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On July 18, 1924 the Georgia General Assembly approved a constitutional amendment to create Peach County from parts of Houston and Macon counties. The voters of Georgia ratified the proposed amendment on November 4, 1924, thus making Peach county Georgia's 161st and last new county. This helped to alleviate a long struggle between neighboring communities.

There is a state historical marker with the wrong dates on the courthouse grounds, but the official date of birth for Peach County is the date when the voters approved the amendment. The vote on this issue was 77,052 in favor to 31,211 against and this ocured November 4, 1924. Peach County rolled out the proverbial "open for business" sign in January 1, 1925, with an election to seat the inaugural Board of County Commissioners happening 6 days later on January 7, 1925.

In the early 19th century (about 1820) James A. Everett established Fort Valley as a trading post and in 1856 Fort Valley incorporated as a city. Soon thereafter discussion begin concerning creating a new county out of the north end of Houston (pronounced Howse-ton) County. At that time nothing happened, but discussion was not left behind and gained momentum around 1880. Although never proven by document or fact, it is widely believed that at that time the rule of thumb was that no person living in Georgia should be further away from the County Seat than a horse could travel in round trip in a 24 hour period.

Basically though other factors were more weighty behind the push to create new counties and deats of government. Among these were personal disputes and political controversy that more often than ot let to the division of existing counties into smaller counties. Fort Valley residents found it was a hardship to travel to the courthouse in Perry and the Flint River was a natural barrier between the northern part of Macon County and the courthouse which was in Oglethorpe.

There was little that the two communities did not battle over.They argued over everything from how it would be divided, what it would be named, how many people would live in each of the three counties after the division was made. Much ado was made over naming a county after a crop! If they get their way and get Peach, what would they decide to call the next one.

The very protective Houston County leaders carefully transferred 40,000 acres of land to Macon County to try convince the Macon County Voters to vote against the amendment to create Peach County. Politicians, clubs, merchants in both counties engaged in a campaign of vicious letters debating this issue. At one point some merchants of Marshallville were advised to make themselves scarce.

The flip side of the coin is that the state debate was focused on whether Georgia had a need for yet more counties! The voters had previously in 1904 approved an amendment to the state constitution stating there would be no more than 145...yet the pressure was on to create even more counties. Acts of legislature can not conflict with the state's constitution so the only solution was to amend the constitution. 1906 saw lawmakers circumventing the constitution by by using amendments to create new counties. In 1922 there were 160 counties and the voters was beginning to question the need for yet more government.

Georgia's 161st -- and last -- new county was named for the peaches so proudly grown in the area.

SOURCES:  Georgis State Archives, Peach County Government, Peach County Historical Society.

Copyright:  1996-2009  GAGenWeb | Original content by Laverne Tornow

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