Camden County is the southernmost county on the Georgia coast. Created by the Georgia Constitution of February 5, 1777, it is the state's eighth original county. Camden County combined the colonial parishes of St. Thomas and St. Mary with lands ceded by the Creek Indians. In 1854 the state legislature incorporated land from Camden County to create Charlton County. Camden County is named for Charles Pratt, earl of Camden (1714-94), chief justice and lord chancellor of England who supported the American colonies before the Revolution (1775-83).
From 1898 until 1902 the county was home to a community of Shakers, who settled on a plantation in White Oak.
In the 1890s Camden County's economy was bolstered by timber and turpentine products. These evolved to larger commercial pulp-paper manufacturing operations from the 1940s to the present. By the late 1980s Camden was the state's second leading pulpwood producer, with 72 percent of its lands developed as commercial forest.
The creation of the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base has had the largest impact on the growth of Camden County. Construction on the naval base began in 1978, and it was operational a year later. In 1980 the location was selected as the East Coast refit facility and training command for the navy's fleet of Trident ballistic missile submarines. The first Trident submarine arrived in 1989, and by 2003 Kings Bay employed nearly 9,000 people.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Camden County is 50,513, an increase from the 2000 population of 43,664.
Well-known residents of the county include Charles Rinaldo Floyd, who commanded troops in the Seminole Wars during the 1830s and owned two plantations in the county. Confederate lieutenant general William J. Hardee was born and raised in Camden County.
Patricia Barefoot, St. Marys and Camden County (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2001).
Marguerite Reddick, comp., Camden's Challenge: A History of Camden County, Georgia, ed. Eloise Bailey and Virginia Proctor, rev. ed. ([Woodbine, Ga.]: Camden County Historical Commission, 1994).
John L. Kissinger, College of Coastal Georgia
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