Columbia County lies along the Savannah River in east central Georgia, bordering South Carolina just northwest of Augusta. It was created by an act of the state legislature from a northern part of Richmond County on December 10, 1790. In the colonial era the territory that constitutes Columbia County was laid out as part of St. Paul Parish. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the county was created in response to a request by backcountry settlers that they be given court sessions that would be more convenient than those held in Augusta.
The earliest village in the county—Brandon—was founded around 1752. Brandon was abandoned sometime in the mid-1750s,
After the Georgia Railroad was laid through the county around 1834-36, new communities, such as the incorporated cities of Harlem and Grovetown, sprang up or began to flourish. The current county seat, Appling, was chartered in 1816 and was named for Colonel Daniel Appling, a War of 1812 (1812-15) hero from the Columbia County area. Appling is one of many inactive municipalities that lost their incorporated status by an act of the Georgia General Assembly in 1993.
There are more than thirty prehistoric sites in Columbia County. The most important, on Stallings Island, is a burial mound documenting a culture that flourished in the Archaic Period more than 4,000 years ago.
William C. Blackard, Thomas Huckabee, and Gerald J. Smith, Columbia County, Georgia, Images of America (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2000).
Gerald J. Smith, To Seek a Newer World: A History of Columbia County, Georgia (Murfreesboro, Tenn.: Southern Heritage Press, 2001).
Marilee Creelan, Medical College of Georgia
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