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History of Appling County
Appling County was created by an act of the General Assembly approved Dec. 15, 1818 (Ga. Laws 1818, p. 27).
Georgia's 42nd county was created from Creek lands ceded in the Treaty of Fort Jackson (1814) and the Treaty of the Creek Agency (1818).
The county was named for Col. Daniel Appling (1787-1815), Georgia's most noted hero of the War of 1812.
The original county included all or portions of Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Jeff Davis, Pierce, Ware, and Wayne Counties.
On December 8, 1818 the Legislature provided funds to build the first courthouse on lands owned by Solomon Kennedy. The town of Holmesville grew up around the courthouse. This structure was destroyed by fire in the 1850's. In 1874 the county seat was moved to Baxley, Ga. Baxley was incorporated in 1875 and is named for Wilson Baxley, an early settler of the area.
Baxley has been known as the "Turpentine Capital of the World".
Other communities in Appling County are Surrency and Graham.
In 1824, the legislature created Ware County from Appling County. Also, portions of Appling County were used to create the following counties: Clinch (1850), Coffee (1854), Charlton (1854), Pierce (1857), Echols (1858), Jeff Davis (1905), and Bacon (1914, Atkinson 1918), and Brantley (1920),.
In an act of Dec. 21, 1819, the General Assembly provided for election of Appling County's first justices of the inferior court and provided when elected, those justices were empowered to select a site for the county seat as near the center of the county "as convenience will permit."
Apparently, the justices were unable to choose a site, for on Dec. 21, 1820, the legislature named Henry Hagans, William Smith, Jacob Raulerson, Jesse Meazels, and Gabriel Tucker as courthouse and jail commissioners with authority to select a temporary county seat "as nearly central as convenience will admit" (Ga. Laws 1820, p. 28).
In 1824, the General Assembly returned the power to select the county seat and construct a courthouse to the justices of Appling County's inferior court (Ga. Laws 1824, p 45). Until this was completed, Appling County elections and court sessions were to be held at the house of William Carter, Jr.
Eventually, the justices of the inferior court selected the land lot where Solomon Kennady lived as the site for Appling County's seat of government. On Dec. 8, 1828, the General Assembly officially designating this site as county seat and named it Holmesville (Ga. Laws 1828, p. 168). However, many Appling County residents felt that Holmesville was not conveniently located. The county's grand jury studied the issue and agreed that the county seat should be moved. Following that action and petitions for removal by a majority of the county's residents, the General Assembly on Dec. 24, 1836 appointed a seven-member commission and gave it responsibility for determining whether the courthouse should be moved to a more central location (Ga. Laws 1836, p. 106). If so, the commissioners were empowered to name the site of the new county seat and to build a new courthouse. Apparently, the commission was unable to decide whether to move the courthouse, for Holmesville remained county seat for over three decades. Continuing criticism over the matter led the legislature in August 1872 to call for an election the next month in which Appling County voters would decide whether to move the county seat. In the event a majority of voters favored removal, the act named a commission that would be empowered to select a new county seat and provide for construction of a courthouse. Presumably, those wanting a new county seat won the election, and the commissioners picked Baxley -- for the legislature in 1873 provided for selling the old courthouse at Holmesville and using the proceeds for construction of a new courthouse in Baxley [actually the 1873 act mistakingly indicated that the new courthouse was being built at Holmesville--but this error was corrected by the 1874 legislature].
Baxley was first settled as a result of the Macon & Brunswick Railroad being built through Appling County in 1870. Originally, it was a railroad depot known as Station Number 7 -- but it soon was named Baxley (after one of the community's first settlers, William Baxley of North Carolina). After the 1872 election on the location of Appling's county seat, the commissioners selected Baxley as the new county seat. Work began on building a new courthouse, and in either 1873 or 1874 county officials left Holmesville and moved to Baxley. On Feb. 23, 1875, the legislature passed an act incorporating Baxley.
Taken from the Appling County Official site.