Wayne County, Georgia

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Wayne County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population was 26,565. The 2007 Census Estimate showed a population of 29,046.[1] The county seat is Jesup.[2]



Seventy years after General James Oglethorpe settled the colony of Georgia and 27 years after that colony became one of the 13 original states, Wayne County came into being. It was created by an Act of the Legislature in 1803 after the Wilkinson Treaty was signed with the Creek Indians on January 16, 1802, which ceded part of the Tallassee Country and part of the lands within the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers to the United States. As originally laid out, the new county – the 28th Georgia county – was a long narrow strip of land approximately 100 miles (160 km) in length but with varying measures of width along the way. It was six miles (10 km) as it stood just south of the Altamaha River, eight miles (13 km) wide near the Satilla and five miles (8 km) wide at a location about 27 miles (43 km) south of the Altamaha. All counties organized prior to 1802 were head right counties – no surveys were ever made of those counties. It was found that under the head right system more land was given away than actually existed and this was the case for Wayne County. Although created in 1803, no valid lottery was done for the county until the Land Lottery Act of 1805. The 1805 Act divided the half million acres (2,000 km²) of Wayne County, formed the Tallassee Strip, and set the stage for the land lottery that would result in more formal settlement of the area. It is the second date, December 7, 1805, that the county chose to observe as the creation date. The area was not a popular one for lottery draws as the straws were drawn sight unseen and the winner was as likely to draw swampland as he was prime agricultural lots. Being close to the coast and bordered by the Altamaha River, Wayne County's history includes occupation by Spanish missionaries at the time of the settlement of Saint Augustine as well as short lived French occupation. The flags of France, Spain, England, and the Confederate States of America all flew over Wayne with little success.

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