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Washington, Georgia
City of Washington
The Robert Toombs House State Historic Site, also a National Historic Landmark
Location in Wilkes County and the state of Georgia
Location in Wilkes County and the state of Georgia
Washington, Georgia is located in the United States
Washington, Georgia
Washington, Georgia
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State Georgia
County Wilkes
Settled 1774
Incorporated 1804
Founded by Stephen Heard
Named for George Washington
Area
 • Total 7.75 sq mi (20.08 km2)
 • Land 7.70 sq mi (19.94 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)
Elevation
607 ft (185 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,754
 • Density 487.66/sq mi (188.29/km2)
Demonym(s) Washingtonian
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
30673
Area code(s) 706/762
FIPS code 13-80704
GNIS feature ID 0356620

Washington is the county seat of Wilkes County, Georgia, United States. Under its original name Heard's Fort, it was briefly designated as the state capital during the American Revolutionary War. It is noted as the place where the Confederacy voted to dissolve itself, effectively ending the American Civil War.

The population was 4,134 as of the 2010 census. The city is often referred to as Washington-Wilkes, to distinguish it from other places named Washington.

Revolutionary Washington

The Battle of Kettle Creek, one of the most important battles of the American Revolutionary War to be fought in Georgia, was fought on February 14, 1779 in Wilkes County, about eight miles (13 km) from present day Washington. The battle resulted in a victory for the American Patriots who took 75 prisoners, and killed roughly 70 Loyalists, while losing 32 men.

Washington in the Civil War

Although no major battles of the Civil War were fought in or near Washington, the city has the distinction of being the location where Jefferson Davis held the last meeting with the Confederate cabinet. On April 3, 1865, with Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant poised to capture Richmond, Jefferson Davis escaped for Danville, Virginia, together with the Confederate cabinet. After leaving Danville, and continuing south, Davis met with his Confederate Cabinet for the last time on May 5, 1865 in Washington, along with a hand-picked escort led by Given Campbell, including his personal Body Guard Sgt. Joseph A Higgenbotham, Jr., of Amherst/Nelson County, Virginia. The meeting took place at the Heard house (the Georgia Branch Bank Building), with fourteen officials present.

Confederate Gold

One of Washington's most lingering mysteries is that of the lost Confederate gold. As the last recorded location of the remaining Confederate gold, the Washington area is thought to be the site where it is buried. Worth roughly $100,000 when it disappeared in 1865, at 2016 prices it's value would be around $3.6 million. The cable television channel A&E produced a documentary focusing on this legend.

Washington's list of "firsts"

The city of Washington claims to be first in many historical events:

  • First Catholic parish 1790
  • First city in the nation to be established in the name of George Washington, 1780
  • First Baptist church in upper Georgia at Fishing Creek, 1783
  • First Methodist church in Georgia was organized at Grant's Meeting House in Wilkes County, 1787
  • First Presbyterian minister ordained in Georgia was John Springer in Wilkes County, 1790
  • First Episcopal conference not under the Church of England, 1788
  • First successful cotton gin perfected and set up by Eli Whitney in Wilkes county, 1795.
  • First woman newspaper editor in U.S. was Sarah Porter Hillhouse who became the editor of the Monitor in 1804 (inducted into Georgia Women of Achievement in 2006).
  • First cotton mill in Georgia erected on Upton Creek in Wilkes County, 1811
  • First stamp mill for gold in the world was invented and put into use near Washington by Jeremiah Griffin, 1831–32.
  • One of the first plastic garments ever cut in the world was in Wilkes County by Margo and Alfred Moses in February 1946.
  • First seat of government of the State of Georgia, 1780.
  • In 1777, Wilkes County became the first county in Georgia. Washington is the county seat of Wilkes County.

Geography

Washington is located at 33°44′7″N 82°44′29″W / 33.73528°N 82.74139°W / 33.73528; -82.74139 (33.735394, −82.741420).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.9 square miles (20 km2), of which 7.8 square miles (20 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.25%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 596
1820 695 16.6%
1850 462
1870 1,506
1880 2,199 46.0%
1890 2,631 19.6%
1900 3,300 25.4%
1910 3,065 −7.1%
1920 4,208 37.3%
1930 3,158 −25.0%
1940 3,537 12.0%
1950 3,802 7.5%
1960 4,440 16.8%
1970 4,094 −7.8%
1980 4,662 13.9%
1990 4,279 −8.2%
2000 4,295 0.4%
2010 4,134 −3.7%
2020 3,754 −9.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Washington Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 1,226 32.66%
Black or African American 2,277 60.66%
Native American 12 0.32%
Asian 24 0.64%
Other/Mixed 122 3.25%
Hispanic or Latino 93 2.48%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 3,754 people, 1,646 households, and 904 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 4,134 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 60.4% Black, 35.3% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% from some other race and 1.7% from two or more races. 1.5% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Heard's Fort

Heard's Fort was built as a stockade in 1774 by Stephen Heard. Heard's Fort was designated the Seat of Government for Georgia on February 3, 1780, a position it held until 1781.

Education

The Wilkes County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of one primary school, one elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. The district has 116 full-time teachers and over 1,858 students.

  • Washington-Wilkes Elementary School
  • Washington-Wilkes Primary School
  • Washington-Wilkes Middle School
  • Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School

Dr. Rosemary Caddell is the Superintendent of Schools.

Notable people

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