Created in 1924 from Houston and Macon counties by the state legislature, Peach County was Georgia's 161st county and the last county to be created. (In 1932 Milton and Campbell counties merged with Fulton, leaving the final number of counties in the state at 159.) Peach County is located in the heart of central Georgia, 100 miles south of Atlanta and 25 miles south of Macon. The county comprises 151 square miles. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population was 27,695, an increase from the 2000 population of 23,668.
In the early 1800s the Creek Indians used the area as hunting lands, and their first contact with white settlers came in the 1820s. The first white settlers were from the Carolinas, and they settled west of the Ocmulgee River. By 1821 the United States acquired the land by treaty, which was extended at Indian Springs in 1825.
Fort Valley was
The Civil War (1861-65) brought little action to Peach County. Military hospitals operated in the communities of Buckern and Gamble, and the Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fort Valley holds the remains of twenty unknown soldiers who died in a train wreck three miles north of town. The prewar mayor of Fort Valley, Charles D. Anderson, was wounded and captured at the Battle of Antietam, in Maryland, but he was later exchanged for Union prisoners of war. He returned in 1864 to Georgia, where his troops experienced heavy casualties in a battle against Sherman's troops.
As early as the incorporation of Fort Valley, residents pushed for the creation of a new county. The Flint River formed a natural barrier to Macon and Crawford counties, and the courthouse in Perry, the seat of Houston County, proved to be a difficult journey. The state legislature first approved the creation of Peach County in 1922, but it required the approval of Georgia voters, who initially defeated it at the polls, only to change their minds two years later.
The most famous employer in Fort Valley, as well as one of the largest, is the Blue Bird Body Company, founded in 1927. Known for its yellow school buses, the company also houses a museum, where tourists can see the original Blue Bird number one.
The American Camellia Society, founded in 1945, maintains its national headquarters at Massee Lane Gardens in Peach County. The gardens, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, feature nine acres of camellias.
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
Daughters of the American Revolution, Governor Treutlen Chapter, History of Peach County, Georgia (Atlanta: Cherokee, 1972).
Marilyn Neisler Windham, Peach County: The World's Peach Paradise (Dover, N.H.: Arcadia, 1997).
Robert E. Luckett Jr., University of Georgia
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