Harris County, in west central Georgia on the Alabama border, is the state’s seventy-second county. Created in 1827 from parts of Muscogee and Troup counties, it was named after attorney and former Savannah mayor Charles Harris, the son-in-law of Lachlan McIntosh, a Revolutionary War (1775-83) patriot.
The 464 square miles that make up Harris County were part of Creek Indian holdings until the Treaty of Indian Springs in 1825. The first white settlers arrived soon after the forced removal of the Indians to take advantage of the state’s land lotteries. The first to arrive were east Georgians, followed by settlers from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
Hamilton, the county seat, was incorporated in 1828. Although the courthouse dates to 1908, it has been extensively rehabilitated and was enhanced with an annex in 1998. Other incorporated communities in the county are Pine Mountain, Shiloh, and Waverly Hall. (The name “Waverly Hall” was inspired by the estate in Sir Walter Scott’s novels.) Pine Mountain serves as the gateway to Callaway Gardens and to places associated with U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s visits to the area, such as Warm Springs in neighboring Meriwether County.
Notable persons who have lived in Harris County include science fiction writer Michael Bishop, Callaway Gardens founder Cason Jewell Callaway, U.S. congressman Hopkins Holsey, composer and pianist Thomas
Points of interest in the county include Butts Mill Farm, a reconstructed 1830s gristmill and farm offering horseback riding to visitors; Callaway Gardens, which covers 14,000 acres of gardens and lakes on reclaimed land; Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, which offers outdoor sporting activities and picnic areas; Wild Animal Safari, a 500-acre drive-through wild-animal park; and several lakes, including the 5,850-acre Lake Harding, which offers boating, water skiing, and fishing to visitors. Part of the lake’s 156 miles of shoreline helps form the western border of the county.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Harris County is 32,024, an increase from the 2000 population of 23,695.