Established in 1808, Pulaski County is situated in central Georgia and comprises 247 square miles. It was initially created from Laurens County, but its boundaries shifted several times during the century following its establishment. In 1870 the state created Dodge County from a portion of Pulaski; then in 1912 the state took a portion of northwest Pulaski to create Bleckley County.

Named for Casimir Pulaski—a Polish officer who died of injuries sustained during the American Revolution (1775-83)—Pulaski County includes several communities. Its county seat, Hawkinsville, is named for Benjamin Hawkins, an agent to the Creek Indians. The city lies in the center of the county on the banks of the Ocmulgee River. During the nineteenth century Hawkinsville was an important center for river transportation, as steamboats and riverboats carried freight from Hawkinsville to the coast. Also during the nineteenth century, when the Supreme Court of Georgia traveled to eight locations across the state, Hawkinsville served as one of the court’s regular venues.

The county’s original seat was Hartford, located directly across the river from Hawkinsville. It served as the county seat until 1836, when the county moved the courthouse to Hawkinsville because the Ocmulgee’s higher western bluff made Hawkinsville less vulnerable to flooding. In 1804 Hartford came just one vote shy of being named Georgia’s new capital; local legend contends that one assemblyman was fishing when he should have been voting. As a result, Georgia’s capital moved from Louisville to Milledgeville.

Pulaski County Courthouse
Pulaski County Courthouse

Courtesy of Don Bowman

Most historical research contends that Hartford’s namesake is Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary War heroine who spied for General Elijah Clarke to provide information about the Tories and the British.The historian E. Merton Coulter described the attribution as “wholly erroneous,” although he did not document the actual origin of Hartford’s name. Although some historians have described Hartford as a dead town, many Pulaski residents live 

Harness Horse Racing Track
Harness Horse Racing Track

Courtesy of UGA Archway Partnership

in the community. Other communities are Finleyson, a small agricultural community in the southernmost part of the county, and Browndale, in northwest Pulaski. 

Pulaski’s most noteworthy industry is equestrian training. With Hawkinsville’s Lawrence L. Bennett Harness Horse Training Facility, the only harness horse training facility in the state, Pulaski County serves as a winter home for harness horsemen across the country. The county’s mild climate and the training center’s soft clay track make the facility ideal for winter training.

Pulaski is largely an agricultural county; its commodities include cattle, corn, cotton, oats, peanuts, soybeans, and wheat.

Notable natives of Pulaski County include artists Butler Brown, whose paintings have been displayed in the White House, and Nell Choate Jones.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, Pulaski County’s population was 12,010, an increase from the 2000 population of 9,588.

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Steamboat at Hawkinsville

Steamboat at Hawkinsville

Workers load a steamboat docked at Hawkinsville on the Ocmulgee River, circa 1910. The seat of Pulaski County, Hawkinsville became a major center for river transportation in the state during the nineteenth century.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
pul003.

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Pulaski County Courthouse

Pulaski County Courthouse

The Pulaski County Courthouse, built in 1874, is the county's third courthouse. A three-story annex was added to the courthouse in 1910, and the original building was restored in 1936. Designed in the neoclassical revival style, the courthouse is located in Hawkinsville, which became the county seat in 1836.

Courtesy of Don Bowman

Harness Horse Racing Track

Harness Horse Racing Track

Hawkinsville, in Pulaski County, calls itself the harness horse racing capital of Georgia. A section of city's Horse Training Facility is pictured.

Courtesy of UGA Archway Partnership