Sumter County, Georgia

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Sumter County is a county located in the southwest portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. It was created on December 26, 1831. As of 2000, the population was 33,200. The 2007 Census Estimate shows a population of 32,532.[1] The county seat is Americus.[2]

Sumter County is part of the Americus Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Foundation and antebellum years

Sumter County was established by an act of the state legislature on December 26, 1831, just four years after the Creek Indians vacated the region when the state acquired the territory from them in the 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs. Sumter, the state's eightieth county, was created entirely from Lee County, now situated to its south. The county was named for former General and United States senator Thomas Sumter (1734–1832) of South Carolina. At the time of the county's creation, the general was ninety-seven years old and the last surviving general of the American Revolution (1775–83).

Shortly thereafter, a committee chose a central site for the county seat and laid out what would become the town of Americus. Many of the county's earliest white residents acquired their land through an 1827 state land lottery and, like many of those moving into southwest Georgia at the time, quickly turned their property into cotton farms and plantations. The rich black soil combined with ready market access via the Flint River (bordering the county on the east) or the Chattahoochee River (farther west) to make Sumter among the state's most prosperous Black Belt counties by the 1840s and 1850s. Slaves, of course, were integral to that formula for economic success, and Sumter residents owned nearly 4,000 of them by 1850.

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