Echols County, on Georgia's border with Florida, was carved from Clinch and Lowndes counties in 1858 and named in honor of Robert M. Echols, who commanded troops in the Mexican War (1846-48) after serving a total of twenty years in the state legislature. Before white settlers arrived, the inhabitants of the area were Seminole Indians. Sparsely populated, Echols County contains no incorporated towns.
The county seat, Statenville, was first called "Troublesome" after nearby Troublesome Creek. The name was changed when the town was chartered in 1859. There are some stories that its new name was a
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The history of Echols County is dominated by the presence of the Langdale Forest Products Company, founded in 1894 by John Wesley Langdale. Langdale started the business by leasing acres of turpentine timber, and with his sons Billy, Harley, and Noah, he built it into one of the largest wood and wood by-product manufacturers in America. The company owns much of the land in Echols County, although it is based in Valdosta (Lowndes County).
In 1910 the Statenville Railway connected Statenville to Haylow, in the northern part of the county, but the railroad ceased operations in 1924. Despite the county's isolation, residents have joined together to form a unified school system. Between 1898 and 1945, there were seventy-seven schools scattered
Notable residents include businessman John Wesley Langdale and fiction writer Janice Daugharty.
The Alapaha and Suwannee rivers flow through the county and provide opportunities for fishing and boating.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Echols County is 4,034, an increase from the 2000 population of 3,754.
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
Coastal Plain Area Planning and Development Commission, Remembered Places and Leftover Pieces (Valdosta, Ga.: The Commission, 1976).
Echols County Centennial History Committee, History of Echols County, 1858-1958 (n.p.: The Committee, 1958).
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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