Camden County, Georgia
|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|
|• Total||782.52 sq mi (2,027 km2)|
|• Land||629.91 sq mi (1,631 km2)|
|• Water||152.61 sq mi (395 km2), 19.50%|
|• Density||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, and the largest city is St. Marys. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 50,513.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Education
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Cities and Towns
- 6 Notable People
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The Colonial Period
The first recorded European to visit 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, known today as the St. Marys and Satilla Rivers. Ribault described the area as, "Fairest, fruitfulest and pleasantest of all the world."
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 the Native Americans 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.
British and Spanish claims to the territory between their respective colonies of South Carolina and Florida was a source of international tension, and the colony of Georgia was founded in 1733 in part to protect the British interests. The Spanish theoretically lost their claim to the territory in 1742 after the Battle of Bloody Marsh (off St. Simons Island). However, settlement south of the Altamaha River (what is now Glynn and Camden Counties) was discouraged by both the British and Spanish governments. One group of settlers led by Edmund Gray sparked Spanish military action after settling on the Satilla River in the 1750s near present-day Burnt Fort, and were subsequently disbanded by the Royal Governor John Reynolds.
General Oglethorpe 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 Fort St. Andrews 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 parishes were laid out between the Altamaha and St. Marys Rivers. These were St. Davids, St. Patricks, St. James,and the parishes of St. Marys and St. Thomas.
The Early American Era
Georgia was the last state to join in the War for Independence in 1775. In the Georgia Constitution of 1777 St. Thomas and St Marys Parishes were formed into Camden County, named for Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden in England, a supporter of American Independence. Originally Camden County was larger and also included parts of present-day Ware and all of Charlton County. Also under the 1777 state Constitution, Glynn County and Camden County had limited and restricted representation in the new patriotic Georgia government due to their "state of alarm" during the war.
Between 1776 and 1778 Camden County saw the construction of numerous forts, three failed American campaigns against the British at St. Augustine, and numerous depredations by raiders of various allegiance. One of the most notorious of these raiders was Daniel McGirth. A significant loyalist faction existed in Camden County, headed by the brothers of Royal Governor James Wright, Charles and German Wright. They built a fort on the St. Marys River in 1775 to protect their lands and chattel during the war after repeated attacks by patriot banditti. Wright's Fort became a rendezvous for a group of loyalists called the "Florida Rangers". 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 archaeological site was rediscovered in 1975.
After the cession of Georgia by the British, the primary economic enterprise of the county was rice planting, particularly along the Satilla River. During the antebellum era, Camden County also served as a hub of backcountry trade with American settlers and various Indian groups, and as a shipyard and shipping center. Sea Island cotton was grown on Cumberland Island, and various forest products including turpentine and timber were produced.
Camden County was the site of many trading posts with the Native Americans, who by the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries consisted mainly of people of the Creek Nation. From America's earliest years and even after Indian Removal in the 1830s, the county was a site of significant conflict between settlers and Indians, leading to a small series of local Indian wars, becoming involved in larger wars, and displacement of both Indian and local American refugees. An important step towards establishing boundaries in the Early Federal period came with the Treaty of Colerain which was signed on June 29, 1796 in Camden County between United States agents and the Creeks. The Treaty of Colerain reaffirmed the controversial Treaty of New York of 1790 and drew a boundary between the two nations.
On January 15, 1815, British troops led by Sir George Cockburn landed on Cumberland Island. Their goal was to attack the fort at Point Peter. British troops split into two flanks. They quickly overwhelmed the small American force, and they took Point Peter easily. After the skirmish, British soldiers remained at the fort for several weeks. They raided the town of St. Marys, as well as many neighboring plantations. They kept the goods they plundered as prizes of war, and liberated or relocated many slaves. Although New Orleans was the last major battle of the war, the skirmish at Point Peter happened even later, almost a month after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed.
The Civil War and Reconstruction
At the beginning of the Civil War, the population was 5,482 of which only 1,721 were white. During the American Civil War, Camden sent out two companies of infantry to fight in the Confederate Army. Many of the county's civilians moved farther inland, particularly to Centerville and Trader's Hill on the St. Marys River in Charlton County. The inhabitant's fears were realized when the town of St. Marys was attacked by United States Navy. At least one federal party to "carry off" slaves was met by armed resistance on White Oak Creek off the Satilla River.
Camden County land fell under Sherman's Special Field Orders, No. 15. which dictated the distribution of parcels of land to freedmen. However, by 1868 Camden County's freedmen, particularly those on Cumberland where Sea Island clauses held up the Field order for slightly longer, found themselves dispossessed of the land they lived and worked on since emancipation. Confiscated lands were returned to former landowners. During reconstruction, Republican candidates and many local blacks were able to gain political victories in the area. The first Democratic victory in the county after the war went to Ray Tompkins, representing the local end of the reconstruction era concurrent with the statewide Democratic victory win 1870.
