Lowndes County, Georgia

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Lowndes County, Georgia
Courthouse of Lowndes County, Georgia.jpg
Lowndes County Courthouse in Valdosta
Map of Georgia highlighting Lowndes County
Location in the state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded December 23, 1825
Named for William Jones Lowndes
Seat Valdosta
Largest city Valdosta
 • Total 511 sq mi (1,323 km2)
 • Land 496 sq mi (1,285 km2)
 • Water 15 sq mi (39 km2), 2.8%
 • (2010) 109,233
 • Density 220/sq mi (85/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 8th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.lowndescounty.com

Lowndes County (pronounced Lounds) is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 Census the population was 109,233.[1] The county seat is Valdosta.[2] The county was created December 23, 1825.

Lowndes County is included in the Valdosta, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located along the Florida border.

The county is a major commercial, educational, and manufacturing center of south Georgia with considerable forest products including pulpwood and naval stores, such as turpentine and rosin. Part of Grand Bay, a 13,000-acre (53 km2) swamp is located in Lowndes County.


Native Americans and the Spanish[edit]

The land that became Lowndes County, had historically been inhabited by the Timucua. During most the age of European colonization the area of modern Lowndes County was part of the colony of Spanish Florida. From approximately 1625 to 1657, the Spanish Empire maintained a Catholic mission to the Timucua dubbed Mission Santa Cruz de Cachipile in the southern portion of Lowndes County near Lake Park. In the centuries that followed Timicua civilization collapsed due to slave raiding and disease. By the dawn of the 19th century the future area of Lowndes County was considered to be part of the lands belonging to the Creek Nation. On December 15, 1818 Irwin County was organized out of the Creek lands.

Early County History[edit]

Lowndes County was established by an act passed by the Georgia legislature on December 23, 1825. It was formed out of the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, and 16th land districts of Irwin County, Georgia.[3] The county was named for William Jones Lowndes (1782–1822), a prominent South Carolina lawyer and Congressman whose father, South Carolina Governor Rawlins Lowndes, had been a Revolutionary War leader.[4] The Coffee Road was the first route through the area of Lowndes County and opened up the area to white settlers.

During the first few years of Lowndes County's existence courts met at the tavern owned ran by Sion Hall on the Coffee Road near what is now Morven, Georgia in Brooks County. The first county seat was established at Franklinville by the Georgia General Assembly on December 16, 1828.[5] Franklinville was located about a mile to the east of Hahira and was named Benjamin Franklin. At the time of the 1830 Lowndes County had 1,072 white males, 1,044 white females, 156 male slaves, 179 female slaves, and 4 free people of color for a total population of 2,455. The introduction of steam-powered ships on the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers led to a shift in the population. In December 1833 the state legislature passed a law establishing a new county seat at a place to be called to Lowndesville. The law also called for a courthouse, a jail, and a town to be laid out within land lot 109 in the 12th land district. This land lot is near the present Timber Ridge Road in Lowndes County. It is uncertain why the plans for Lowndesville were abandoned. In December 1834 another law was passed by the state legislature authorizing commissioners to select a suitable site for a courthouse, so that the county seat could be moved from Franklinville. In October 1836, another group of commissioners were advertising for contracting proposals for the construction of a brick courthouse at Troupville. By Summer 1837, Troupville and Franklinville were both serving as courthouse sites. This continued until at least 1838. In December 1837 Troupville was incorporated. Rumors of the Brunswick and Chattahoochee Railroad, the opening up of Florida, and the prosperity of the surrounding farmland led to the growth of Troupville and Lowndes County in general. In 1845 the remaining county owned land at Franklinville was sold at the courthouse in Troupville.

Native Americans were not a huge problem in this area. The closest battle between Native Americans and whites to Troupville was at Brushy Creek on November 10, 1836 in modern Berrien County. The reason for the conflict was that the Native Americans were passing through Lowndes County to join the Seminoles in Florida. General Scott intended to stop it and did. Virtually no Native Americans were left in South Georgia.

