Frank P. Milburn
Wilcox County's first courthouse was a wooden building constructed in 1858. This lasted until the current three-story, brick courthouse was built in 1903 (see early photo
County Courthouse Historical Marker: Click here
Wilcox County was created from Dooly, Irwin, and Pulaski counties on Dec. 22, 1857 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 46). [Click here
to read legal description of Wilcox County's original boundaries.]
Wilcox County was named for Gen. Mark Wilcox (1799-1850), who fought in the Indian wars. On three different occasions (1825-28, 1832-34, and 1842-43), Wilcox represented Telfair County in the Georgia House of Representatives, where he worked for creation of the Georgia Supreme Court.
In 1905 and 1906 respectively, portions of Wilcox County were used to create Turner and Ben Hill counties.
The act creating Wilcox County provided for election of county officials on the first Monday of March 1858. After that election, the new justices of the county's inferior court were authorized to select "some central and convenient place" within the county for use as the county seat, to lay out the site into lots and streets, and to arrange for construction of a courthouse and other public buildings. Reportedly, David Fitzgerald donated 60 acres near the Ocmulgee River for use as the county seat. While this meant that the county seat would be on the county's eastern boundary, the inferior court accepted the land donation. The town that grew up around the courthouse was known as Abbeville, a name variously attributed to Abbie Fitzgerald (wife of the land donor), to Abbie McNally, and to the Abbeville District in South Carolina.
Criticism of Abbeville's location prompted the General Assembly on Sept. 27, 1879 to enact legislation allowing any taxpayer in Wilcox County to challenge in court whether Abbeville's location complied with the 1857 act requiring that the county seat be in a central and convenient place (Ga. Laws 1878-79, p. 409). Apparently, no serious challenge resulted. On Sept. 15, 1883, the legislature incorporated Abbeville as a town.