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Georgia Deed History

The British Colony of Georgia was granted to the British General James Oglethorpe in 1732. As the last of the original thirteen colonies, Georgia was first established in 1732 as a trustee colony and was governed by a board of trustees until 1752. In 1752, a deed of reconveyance for the Colony of Georgia was issued to the crown after the government failed to renew subsidies to help support the colony. On January 2, 1788, Georgia was officially part of the United States when it was the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. After seceding from the Union in 1861 during the Civil War to join the Confederate States, Georgia was the last state to be admitted back to the Union on July 15, 1850.

Georgia is divided into 159 counties, second in number to Texas. One reason that accounts for the large number of counties in Georgia is that, because of the size of the counties, farmers and ranchers were able to travel to the county seat and back in one day on horseback or wagon. From 1732-1758, the civil jurisdictions in Georgia were districts and towns. In 1758, the Province of Georgia was divided into eight parishes, with four more being added in 1765. It wasn’t until 1777 that the original eight counties of the State of Georgia were created. The original eight counties are Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond, and Wilkes. The most populous county in the state is Fulton, which was created in 1853.

James Oglethorpe arrived in Georgia near the present-day site of Savannah in 1733 with the intent to form a colony for the resettlement of debtors. Oglethorpe had studied prison reform in England and found debtors prisons to be particularly lacking, which he viewed as one of the major problems of urbanization. As a result, the Oglethorpe Plan included many stipulations based on perpetuating a family farm-based economy. For instance, land ownership was limited to 50 acres, and grants included a town lot, a garden plot near town, and a forty-five acre farm. A self-supporting colonist could obtain a larger grant, but such grants were still structured in 50 acre increments. Larger grants of land depended on the number of indentured servants supported by the grantee. Indentured servants would receive a land grant after completing their service. No additional land could be acquired through purchase or inheritance. Downtown Savannah, Georgia has maintained some remnants of Oglethorpe’s plan, which is evident in the design and layout of the city.

The position of the Clerk of the Superior Court—the official responsible for recording land records—was created in Georgia in 1798.