the late 1700's, settlers began locating to the Creek Territory of Northeast
Georgia. Newcomers found fertile soil watered by the Apalachee, Alcovy and
Yellow Rivers and soon began farming the land. The future Walton County was
laid out by the Lottery Act of 1818 and organized in 1819. The new county was
named "Walton" in honor of George Walton, one of Georgia's signers of
the Declaration of Independence.
first County Seat was known as Easley's Cowpens (current community of Pannell),
named for Rodrick Easley's settlement in Creek Indian territory. In 1821, there was increasing talk to move
the county seat to the center of the county, and the small village 3 miles
north of Easley's Cowpens began to be called "Walton Court House,"
despite the fact that there was no such structure located there...yet. Land was set aside for county buildings &
cemeteries and construction began on the courthouse almost immediately. It was
completed in 1823. "Walton Court House" was renamed "Monroe" shortly
after becoming the county seat, in
honor of James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States. Soon the infant
county boasted a Broad Street (formerly known as Rogue Road), log and frame
buildings, stores and a tavern called Major Humphries Assembly Room which was
used for public meetings, dancing and other forms of amusement.
court house which now stands in the center of town was Walton's third
courthouse, constructed from 1883-1884
for $24,000 (see below).
was not visited by Sherman's troops during his infamous march to Savannah, but
they did travel through Social Circle, Jersey and surrounding communities. The
county grew and prospered during the late nineteenth century, and since the
Depression it has thrived.
Historical Society of Walton County works to preserve Walton's rich heritage,
and as residents recognize the progress of past accomplishments, they also
embrace growth and prosperity. They continue to create a unique history while
eagerly anticipating expansion for the future.
The Historic 1883 Walton County Courthouse
cornerstone of this beautiful building was laid on February 14, 1883.
The building had no lighting and was heated by 12 fireplaces. It was
built in the Second Empire Victorian style that was popular during the
time. Because it was during the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant it was
often referred to as "General Grant Style." It was designed by the
architectural firm of Bruce and Morgan of Atlanta and constructed by Mr.
James Smith of Sparta.
original clock tower and dome of the courthouse were destroyed in 1885
by a tornado. The courthouse remained with a flat roof until the current
tower was constructed in 1907. In 1910 the four clock faces, the bell
and the clock motor were added. The bell and motor were made by the E.
Howard Clock Company and the 42" solid bronze bell is one of the largest
in the state. The motor was weight driven when originally installed but
was eventually replaced with electricity.
1933 the Works Progress Administration began a $33,000 renovation on the
building. Terrazzo was placed in all downstairs halls except at the
back of Grand Hall, which had been closed in for an office in the
1920's. The original balcony was removed and replaced with one with
larger seating capacity and offices were built below. Red and black
asbestos tiles were installed over all heart pine floors in the
courtroom and first floor, and all original courtroom railings, benches
and porch rails were removed and Neo Classical replacements were added.
courthouse was again remodeled in 1969 as well as in 1995. On June 23,
1996 the restored historic courthouse was rededicated and is used today
for county offices.
Moina Belle Michael was born near Good Hope, Georgia on August 15, 1869
received a general education at Braswell Academy in Morgan County and
later the Martin Institute in Jefferson, where she graduated in 1885 at
the age of fifteen. Miss Michael then became a teacher, educating
Georgia's youth in county, town, state and church schools. In
conjunction with her teaching she was able to attend the Lucy Cobb
Institute and State Normal School, both in Athens. She later studied at
the prestigious Columbia University in New York.
Michael was author of the book "The Miracle Flower" and a lifelong
advocate of disabled veterans. After reading John McCrae's poem, "In
Flanders Fields," she wrote her own poem pledging to "keep the faith"
for all who died in the war by wearing a red poppy in their remembrance. She began selling red poppies on Armistice Day, and though
she started with only a $10 gift check two days before Armistice in
1918, her vision has grown into a multimillion dollar enterprise
operating throughout the English speaking world. General John J.
Pershing personally wrote to Miss Michael, congratulating her on the
"splendid patriotic service" she rendered through originating and
promulgating the Flanders Field Memorial Poppy.
Michael retired from the University of Georgia in 1938 with the title
of Emeritus, ending her 54-year career in education. She died on May 10,
1944 and is buried in the Rest Haven Cemetery in Monroe.
Walton County Governors
Walton County has been the home either through birth or short residence of the following Georgia Chief Executives:
Wilson Lumpkin 1831-1835 Howell Cobb 1851-1853
Alfred Holt Colquitt 1877-1882
James S. Boynton 1883
Henry D. McDaniel 1883-1886
Clifford Walker 1923-1927 Richard B. Russell, Jr. 1931-1933 (pictured)
of these illustrious sons, Alfred Holt Colquitt and Richard B. Russell,
Jr. went on to become U.S. Senators. Richard B. Hubbard, born on a
plantation in Walton County in 1836, later moved to Texas in 1853 and became
governor of that state from 1876-1879.
National Register of Historic Places - Walton County