Georgia’s 126th county, Wilcox County comprises 380 square miles and was created
in 1857 in the central part of the state from Dooly, Irwin, and Pulaski counties. Later, parts
ofWilcox County were used to create Turner (1905) and Ben Hill (1906) counties.
Historians disagree about the origin of Wilcox County’s name, some claiming that it is
named after General Mark Willcox, a soldier in the Indian Wars who later served in the
Georgia General Assembly, and others believing that it is named for his father, Captain John
Willcox. Hernando de Soto is believed to have discovered the Ocmulgee River, in the area
that became Wilcox County, in 1540. The area’s first inhabitants were Creek Indians who
signed treaties in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, forfeiting their land. The
first settlers came from neighboring counties and states during the late eighteenth and
early nineteenth centuries. Much of the land was virgin pine forest. Many settlers lived first
by subsistence farming and hunting and moved later into cattle ranching after establishing
their homesteads. Eventually, settlers produced cotton and fruit, as well as cattle, for the

The county seat is Abbeville, established in 1858 but not incorporated until 1883. Its
location, near the eastern boundary of Wilcox County, was reportedly chosen because
David Fitzgerald donated sixty acres there for use as a county seat. A courthouse was built
in 1858, and the town subsequently developed around it. In response to complaints that
the seat of government was not centrally located, county taxpayers were invited by the
state assembly to challenge the eastern location, but no one came forth. The old courthouse
remained in use until 1903, when the brick structure that still serves today was completed.
A large wild hog population in Abbeville led to its nickname, the “Wild Hog Capital of
Georgia,” and the town hosts an annual Ocmulgee Wild Hog Festival.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis camped in Abbeville on May 8, 1865. He was
captured on May 10, 1865 in Irwinville by a detachment of the Fourth Michigan Calvary,
who had pursued him into the heart ofthe Deep South. The Chasing Jefferson Davis
Marathon commemorates the historical event by allowing runners to follow the 26.2 mile
route from Abbeville to the capture site in Irwinville.

Wilcox County is also the birthplace of a musical legend. Preacher and singer,
Reverend Pearly Brown, was born in Abbeville on August 18, 1915. Brown was born blind
and relocated to Americus, Georgia with his family at an early age. He grew up to perform
at the Newport Folk Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Carnegie Hall. In 2010, he was
inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Enduring Farmlands Scenic Byway

The Enduring Farmlands Scenic Byway showcases routes through the historic towns of Hawkinsville, Pineview, Rochelle, and Abbeville as well as the surrounding countryside. In viewing the peaceful rural character and pastoral landscapes of this 65-mile byway in Pulaski and Wilcox Counties, travelers can observe the small town agricultural heritage still prevalent in this region of the state, and appreciate the efforts these cities and counties have made to maintain the character of their rural lifestyle while allowing a viable future for their residents. To learn more about Enduring Farmlands click on the map below to visit their website.