Douglas County - Metro Atlanta Guidebook

A Look At The History Of Douglas County Georgia

Douglas County in West Georgia was created by an Act of the Legislature on October 17, 1870, ranking 131st in order of creation of Georgia counties. The county seat, Douglasville, was named for Stephen Arnold Douglas, famed senator from Illinois and a Jacksonian Democrat who lost the 1860 race for president to Abraham Lincoln and is remembered for the Lincoln-Douglas debates preceding the War Between The States.
The Douglas County area was originally settled by the white man prior to 1848 by Abe, Rueben and Young Vansant of South Carolina. Young Vansant settled in what would become Douglasville, approximately two miles from the location of the current county courthouse. Mr. Vansant deeded forty acres to the county for its first courthouse in the area known as Skint Chestnut. At this point, the landscape rises to an elevation two hundred feet higher than its neighboring countryside, and on this summit there once stood a large chestnut tree, which, for years before the white men occupied the territory, was used by the Indians for a landmark. Afterwards, in order for the tree to be more conspicuous, the Indians skinned it from top to bottom. Here, over the course of time, the roads began to converge. As a place from which distances could be measured conveniently, the settlers called it by the name Skint Chestnut.
Douglas County has an interesting historical background. Here, the Cherokee and Creek Indians hunted, fished, lived and fought each other for many years. The U.S. History removed the Creeks in 1828 and the Cherokee in 1838.
The sacred ground from the Gold Rush Era is still visible in northwest Douglas County. Sweetwater Creek State Park, 2,020 acres of magnificent scenery lying along Sweetwater Creek in east Douglas County, has historical interest dating back to the 1850's when a water-powered cotton and yarn factory was built. This, along with other buildings, was burned by General Sherman on his "scorched earth" march through Georgia in 1864. Lithia Springs, originally called Deer Lick and later named Salt springs, was once the site of a thriving spa with elaborate grounds around the Chatauqua School Of Enlightenment and the Sweetwater Park Hotel. This great resort was known as the "Saratoga Springs of the South". Many famous people were entertained here in the 1800's and on through the turn of the century.
Winston, known as Winn Town, was an important community from early county history, as were Bill Arp, and Fairplay. McWhorter was a thriving community as far back as the 1880's. Mt. Carmel and Chapel Hill were exciting communities even in pre-Civil War times. At that time, they belonged to "old" Campbell County. When the area became Douglas County, the first election was held at Chapel Hill.

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