Crawford County, in west central Georgia, is Georgia's fifty-seventh county. The 325-square-mile county was created on December 9, 1822, from Houston County, which had been formed from land given up by the Creek Indians in the 1821 Treaty of Indian Springs. The county is named for statesman William Harris Crawford, who had served as a U.S. senator, minister to France, and secretary of the treasury.
The first white settlers in the area were Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins and his family. Arriving in 1803, they built a five-square-mile compound on the Flint River. The compound included a shop and plantation, which became known as the Creek Agency Reserve. Although Hawkins was well liked
Knoxville was established on the Federal Road, the main stagecoach and telegraph route from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans, making the town a natural choice for county seat. Although the chief center of population is now Roberta, a mile to its west, Knoxville (no longer an incorporated city) retains its designation as the county seat. The current courthouse, built there in 2002, replaced one built in 1851, which still stands.
Roberta, originally called New Knoxville, is the only incorporated city in the county. It was incorporated on December 26, 1890. Roberta started out in 1886 as a railroad office and warehouse
During the county's early days, settlers relied first on agriculture and then on cattle ranching, timber harvesting, and sand extraction as economic mainstays. Agriculture continues to be important, as are manufacturing and health and social services. Many residents also work in neighboring areas, especially Bibb County.
Well-known figures from Crawford County include Jefferson Franklin Long, Georgia's first African American
John Stith Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola, was also born in Knoxville. Pemberton was a veteran Confederate lieutenant colonel who served on the first Georgia pharmacy licensing board after the war. His state-of-the-art laboratory for chemical analysis and manufacturing became the first state-run facility to conduct tests of soil and crop chemicals.
Joanna E. Troutman, who designed the first Lone Star flag (later adopted as a major Texas emblem),
Among places of interest in Knoxville are the Old Jail Museum and the Old Courthouse, which was built in 1851 and houses documents and local history. The Museum of Southeastern Indians, with its collection of Indian artifacts and Appalachian settler history, is in Roberta.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the county population is 12,630, a slight increase from the 2000 population of 12,495.
Emmie Carnes Bankston, History of Roberta and Crawford County, Georgia (Macon, Ga.: Omni Press, 1976).
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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