Grady County was established January 1, 1906, from portions of Decatur and Thomas counties, and was named in honor of Henry Woodfin Grady, an editor of The Atlanta Constitution and a famed southern orator who widely prophesied "The New South."
Grady County is situated in the lower coastal plain in southwest Georgia. The rolling terrain with numerous small running streams and rich soil is well drained. A favorable climate affords natural resources for one of the richest farming areas in the nation. There are local processing plants for many of the major crops. It was the original diversified farming center of the southeast.
In the early 1800s, William Hawthorne, a Baptist preacher and explorer, blazed a trail through forty miles of wilderness in what is now the Grady County area. Finding the area to his liking, he and his family settled along the area of Tired Creek about three miles south of the present location of Cairo.
A number of Hawthorne's friends, hearing about the area, sold their holdings in North Carolina and ventured down the Hawthorne Trail settling ten miles farther south of Tired Creek. Tired Creek Primitive Baptist Church was founded in 1826. By 1828, a number of families had settled the area.
Cairo is the county seat of Grady County. First chartered as a town in 1870 and as a city in 1906, the city is located between Thomasville in Thomas County and Bainbridge in Decatur County. One of the earliest settlements was at Miller's Station, a stage coach stop between Thomasville and Bainbridge.
Whigham, a thriving community, is nine miles from Cairo on Highway 84 west. According to records in the National Archives in Washington, the first post office was established in Harrell, Georgia, on May 26, 1868. In April of 1880, the U. S. Postal Service made the name change from Harrell, Georgia to Whigham, Georgia.
Calvary, known for years as the "North Carolina Settlement," is located south of Whigham. Calvary probably had its start a few years before either Cairo or Whigham. The North Carolinians reportedly had heard of "a nature's garden spot" down toward Northwest Florida, and chose the area where Calvary now is to get back away from the gulf coastal area.
Other places in Grady County include Duncanville (now Beachton) settled in 1827, Blowing Cave, Live Oak, Pine Park (formerly Leb), Pawnee, Reno, Elpino, Lime Sink, Gradyville and Boydville.
In 1906, when the county was established, these were the districts: Lime Sink District, Blowing Cave District, Spence District, Spring Hill District, Cairo District, Pine Park District, Whigham District, Ragan's District, Duncanville District and Higdon District.