Wildcats won the Georgia 5A Football State Championship by defeating Valdosta High School. In 2008, the Wildcats won their second 5A State Football Championship by defeating Peachtree Ridge High School. In 2009, the Wildcats won their third 5A State Football Championship by defeating Northside (Warner Robins).
As of the census of 2000, there were 43,664 people, 14,705 households, and 11,381 families residing in the county. The population density was 69 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 16,958 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 75.04% White, 20.11% Black or African American, 0.49% Native American, 1.01% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. 3.63% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,705 households out of which 46.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.20% were married couples living together, 11.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.60% were non-families. 17.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.22.
According to the 2000 Census the largest reported European ancestry groups in Camden County were: English (15.1%), German (12.7%) and Irish (10.4%).
In the county the population was spread out with 31.70% under the age of 18, 12.90% from 18 to 24, 33.90% from 25 to 44, 16.30% from 45 to 64, and 5.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 107.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $41,056, and the median income for a family was $45,005. Males had a median income of $31,582 versus $22,104 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,445. About 8.40% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 15.70% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns 
- St. Marys
- Harriett's Bluff
- Dover Bluff
- White Oak
See also 
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- "Camden County History" Our Georgia History
- Rush, Johna Strickland (2012-11-15). "Spaceport could land in Camden". Tribune & Georgian. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Camden County website
- Camden County Schools, Board of Education
- "Camden County" New Georgia Encyclopedia
||Brantley County||Glynn County|
|Charlton County||Nassau County, Florida|