Taylor County, encompassing 377 square miles and located in west central Georgia, was established by an act of the state legislature in 1852. Created from Macon, Marion, and Talbot counties, Taylor was the ninety-ninth county organized in the state. The northeastern portion of the county comprises lands east of the Flint River that had belonged to the Creek Nation before its expulsion from the state. Taylor County was named for U.S. president Zachary Taylor, who died in office in 1850.

The Fifty Mile Station on the Muscogee Railroad served as the county’s first courthouse for elections and other county business. The legislation creating Taylor County allowed the inferior court justices to select the county seat location, purchase the land, create and sell lots, and contract for public building construction. The new seat, incorporated on February 8, 1854, was named  Butler in honor of General William Orlando Butler, who was a poet, a vice presidential candidate, and like Zachary Taylor, a hero of the Mexican War (1846-48).

Taylor County Courthouse
Taylor County Courthouse

Courtesy of Don Bowman

The Federal Road, originally part of the stage highway from Richmond, Virginia, to New Orleans, Louisiana, ran through Taylor County along the old Indian trails. The road became known as the Wire Road because of the telegraph wires that stretched along it. Many settlers migrating westward traveled through the county, and by 1860 the population of Taylor County totaled 5,998.

The Tuscaloosa Formation, a sand clay formation, represents the first prominent coastal plain deposits in Georgia. Although much of the land in Taylor County is hilly and sandy, it has long produced cotton, which, along with peaches, remains an important crop for the county. In 2002 Taylor County had a total of 227 farms with an average size of 328 acres each. Poultry and eggs represented the largest share of agricultural sales. Taylor is still a rural county.

Cotton Harvest
Cotton Harvest

Courtesy of Georgia Archives.

Historic sites in Taylor County include Fort Lawrence and Beechwood Farm. Fort Lawrence was established by Benjamin Hawkins, who served as an Indian agent for all Native Americans west of the Ocmulgee River early in the nineteenth century. Beechwood Farm was the home of John B. Gordon, a Confederate general, U.S. senator, and Georgia governor.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, Taylor County’s population was 8,906, a slight increase from the 2000 population 8,815. The county’s two incorporated cities are Butler, which had a population of 1,972 in 2010, and Reynolds, which that same year had a population of 1,086.

Strawberry Festival
Strawberry Festival

Photograph by Kelly Bond

Annual cultural events in Taylor County include the Crackerland Country Fair, which is held in the community of Howard, and the Georgia Strawberry Festival, which is held in Reynolds. Both festivals take place in April. The local news source is the Taylor County News.

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Taylor County Courthouse

Taylor County Courthouse

The Taylor County Courthouse, designed in the neoclassical revival style, was built in Butler in 1935.

Courtesy of Don Bowman

Cotton Harvest

Cotton Harvest

Workers harvest cotton in Taylor County in December 1959. Cotton remains a major agricultural commodity in the area, along with peaches, poultry, and eggs.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
tay005.

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Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Festival

Baskets of strawberries are displayed at the Georgia Strawberry Festival, hosted each April by the city of Reynolds in Taylor County. The festival offers a number of events, including a strawberry cook-off, parades, and a car show.

Photograph by Kelly Bond

General Store

General Store

Located in Reynolds (Taylor County), the Ricks Bros. store, pictured in 1909, bought cotton and sold general merchandise.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #tay033.

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