Pierce County History

The legislation creating Pierce County provided that until a county seat was selected and a courthouse built, county courts would be conducted at the house of Mrs. Nancy Stewart. In 1858, a courthouse was built in Blackshear — but this structure burned in 1875. That same year, a new courthouse was built at the location of the present courthouse. This building was torn down and replaced by the current courthouse in 1902. The building was remodeled in the 1970s, with a rear addition constructed in 1975.

County History: Pierce County was created from Appling and Ware counties on Dec. 18, 1857 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 40). According to that act, the county’s original boundaries were specified as:

Commencing at the south-west corner of the ninth district of Ware, thence the line between the 8th and 9th district to the line of the 4th and 5th district, thence the line between the 4th and 5th to the Appling county line; thence a direct line to Lightsey’s Ford, on Big Creek, in Appling county; thence the creek down to the Little Satilla River; thence down the river to the Wayne county line; thence the Wayne line to the line of Charlton county; thence the line of Charlton to the south-east corner of the 9th district of Ware; thence the district line to the south-west corner of the 9th district.

Georgia’s 120th county was named for Pres. Franklin Pierce (1804-1869), whose term as fourteenth president had ended earlier that year.

Portions of Pierce County were used to create Bacon County (1914) and Brantley County (1920).

County Seat: The legislation creating Pierce County named James Walker, Ransom Thomas, James Harper, Allen Strickland and Netheldred Byrd as commissioners with authority to designated the location of the county seat (which was to be “as near the center of the county as is convenient or practicable”). The commissioners were also empowered to purchase land, lay it out into town lots, sell the lots, and contract for construction of a courthouse. Election of justices of the inferior court and other county offices was scheduled for the first Monday in March 1858. If, by that time, the commissioners had not selected a county seat and performed their other duties, these responsibilities would be assumed by the inferior court. In 1858, either the commissioners or inferior court picked a train depot on the new Atlantic and Gulf Railroad as the county seat. The legislation creating Pierce County had directed that the county seat be designated Blackshear, so the town that grew up around the depot became known as Blackshear. The name honors Gen. David Blackshear (1764-1837), who was involved in the War of 1812 and Creek Indian Wars. On Dec. 16, 1859, the General Assembly incorporated Blackshear (Ga. Laws 1859, p. 134).

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