In February 1850 Lowndes County lost land during the formation of Clinch County, Georgia. At that time the eastern border of Lowndes County became the Alapaha River.[6] At the time of the 1850 census, Lowndes County had a free white population of 5,339, a free colored population of 20, and a slave population of 2,355. Lowndes County lost additional territory with the establishment of Berrien County, Georgia and Colquitt County, Georgia on February 25, 1856.

Establishment of Valdosta[edit]

Many residents of Lowndes County were unhappy when the plans for the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad to bypass Troupville were announced June 17, 1858. On June 22 at 3:00 am, the Lowndes County courthouse at Troupville was set aflame by William B. Crawford, who fled to South Carolina after being released on bond. On August 9, a meeting convened in the academy building in Troupville at which it was decided to create from the area of Lowndes County to the west of the Withlacoochee River a new county to be called Brooks County.[7] Brooks was formed that December. On December 13, 1858 the Georgia legislature passed a bill establishing Echols County, Georgia.

In December 1859 the Lowndes County board of commissioners were instructed by an act of the Georgia legislature to purchase for the county land for a new county seat along the line of the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad and as close to the center of the county a possible. As part of the same act the Brooks-Lowndes County border was adjusted so that the east bank of the Little River formed the border.[8]

Land belonging to William Wisenbaker was chosen as the site of the new county seat of Valdosta. The arrival of the railroad led to the downfall of Troupville and the rise of Valdosta as a center for the economy of south Georgia. The shifting county boundary lines led to population loss for Lowndes County. The 1860 census showed the county having 2,850 free whites, no free persons of color, and 2,399 slaves.


Mary Turner (1899 - 19 May 1918) was a nineteen-year-old black woman, lynched in Lowndes County, Georgia.[1][2][3] Eight months pregnant, Turner and her child were murdered after she publicly denounced the unlawful extrajudicial killing of her husband, Hazel Turner, by a mob. Her death is considered a stark example of racially-motivated mob violence in the American South, and was referenced by the NAACP's anti-lynching campaign of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.[4] From the 1890s onwards, the majority of those lynched in America were black,[5] including at least 159 women.[6] Smith's death was followed by a week-long mob-driven manhunt in which at least 13 people were killed.[9] Among those whom the mob killed was another black man, Hayes Turner, who was seized from custody after his arrest on the morning of 18 May 1918 and lynched.[10] Distraught, his eight-month pregnant wife Mary denied that her husband had been involved in Smith's killing, publicly opposed her husband's murder, and threatened to have members of the mob arrested. The mob then turned against her, determined to "teach her a lesson".[10]

Although she fled when she learned of the mob's intent, she was nevertheless captured at noon on 19 May.[9][10] The mob of several hundred brought her to Folsom Bridge over the Little River, which separates Brooks and Lowndes counties.[4] The mob then tied her ankles, hung her upside down from a tree, doused her in gasoline and motor oil and set her on fire.[10]

While Turner was still alive, a member of the mob split her abdomen open with a knife. Her unborn child fell on the ground, where it gave a cry before it was stomped on and crushed. Finally, Turner's body was riddled with hundreds of bullets.[10][4][11] Mary Turner and her child were cut down and buried near the tree, with a whiskey bottle marking the grave.[9]

According to Philip Dray, “There, before a crowd that included women and children, Mary was stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roasted to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the grown, gave a cry, and was stomped to death. The Constitution’s coverage of the killing was subheaded-lined: ‘Fury of the People Is Unrestrained.’"[12] Following the lynchings, more than 500 black residents fled the area, despite threats against the lives of anyone who tried.[13]:33 The murders of Hayes and Mary Turner caused a brief national outcry, and was highlighted by the NAACP's campaign to stop lynching in the United States. A historical marker memorializing Turner was placed near the lynching site and was dedicated on 15 May 2010.[3][16] In July of 2013, the marker was found to have been riddled with five bullet holes by an unknown vandal.[17]


In the years right after the Civil War, members of Company “G”, 103rd United States Colored Troops were stationed at Valdosta.

