Jackson County Courthouse, 1879, Jefferson

Designed in the Italianate style, the old Jackson County Courthouse was modified to its present appearance by the addition of the portico and Neoclassical clock tower in 1908. Sitting on a high point visible over much of downtown Jefferson, it occupies a commanding position in the identity of the place. Though a modern courthouse just outside town replaced it in 2004, it now houses the Welcome Center and Historical Archives.

It should be noted that Jackson County is named for James Jackson (1757-1806), the “colossus” of 18th century Georgia politics. Born in England, he was sent to read law in Savannah in 1772. During his studies, the American Revolution intervened and Jackson distinguished himself in the unsuccessful defense of Savannah (1778), the Battle of Cowpens (1781), and the recoveries of Augusta (1781) and Savannah (1782).

He was elected to the First Congress where he was a prominent opponent of Federalism. This aligned him with the growing Jeffersonian faction. In his 1791 bid for re-election, he was defeated by his former commander Anthony Wayne in a race marked by voter fraud. After being elected to the state legislature, Jackson influenced the removal of Wayne’s campaign manager from a state judgeship.

By 1793, he was serving in the U. S. Senate but resigned in 1795 to return to the state legislature to help oversee the dissolution of the Yazoo Act, a land fraud perpetrated with the approval of Governor George Matthews. After being elected Governor in 1798, Jackson made sure anti-Yazoo language was included in the Constitution of 1799. His exposure of the Federalist involvement in the Yazoo fraud helped drive Georgia’s support for Jefferson. When his term as governor ended in 1801, he was again elected to the United States Senate, where he served until his death in 1806,

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Jefferson GA

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