Montgomery Courthouse in Mount Vernon
|Location: Mount Vernon |
Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival
Designer: Alexander Blair
The 1793 act creating Montgomery County provided the court sessions be held at the residence of William Neal until a courthouse and jail could be erected. A 1797 act provided that the courthouse, jail, and other county business be held at the plantation of Arthur Lott. How long Lott's plantation home served as courthouse is not known. In 1813, the legislature designated Mt. Vernon as county seat, and at some point a courthouse was built. Likely, it was a small frame building, for in 1836 the legislature authorized the clerks of superior and inferior court to keep their offices at any place within one mile of the courthouse. In 1838, the legislature authorized the inferior court to levy a special tax to build a jail and repair the courthouse. Presumably, several courthouses were constructed during the 19th century. Montgomery County's current courthouse was completed in 1907 (see photo
) and substantially rehabilitated in 1991-92.
County Courthouse Historical Marker: Click here
Montgomery County was created from Washington County by an act of the General Assembly approved Dec. 19, 1793 (Ga. Laws 1793, p. 10). Georgia's 20th county was named for Continental Army general Richard Montgomery
(1736-1775), who was mortally wounded on Dec. 31, 1775 at the Battle of Quebec
during the early stages of the American Revolution.
Portions of Montgomery County were used to create the following counties: Tattnall (1801), Emanuel (1812), Dodge (1870), Toombs (1905), Wheeler (1912), and Treutlen (1918).
The 1793 act creating Montgomery County did not designate a county seat but provided that court sessions be held at the residence of William Neal until a courthouse and jail could be erected. An act of Feb. 8, 1797 provided that the courthouse, jail, and other county business be held at the plantation of Arthur Lott, which was designated the county seat of Montgomery County (Ga. Laws 1797, p. 33).
In 1813, the General Assembly designated the settlement of Mount Vernon as county seat (Ga. Laws 1813, p. 44). Later, a number of Montgomery County residents sought to have the location of the county seat changed. In response, the 1857 legislature passed an act directing:
"That the Justices of the Inferior Court of Montgomery county, or a majority of them, are hereby required, by giving due notice at least twenty days before said election, to have opened at the Court House and several precincts in said county, a poll or election, to ascertain whether a majority of said voters desire the removal of the county site from Mount Vernon, the voters endorsing on their tickets removal, or no removal.
"That should a majority of said voters vote removal, then the Justices of the Inferior Court, or a majority of them, shall procure some suitable place as near the centre of said county as practicable, where at least ten acres of land can be obtained on the best terms, for the location of the county site, and shall cause the same to be laid off in town lots, and sold at public outcry, on the ground, to the highest bidders, after having first given at least sixty days notice of said sale in two or more of the public gazettes of this State, retaining at least two acres for public use, and after the sale of said lots the Justices of the Inferior Court shall provide for the erection of public buildings in such manner as they, or a majority of them, shall think proper" (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 259).
Whether a referendum to move the county seat actually was held is not known, but if it was, voters turned it down. Mount Vernon is presumed to have been named for the Virginia plantation home of George Washington. The date of its initial settlement is not known, but Mount Vernon was incorporated by the legislature on Aug. 26, 1872