Note: This is the third in a series of columns about the origin of the counties that surround Bulloch County.
Evans County, the 150th county in Georgia, was created from parts of Bulloch and Tattnall counties. Georgia voters ratified the proposed amendment on Nov. 3, 1914. Evans has a total area of 187 square miles, of which 185 square miles are land and 2 square miles are covered by water.
Evans County is named for Civil War Brigadier Gen. Clement A. Evans. Evans, a soldier, lawyer, minister, statesman and author, commanded Gordon’s old division in the last charge of the Army at Appomattox “with guns still hot from firing until the last hour.”
Claxton, the county seat, was founded when the 400-mile-long Savannah and Western Railroad came through the area in the 1890s. Storeowner Remer Hendricks and his parents, Glenn and Nancy Hendricks, granted the railroad right-of-way across a large tract of their land. Nancy Hendricks gave free lots to the first several citizens who promised to build on them, and a new town was born. Claxton was named for Kate Claxton, a popular actress of the time.
The neo-classical Evans County Courthouse was built in 1923. The original still stands. The City of Claxton is now known as the “Fruit Cake Capital of the World” in honor of the Georgia Fruit Cake Company and Claxton Bakery, both of which ship their delights all around the world.
The other incorporated towns in the county are Bellville, Daisy and Hagan. Daisy’s cotton ginning and turpentine production got a major boost from the arrival of the railroads. The Perkins family built most of Hagan, another railroad town, in the 1890s. Much of the southeastern part of Evans County is occupied by Fort Stewart, a U.S. Army base used as a flight-training center.
On May 21, 1915, the Claxton Enterprise reprinted an editorial from the Tattnall Journal that stated, “Scarcely released from the maternal apron strings ... (the new county’s residents have planned) a three day’s jubilee and great get-together meeting for the purpose of boosting the new county and her people, and infusing in them the progressive spirit without which no county can prosper.”
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.