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Clarke County, Georgia

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Also known as Athens-Clarke County.

Please add profiles for those who were born, lived or died in Clarke County, Georgia.

Official Website


Clarke County was created in 1801 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on December 5. It was named for Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clarke and included 250 square miles that was formerly part of Jackson County. Colonel Clarke played a leading role the 1779 victory at the Battle of Kettle Creek in Wilkes County.

As the population of the county grew in the early 19th century, its agricultural and cotton industries prospered. The adjacent plantation harvests flowed through city mills. Manufacturing and textile production operations were the major industries in Clarke County, especially after the railroad reached Athens in 1841.

Two skirmishes were fought in Clarke County in 1864, during the American Civil War, one near Barber's Creek and the other near Mitchell's Road. Athens was occupied by the Union Army on May 29 and a provost-marshal took charge. Formal military occupation ended by December 1864, though Union troops remained in the county until early 1866.

In 1801 the Clarke County Commission had selected Watkinsville (now in Oconee County) as the county seat. All county offices, including the courts and jail, moved to Athens when the seat was moved on November 24, 1871. County meetings took place in the old Athens town hall, until a new courthouse was constructed in 1876. The present courthouse was built in 1914.

On February 12, 1875, in response to complaints over the relocation of the county seat to Athens, the state legislature created Oconee County from the southwest portion of Clarke County, making Watkinsville its seat. Clarke County thus lost one-third of its population and three-fifths of its land area.

In 1990, the residents voted to unify the city and county governments creating Athens-Clarke County.

Adjacent Counties


  • Athens (County Seat)
  • Bogart (part)
  • Winterville



National Register of Historic Places

Genealogy Trails

USGW Archives

GA Gen Web


Georgia Pioneers - Clarke County