After the Civil War an unknown number of former slaves, previously free people of color, and their families moved from Lowndes County to Liberia. Some settled there permanently a small number returned to the United States.

Prior to 1872, the southern border of Lowndes County and of Georgia itself was slightly farther south. The border when Lowndes County was created was along McNeil's line. A dispute between the states of Florida and Georgia later developed (see Florida v. Georgia). In 1857, the governors of the two states appointed surveyors for a joint survey of the border. This led to the creation of the Orr and Whitney Line which was agreed to by the United States Congress on April 9, 1872.

The final major change to the borders of Lowndes County came in 1920 when Lanier County, Georgia was established.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 511 square miles (1,320 km2), of which 496 square miles (1,280 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (2.8%) is water.[9] Lowndes is in the Suwannee River basin.

Adjacent counties[edit]



Major highways[edit]



Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 2,453
1840 5,574 127.2%
1850 7,714 38.4%
1860 5,249 −32.0%
1870 8,321 58.5%
1880 11,049 32.8%
1890 15,102 36.7%
1900 20,036 32.7%
1910 24,436 22.0%
1920 26,521 8.5%
1930 29,994 13.1%
1940 31,860 6.2%
1950 35,211 10.5%
1960 49,270 39.9%
1970 55,112 11.9%
1980 67,972 23.3%
1990 75,981 11.8%
2000 92,115 21.2%
2010 109,233 18.6%
Est. 2014 113,523 [10] 3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 109,233 people residing in the county. 58.1% were White, 35.8% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.0% from some other race and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.8% of the population.

As of the census of 2000, there were 92,115 people, 32,654 households, and 22,237 families residing in the county. The population density was 183 people per square mile (71/km²). There were 36,551 housing units at an average density of 72 per square mile (28/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 62.00% White, 33.99% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.08% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. 2.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 32,654 households out of which 35.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.50% were married couples living together, 15.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.90% were non-families. 24.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 15.10% from 18 to 24, 31.30% from 25 to 44, 18.50% from 45 to 64, and 9.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,132, and the median income for a family was $41,580. Males had a median income of $28,411 versus $20,755 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,683. About 13.90% of families and 18.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.80% of those under age 18 and 17.30% of those age 65 or over.





Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

  • Barretts
  • Beloteville
  • Bemiss
  • Blanton
  • Cat Creek
  • Clyattville
  • Delmar
  • Eddy
  • Franklinville (historic)
  • Little Miami
  • Long Pond
  • Lowndesville (historic)
  • Haines
  • Indianola
  • Kinderlou
  • Mars
  • Melrose
  • Mineola
  • Olympia (historic)
  • Ousley
  • Quillian
  • Naylor
  • Ralls
  • Redland
  • Sims
  • Stella
  • Tillman
  • Troupville
  • Twin Lakes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Article To form two new counties from the counties of Irwin and Decatur, Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, Passed Milledgeville, at an Annual Session November and December. 1825., Act No. 54 of 23 December 1825 (in English)
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 191. 
  5. ^ Article AN ACT to make permanent the site of the public buildings in the county of Lowndes, and to name the same., Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, Passed in Milledgeville at an Annual Session in November and December, 1828, Act No. 136 of 16 December 1828
  6. ^ Article AN ACT to lay out and form a new county from the counties of Ware and Lowndes, and to provide for the organization of the same., Acts of the State of Georgia, 1849-50., Act No. 145 of 14 February 1850
  7. ^ Shelton, Jane (2001). Pines and Pioneers: A History of Lowndes County, Georgia 1825-1900. Lowndes County Historical Society. ISBN 9780877970347.
  8. ^ Article An Act to remove the county site of Lowndes county, to change the line between said county and the county of Brooks, and for other purposes., Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, Passed in Milledgville, at an Annual Session in November and December, 1859., Act No. 370 of 21 November 1859
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°50′N 83°16′W / 30.83°N 83.27°W / 30.83; -83.27