Lumpkin, Georgia

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Lumpkin is a city in, and the county seat of, Stewart County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,369 at the 2000 census.[3]

Contents

History

This area of Georgia was inhabited by indigenous Native Americans for thousands of years before European contact. Historical tribes who encountered European Americans as their settlements encroached on traditional territory included Cherokee, Choctaw and Creek. During the Indian Removal of 1830, such tribes were moved west of the Mississippi River to Indian Territory, to make way for European American settlement.

Lumpkin was incorporated by European Americans on March 30, 1829. It was formerly the seat of Randolph County, but became the seat of Stewart County when it split from Randolph in 1830. The city was named in honor of Wilson Lumpkin, a two-term governor of Georgia and legislator who supported Indian Removal. His namesake county is at the eastern end of the state.[4]

The town grew as a commercial center, served by stagecoach. Its merchants traded with the planters in the area. This was part of the Black Belt of Georgia, named for the fertile land that supported extensive cotton plantations in the 19th century. Planters depended on the labor of thousands of enslaved African Americans before the Civil War to cultivate and process the cotton for market.[5]

After the war, many freedmen stayed in the area as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, and the economy continued to depend on agriculture. With land erosion, cotton farming gave way to peanut and pine tree cultivation. While the population of the county steadily decreased with the Great Migration of blacks to the North and Midwest in the early decades of the 20th century, that of Lumpkin remained relatively stable. The county is still quite rural.[6]

Lumpkin was the first small town in Georgia to complete a successful historic preservation project to encourage tourism, with the restoration of the Bedingfield Inn, built in 1836. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is important to the central square.

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