In the heart of central Georgia's wiregrass region, Dodge County stretches 500 square miles from the Oconee River to the Ocmulgee River. The state legislature established Dodge County in 1870, forming it from parts of Montgomery, Pulaski, and Telfair counties. In 1872 and 1875, parts of Dodge County were shifted back into Telfair County. Dodge County was named for William Earle Dodge of New York, cofounder of one of the world's largest mining and metals companies, and owner of significant timberlands in central Georgia.
In 1869 the president of the Macon and Brunswick Railroad named a station stop in the area for William Pitt Eastman, a northeastern industrialist with extensive Georgia land holdings. Upon visiting the newly named stop, Eastman purchased property on both sides of the rail line and laid out a town. At Eastman's invitation, William Dodge, president of the Georgia Land and Lumber Company, funded the building of a courthouse in exchange for the new county's receiving his name. The county seat, named for Eastman, was incorporated as a town in 1871 and as a city in 1905. The current courthouse was built in 1908, replacing a courthouse built soon after the county's creation. In addition to Eastman there are three incorporated towns: Chauncey, Chester, and Rhine.
Williamson Stuckey, a pecan farmer in Eastman, began selling his wife's pecan candies in the mid-1930s, building a large and well-known national business by the 1960s. Stuckey's business represented the beginning of the county's economic shift away from farming.
Eastman has two institutes of higher education: Middle Georgia College Aviation Campus (formerly Georgia Aviation Technical College), a satellite campus of Middle Georgia College; and Eastman Regional Academic Center, a satellite campus of Mercer University.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the county's population is 21,796, an increase from the 2000 population of 19,171.
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
Addie Davis Cobb, History of Dodge County (1932; reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1979).
History of Dodge County, Georgia, 1932-1992 (Alpharetta, Ga.: W. H. Wolfe Associates, 1993).
Mark V. Wetherington, The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, 1860-1910 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994).
Mary Ellen Wilson, "The Heyday of Georgia's Longleaf Pine Lumber Industry: Two Dodge County Companies in the Late Nineteenth Century," Georgia Historical Quarterly 79 (fall 1995): 685-99.
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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