Morgan County, in central Georgia, was created from Baldwin County by an act of the state legislature in 1807. It was named in honor of Revolutionary War (1775-83) general Daniel Morgan. In 1809 the town of Madison was incorporated and named the county seat. Until 1818, when Walton County was created, Morgan County was a part of the western frontier of Georgia—all lands to the west of it being Creek Indian territory. This situation was forcibly brought home in 1813, when Creeks attacked settlers in the western portion of the county, in what is now Hard Labor Creek State Park, northwest of the town of Rutledge. Some ten or eleven people were killed in the attack, which may have been made in conjunction with the Creek alliance with the British in the War of 1812 (1812-15).
By 1841 the
Near the end of the Civil War, the Union troops of General William T. Sherman's army swept through the county on the March to the Sea, burning railway depots, cotton gins, and warehouses, and wrecking the railroads for miles. Sherman's men set afire an old cotton mill that had once been a prison for Union officers, though it did not burn completely. Most houses were spared, though a few of them were burned, including the plantation house of the antisecessionist Joshua Hill, former senator from Georgia.
Morgan County still maintains its rural character, though it is within an hour of Atlanta on Interstate 20 and thirty minutes from Athens and the University of Georgia. Well-known residents of the county include historian Albert B. Saye and self-taught artist George Andrews, the father of artist Benny Andrews and writer Raymond Andrews.
Bonnie P. Harris, Early Morgan County Newspapers, 1842-1861 (n.p., n.p., 2000).
Bonnie P. Harris, Early Morgan County Newspapers: The 1870s, vol. 1 (n.p., n.p., 2002).
Louise McHenry Hicky, Rambles through Morgan County (1971; reprint, Monroe, Ga.: Walton Press, 1989).
Morgan County, Georgia, Heritage 1807-1997 (n.p.: Walsworth Publishing, 1997).
Marshall W. Williams, Madison
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