These pages are dedicated to the history and genealogy of Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Many volunteers have contributed information that you will find helpful in tracing your Oglethorpe County ancestors. If you have records or information that you'd like to share here, please contact Jimmy
About Oglethorpe County
Oglethorpe County was created on December 19, 1793 entirely out of Wilkes County. It was named for General James Edward Oglethorpe, who founded the colony of Georgia, at Savannah, in 1733. A soldier and philanthropist, Oglethorpe created the colony as an asylum for British debtors. He remained in Georgia for nine years and drove the invading Spanish troops back into Florida. He returned to England in 1742 and died there in 1785.
The area that encompasses Oglethorpe County was originally inhabited primarily by the Creek and Cherokee tribes. It was opened to settlement by a treaty with the tribes in 1771. These "Ceded Lands", as the area was called, became Wilkes County in 1777. In 1793, a northwestern portion of Wilkes County was cut aside to form the new county of Oglethorpe.
Several border adjustments were made in the following years. In 1794, a portion of Greene County was added to Oglethorpe, and the Oglethorpe/Greene county border shifted several times in 1799. In 1811, Madison County was created, taking land from Oglethorpe. In 1813, Oglethorpe acquired land from Clarke County. Taliaferro County took land from Oglethorpe in 1831, and Oglethorpe received land from Madison County in 1842.
The first permanent settlements in what is now Oglethorpe County were along the Broad River ~ settled by a group of Virginia planters in the 1780s ~ and along Long Creek near the town of Lexington. Lexington was incorporated in 1806 as the county seat. Settlers grew mainly tobacco and cotton, and found deposits of granite, gold, iron, copper and other minerals.