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Telfair County, Georgia facts for kids

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Telfair County
Telfair County Courthouse in McRae-Helena
Telfair County Courthouse in McRae-Helena
Map of Georgia highlighting Telfair County
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Georgia
Founded December 10, 1807; 215 years ago (1807)
Named for Edward Telfair
Seat McRae-Helena
Largest city McRae-Helena
Area
 • Total 444 sq mi (1,150 km2)
 • Land 437 sq mi (1,130 km2)
 • Water 6.7 sq mi (17 km2)  1.5%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2018)
15,876
 • Density 38/sq mi (15/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 8th

Telfair County is a county located in the central portion of the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,500. The largest city and county seat is McRae-Helena.

In 2009, researchers from the Fernbank Museum of Natural History announced having found artifacts they associated with the 1541 Hernando de Soto Expedition at a private site near the Ocmulgee River, the first such find between Tallahassee, Florida and western North Carolina. De Soto's expedition was well recorded, but researchers have had difficulties finding artifacts from sites where he stopped. This site was an indigenous village occupied by the historic Creek people from the early 15th century into the 16th century. It was located further southeast than de Soto's expedition was thought to go in Georgia.

History

Chevronbeads
Modern example of chevron beads

Archaeologists associated with Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of Natural History have been excavating a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) plot near McRae-Helena, approximately a mile away from the Ocmulgee River. They have found evidence of a Spanish settlement dating to the first half of the 16th century. The archaeologists suspect that the artifacts originated from a settlement founded by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526.

Additional research suggested that the site was one visited by the de Soto Expedition of 1541. They recovered Murano glass beads, made in Venice and brought by the Spanish for trading with Native Americans; pottery fragments, and iron weapons. Some of the beads bear a chevron pattern. This is believed to be a hallmark of the de Soto expedition, due to the limited period in which such beads were produced. Excavations have also produced six metal objects, including three iron tools and a silver pendant. The site is further west than scholars had earlier believed that the de Soto expedition had traveled, based on documentation from his expedition.

What we have now is the best-documented collection of Spanish artifacts in Georgia; many are unique, and they are the only examples of certain artifacts ever found outside Florida.

—- Archaeologist Dennis Blanton 2009

Telfair County was established on December 10, 1807. Development of the county largely took place after Indian Removal of historic tribes who had occupied the area for thousands of years. It is named for Edward Telfair, the sixteenth governor of Georgia and a member of the Continental Congress.

Many of the first European-American settlers were Scottish immigrants. Cotton plantations dominated the economy into the early 20th century, based on the labor of enslaved African Americans.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 444 square miles (1,150 km2), of which 437 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) (1.5%) is water. The county contains at least 50 artesian wells.

The southern two-thirds of Telfair County, bordered by a line from Milan east to Lumber City, are located in the Lower Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin. The northern portion of the county is located in the Little Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the same Altamaha River basin.

Major highways

  • US 23.svg U.S. Route 23
  • US 280.svg U.S. Route 280
  • US 319.svg U.S. Route 319
  • US 341.svg U.S. Route 341
  • US 441.svg U.S. Route 441
  • Georgia 19.svg State Route 19
  • Georgia 27.svg State Route 27
  • Georgia 30.svg State Route 30
  • Georgia 31.svg State Route 31
  • Georgia 117.svg State Route 117
  • Georgia 132.svg State Route 132
  • Georgia 149.svg State Route 149
  • Georgia 149 Connector.svg State Route 149 Connector
  • Georgia 165.svg State Route 165

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 744
1820 2,104 182.8%
1830 2,136 1.5%
1840 2,763 29.4%
1850 3,026 9.5%
1860 2,713 −10.3%
1870 3,245 19.6%
1880 4,828 48.8%
1890 5,477 13.4%
1900 10,083 84.1%
1910 13,288 31.8%
1920 15,291 15.1%
1930 14,997 −1.9%
1940 15,145 1.0%
1950 13,221 −12.7%
1960 11,715 −11.4%
1970 11,381 −2.9%
1980 11,445 0.6%
1990 11,000 −3.9%
2000 11,794 7.2%
2010 16,500 39.9%
2018 (est.) 15,876 −3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 16,500 people, 5,543 households, and 3,609 families living in the county. The population density was 37.7 inhabitants per square mile (14.6/km2). There were 7,297 housing units at an average density of 16.7 per square mile (6.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 57.0% white, 36.5% black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 4.1% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 12.3% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 32.1% were English, and 6.6% were American.

Of the 5,543 households, 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.9% were non-families, and 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.02. The median age was 39.2 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $23,876 and the median income for a family was $36,109. Males had a median income of $27,278 versus $28,253 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,420. About 23.3% of families and 31.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.1% of those under age 18 and 29.5% of those age 65 or over.

2020 census

The 2020 United States Census indicated that the county lost 24% of its population in the preceding decade.

Telfair County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 5,970 47.85%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 4,326 34.67%
Native American 28 0.22%
Asian 30 0.24%
Other/Mixed 195 1.56%
Hispanic or Latino 1,928 15.45%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 12,477 people, 4,668 households, and 3,259 families residing in the county.

Communities

Cities

Town

Unincorporated communities

  • Towns
  • Workmore
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