First in the name of George Washington
Wilkes County was the first county in Georgia and was formed under the Georgia Constitution of 1777. It was named for British Parliamentarian and American Independence supporter John Wilkes. In 1780, Washington was incorporated and became the first chartered city in the United States to be named for George Washington.
Washington-Wilkes played a major role in Georgia's history and in the nation's as well. The Revolutionary battle of Kettle Creek was fought in Wilkes County on February 14, 1779. This battle was responsible for driving the British out of northeast Georgia and is the only battle in Georgia won by the patriots.
On May 4, 1865, Washington hosted the last meeting of the cabinet officers of the Confederacy. It took place in the old Bank of Georgia building-- also known as the Heard House--and was attended by Jefferson Davis. Jefferson Davis' family was from the Washington area and his wife was staying in Washington. General Robert E. Lee had already surrendered at Appomattox, and during his attempted flight to Texas, Davis came to Washington to pick up his wife in Washington. Washington was also the last place that the infamous Confederate gold was tracked... and never found.
Washington is well-known for beautiful homes and buildings as well as its charming town square. Several sites in Washington are on the National Register of Historic Places including the Wilkes County Courthouse, the Robert Toombs State Historic Site and the Mary Willis Library , known for its Victorian architecture and original Tiffany stained glass windows and for being the first free public library in the state. Other fascinating sites include the Washington-Wilkes Historical Museum and Callaway Plantation.
The County's largest industry is (and always has been) agriculture, but manufacturing and tourism are also important parts of the local economy.
Wilkes County's population is over 10,600 and Washington's is over 4,000 according to the most recent census.