Gilmer County, Georgia

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Gilmer County, Georgia
Ellijay courthouse.JPG
Gilmer County courthouse in Ellijay
Map of Georgia highlighting Gilmer County
Location in the state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1832
Named for George Rockingham Gilmer
Seat Ellijay
Largest city Ellijay
 • Total 431 sq mi (1,116 km2)
 • Land 427 sq mi (1,106 km2)
 • Water 4.7 sq mi (12 km2), 1.1%
 • (2010) 28,292
 • Density 66/sq mi (25/km²)
Congressional district 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Gilmer County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,292.[1] The county seat is Ellijay.[2] The county was created on December 3, 1832 and was named for George Rockingham Gilmer.[3][4]

Gilmer County is home of the Apple Festival, a yearly event held in mid-October.


During the Civil War, many men of Gilmer County enlisted in the Confederate Army. They served in the following units as well as the local home guard. Men from Gilmer would also join units in neighboring counties.

  • 1st Georgia State Line, Company H, "Gilmer Browns"
  • 11th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company D, Gilmer Boys
  • 11th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company F, Mrs. Joe Brown's Boys
  • 23rd Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company D
  • 39th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company G, Gilmer Lions
  • 39th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company I, Gilmer Tigers 2
  • 60th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company F, Gilmer Volunteers
  • 65th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company (Smith's Legion) A, Gilmer Light Guards
  • Gilmer 65th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Company (Smith's Legion) H

The youngest enlisted soldier to serve in the Confederate Army was David Bailey Freeman from Ellijay. He enlisted in Company D 6th Georgia Cavalry with his brother on May 16, 1862 just two weeks before his 11th birthday. He was known as Little Dave and fought not as a musician or messenger but as an actual soldier. He fought at Chickamauga and during the Atlanta Campaign among other places.

Gilmer County was in no way left out of the war. The rough terrain of the North Georgia mountains made a "hideout" for Pro-Union men, Confederate deserters, and men avoiding being conscripted into military service. The state of Georgia fought back against these men by organizing Confederate Home Guard Units.

In 1864 there was an attempt to organize a pro union guerrilla force made up of these men in the mountains, called the 1st Georgia Infantry (US). They were equipped with weapons and supplies. They also stole horses and mules from Pro-Confederate families just as the Home Guard stole from the Pro-Union families. As a condition of their enlistment these men had only agreed to serve in Georgia. As a result the unit was never recognized by the Federal Government.

On November 5, 1864 the 1st Georgia Infantry (US) went on a raid into Gilmer County near Bucktown to steal horses and mules. Here they met the Confederate Home Guard and the Battle of Bucktown ensued. Twenty-one of the union guerrillas were captured and several others were wounded and killed. In possession of the captured was a list of names of local supporters. Several of the captured turned out to be Confederate deserters who were executed in Gainesville on November 7.

The war would leave deep scars on Gilmer County for years after the war.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 431 square miles (1,120 km2), of which 427 square miles (1,110 km2) is land and 4.7 square miles (12 km2) (1.1%) is water.[5] The vast majority of Gilmer County is located in the Coosawattee River sub-basin in the ACT River Basin (Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin). Three very small parts of the eastern and northern edges of the county are located in the Conasauga River sub-basin of the ACT River Basin, while slightly larger portions of the northern and eastern border areas of Gilmer County are located in the Ocoee River sub-basin of the Middle Tennessee-Hiwassee basin.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Major highways[edit]

Secondary highways[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 2,536
1850 8,440 232.8%
1860 6,724 −20.3%
1870 6,644 −1.2%
1880 8,386 26.2%
1890 9,074 8.2%
1900 10,198 12.4%
1910 9,237 −9.4%
1920 8,406 −9.0%
1930 7,344 −12.6%
1940 9,001 22.6%
1950 9,963 10.7%
1960 8,922 −10.4%
1970 8,956 0.4%
1980 11,110 24.1%
1990 13,368 20.3%
2000 23,456 75.5%
2010 28,292 20.6%
Est. 2014 28,829 [6] 1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 23,456 people, 9,071 households, and 6,694 families residing in the county. Estimates now put the population closer to 40,000 people. The population density was 55 people per square mile (21/km²). There were 11,924 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.63% White, 0.27% Black or African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.26% Pacific Islander, 3.76% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 7.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 9,071 households out of which 30.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.10% were married couples living together, 8.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 22.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 28.50% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 103.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,330, and the median income for a family was $41,805. Males had a median income of $31,217 versus $24,020 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,117. About 17.8% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.6% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.[12]


Gilmer County is governed by a three member Board of Commissioners. The current board Chairman is Charlie Paris. The Post 1 Commissioner is Dallas Miller and the Post 2 Commissioner is Travis Crouch . Other current government officials include: Sheriff, Stacy Nicholson; Probate Judge, Anita Mullins; Magistrate Judge, Roger Kincaid; Clerk of Court, Glenda Sue Johnson; Tax Commissioner, Rebecca Marshall; Coroner, Jerry Hensley. All are members of the Republican Party.

Some of the past Chairmen of the Board of Commissioners include J.C. Sanford (2011-2014),Mark Chastain (2009–2010), Jerry Farist (2005–2008), and Rayburn Smith (1997–2004). Merle Howell served as the first chairman of the three-member board starting on January 1, 1996. She was recalled by the voters of Gilmer County, who elected Rayburn Smith in July 1997.

Up util 1988, Gilmer County was governed by a sole commissioner. Cicero Logan served as commissioner from 1946 until 1959. Harold Hefner was elected in 1958 and served from 1959 util 1972. Gilmer County's last sole commissioner was Benjamin N. Whitaker who served from 1973 until 1988.

In 1988, Gilmer County changed to a five member board of commissioners who then hired a "county manager" to run day-to-day operations of the county. The first five member board included Mack Logan, Ruel Reece, Garvin Davis Jr., John Penland, and Charles Aaron. Jim Bailey served as county manager.


Gilmer County is home to an impressive specimen of yellow poplar known colloquially as "the big poplar". This particular specimen is 100 feet tall and approximately 20 feet in circumference at its base. The tree can be accessed via bear creek trail located in the Chattahoochee National Forest .


Unincorporated Communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 137. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 222, 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°41′N 84°28′W / 34.69°N 84.46°W / 34.69; -84.46