Richmond County, in east central Georgia bordering the Savannah River and the South Carolina state line, was created in 1777 as one of Georgia's original counties. It replaced the former parish of St. Paul, established in 1758 under the colonial government. The county was named for Charles Lenox, duke of Richmond, who was sympathetic to the cause of the American Revolution (1775-83). First settled in the 1730s, Richmond County originally encompassed all of present-day Richmond, Columbia, and McDuffie counties, as well as parts of Warren, Glascock, and Jefferson counties. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the county population was 200,549, an increase from the 2000 population of 199,775.
Augusta was designated as the county seat. It was founded in 1736 by James Edward Oglethorpe to establish trade with the Indians at the head of navigation of the Savannah River. It was named for Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha,
Today, Richmond County contains three incorporated municipalities: Augusta (the second largest city in Georgia, with a population of 195,182 in 2000), Hephzibah (population 3,880), and Blythe (population 718). Augusta and Richmond County have a consolidated government. Richmond, ranked seventh in population among Georgia's counties, is the center of a metropolitan statistical area of approximately 500,000 people in a five-county, two-state region. Governmental, medical, and manufacturing employers now dominate its economy.
Richmond County has had a military presence since its founding. Fort Augusta was garrisoned beginning in the 1730s. The town
Culture and Recreation
The Masters Tournament has been held at the Augusta National Golf Club since 1934. It annually focuses international attention on the city. Augusta's riverfront affords a venue for rowing. Augusta has regularly scheduled performances of ballet, choral, dance, opera, theater, and symphony productions. The visual arts are represented both by teaching facilities and by museums and galleries. Augustans honor their history through participation in several historical, preservation, neighborhood, and genealogical societies. More than a dozen museums and historic sites in Richmond County are open to the public.
Among notables who have lived in Augusta and Richmond County are George Walton, signer of the Declaration of Independence; John Milledge, governor of Georgia and donor of the land upon which the University of Georgia is located; George Walker Crawford, governor of Georgia and president of the Georgia Secession Convention; Charles Jones Jenkins, governor of Georgia; Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States; Joseph Rucker Lamar, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Butterfly McQueen, the actress who played Prissy in Gone With the Wind; actor Oliver Hardy; Frank Yerby, writer; Carl Sanders, governor of Georgia; James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul"; Brenda Lee, recording artist; Jessye Norman, opera singer; Larry Mize, professional golfer; Susan Still, astronaut; and Judy Woodruff, journalist.
Helen Callahan, Augusta: A Pictorial History (Virginia Beach, Va.: Donning, 1980).
Edward J. Cashin, The Story of Augusta (Augusta, Ga.: Richmond County Board of Education, 1980).
Florence Fleming Corley, Confederate City: Augusta, Georgia, 1860-1865 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1960).
Erick D. Montgomery, Historic Augusta, Inc.
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.