Rockdale County in north central Georgia was created from parts of Henry and Newton counties in 1870. Its name was inspired by the granite strata underlying the surface soil in the area, which was originally inhabited by mound dwellers, and then by Creek and Cherokee Indians. The first white settlers arrived in Rockdale County during the 1820s.
The only incorporated community in the 131-square-mile county is Conyers, the county seat, although
Conyers was incorporated in 1854 but had been inhabited for several decades before that under the name Rockdale. In the 1840s W. D. Conyers, a Covington banker, helped the Georgia Railway lay track through town by buying the site from a blacksmith, John Holcombe, and deeding it to the railroad.
Points of Interest
Rockdale County has several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including two districts in Conyers that incorporate numerous individually historic buildings. Among the others are Panola
Other places of interest in the county include Randy Poynter Lake at Black Shoals Park, a 650-acre reservoir and water sports recreation area stocked with many sport fish varieties; the Lewis Vaughn Botanical Garden, part of the revitalized downtown in Conyers; and the Haralson Mill Covered Bridge, completed in 1997 and the first of its kind to be built in the state since the 1890s.
Perhaps the most well-known place in Rockdale County is the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, a Trappist monastery founded in 1944 on a 1,400-acre plantation once owned by the actress Colleen Moore. The monastery supports itself by selling religious books, art, and other products, and its store
According to the 2010 U.S. census, Rockdale County's population was 85,215, an increase from the 2000 population of 70,111.
Margaret G. Barksdale, E. L. Cowan, and Frances A. King, eds., A History of Rockdale County (Conyers, Ga.: T.H.P., 1978).
Susan R. Boatright and Douglas C. Bachtel, eds., Georgia County Guide (Athens: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, University of Georgia, annual).
The Heritage of Rockdale County, Georgia (Waynesville, N.C.: Don Mills, 1998).
Elizabeth B. Cooksey, Savannah
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.