Emanuel County, in southeast Georgia's wiregrass region, is the state's thirty-ninth county. It was carved from Bulloch and Montgomery counties in 1812 and named for David Emanuel, a veteran of the Revolutionary War (1775-83) who served as governor of the state in 1801. Although portions of Emanuel County were later annexed by five other counties, Johnson (1858), Jenkins (1905), Toombs (1905), Candler (1914), and Treutlen (1918), its remaining 686 square miles make it the seventh largest in area of Georgia's counties.
The county's original inhabitants were Creek Indians, who lost their land in the 1773 and 1783 Indian cessions. The first white settlers arrived thereafter, acquired land by lottery, and cleared arable land from the pine barrens that cover the county to set up subsistence farms. Forest-related industries soon joined agriculture as an economic mainstay, with the longleaf pine forests providing raw material for sawmills, turpentine stills, and cabinetmakers.
There are seven other incorporated towns in the county: Adrian, Garfield, Nunez, Oak Park, Stillmore, Summertown, and Twin City. Some communities in the county have unusual histories. Because of a late-nineteenth-century family feud, the county line zigzags through the town of Adrian, placing part of it in Johnson County and part of it in Emanuel County. The town of Stillmore, originally called Kea's Mill, received its current name from residents with a sense of humor. They were prompted by a U.S. Post Office memo accompanying a list of potential new names for their town. The memo advised them that if they did not like any of the names on the list, "still more" could be sent.
Before the Civil War (1861-65), transportation through the county was hindered by a lack of roads,
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Emanuel County is 22,598, an increase from the 2000 population of 21,837.
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
James E. Dorsey, Footprints along the Hoopee: A History of Emanuel County, 1812-1900 (Spartanburg, S.C.: Published for Emanuel Historic Preservation Society by Reprint Co., 1978).
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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