After the War, many plantation owners left the area. Today, their influence can be seen by the surnames of local African American families such as the Hutchinsons, Parrishes and the Holzendorfs. By the turn of the century, about half the land in the county was owned by blacks.
In 1893, Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad built a Savannah-Jacksonville line through Camden County. Earlier plans for railways in the area dated back to the 1830s, but construction was never begun. In 1923 the county seat of Camden County was moved from St. Marys to Woodbine, a reflection of the shift from the water transportation to railways. In 1927 U.S. Route 17 was constructed through Woodbine and Kingsland.
The US Army began to acquire land south of Crooked River in 1954 to build a military ocean terminal to ship ammunition in case of a national emergency. In November 1976 the area of Kings Bay was selected for a United States submarine base. Soon afterward, the first Navy personnel arrived in the Kings Bay area and started preparations for the orderly transfer of property from the Army to the Navy. The base—now Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, not only occupies the former Army terminal land, but several thousand additional acres. Camden County's population grew enormously after the military took an interest in the area, and during the 1980s was the fourth fastest growing county in the United States.
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.
- 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)
- Glynn County (north)
- Nassau County, Florida (south)
- Charlton County (southwest)
- Brantley County (northwest)
National Wilderness 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 6A 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
Historic Towns of Camden
Historic towns which were formerly inhabited but are currently abandoned.
- Burnt Fort
- New Hanover
- Centervilliage (present-day Charlton County)
- Trader's Hill
- Henry Osborne: state politician,one of the men who chartered St. Marys, also a local planter.
- William J. Hardee: son of a prominent local family, career U.S. Army officer and author of Hardee's Tactics.
- John Houstoun McIntosh: from a prominent Georgian family and friend of Aaron Burr, McIntosh was one of the largest planters in Camden County, and the owner of the famous tabby McIntosh Sugarworks.
- James Seagrove: appointed Creek Indian Agent by the federal government and Superintendent of Creek Indian Affairs in 1789. Also a local trader associated with Trader's Hill and founder of St. Marys.
- Duncan Lamont Clinch: After serving in the Seminole Wars, partially in Camden County, Clinch retired to planting near Jefferson on the Satilla River, and later began his political career.
- Thomas Buckingham Smith: Born on Cumberland Island in 1810, Smith was a diplomat, antiquarian, and scholar. Notable Spanish translator and author of works on southern Native Americans.
- Andrew Jackson Miller: State Senator and Judge of Georgia; early advocate for women's right to property.
- John Floyd (October 3, 1769 – June 24, 1839): was an American politician and brigadier general in the First Brigade of Georgia Militia. He was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, as well as the US House of Representatives.
- Charles Rinaldo Floyd (1797-1845): led the first U.S. campaign into the Okefenoke Swamp during the Seminole Wars. The Floyds were the largest planting family in Camden County.
- Catherine Littlefield Greene: Wife of General Nathaniel Greene. Lived on Cumberland Island and built the county's largest antebellum home, Dungeness.
- William Gibbs McAdoo: Son of locals Mary Floyd (1832–1913) and attorney William Gibbs McAdoo (1820–1894). Served as a U.S. Senator, United States Secretary of the Treasury and director of the United States Railroad Administration.
- Rodney M. Davis: Recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service in the Vietnam War. Lived in St. Marys and attended the Camden County Training Center.
- Ken Ellis: Professional football player who graduated from Ralph J. Bunche High School in Woodbine.
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 19 February 2012.
- " Camden County History" Our Georgia History
- Hamer, Marguerite Bartlett. "Edmund Gray and His Settlement at New Hanover." The Georgia Historical Quarterly, ISSN 0016-8297, 03/1929, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp. 1 - 12
- Revolutionary Records of Georgia. Volume 1. page 285.
- Martha Condray Searcy. The Georgia-Florida Contest in the American Revolution. University of Alabama Press, 1985. See also, Wilbur H. Siebert, "Privateering in Florida Waters and Northwards in the American Revolution". Florida Historical Quarterly XXII. 1943. 62-73.
- Reddick, Margurite. Camden's Challenge. WH Wolfe Associates, Alpharetta, Georgia, 1994.
- Vocelle, James. History of Camden County Georgia.
- James Vocelle. History of Camden County. 97.
- Bullard. Cumberland Island: A History. University of Georgia Press 2001.
- Reddick, Margurite. Camden's Challenge. WH Wolfe Associates, Alpharetta, Georgia, 1994.
- 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.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Charles Floyd. New Georgia Encyclopedia.
- Camden County website
- Camden County Schools, Board of Education
- "Camden County" New Georgia Encyclopedia
||Brantley County||Glynn County|
|Charlton County||Nassau County, Florida|