|Wilkes County, GAGenWeb - County History|
Wilkes County, founded in 1777, from the northern part of Saint Paul's Parish, was named for John Wilkes, an Englishman who supported the colonists' cause in the British House of Commons.
The area played its part in revolutionary history at the Battle of Kettle Creek, where Patriot forces were able to push back Loyalists and break the British hold on upper Georgia. After the war, Washington, the county seat, was reportedly the first incorporated town in the nation to be named for General Washington who later became our first President.
The world's first cotton gin was developed by Eli Whitney in 1795 on Mount Pleasant Plantation. Washington is the site of the Cooper-Sanders-Wickersham House, where Jefferson Davis held the last Confederate Cabinet meeting on May 5, 1865.
Among notable citizens of Wilkes County are Elijah Clark, a pioneer soldier and hero of the Revolutionary War; John Clark, a Rev. War officer and two-time governor of Georgia; George Walton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Georgia governor; Robert A. Toombs, Confederate Sec'y of State, CSA Brig-General, and U.S. Senator; Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy and a Georgia governor; Dudley M. DuBose, CSA Brig-General and U. S. Congressman; and John Springer, a minister and educator who taught at Princeton and fought in the Revolution.
Wilkes County, known as "The Mother County of Upper Georgia," is the parent county of the entire areas of the present the entire areas of the present Elbert (1790) and Lincoln (1796) Counties as well as parts of Oglethorpe (1793), Warren (1793), Taliaferro (1825-28), Madison (1811), and Hart (1853). In 1802 Greene received a part of Wilkes that was later transferred to Taliaferro.