Rich in history, Washington-Wilkes claims many firsts...

Washington was the first seat of government of the State of Georgia, 1780.
  • In 1777, Wilkes County became the first county in Georgia. Washington is the county seat of Wilkes County.
  • Washington has more historic structures per capita than any other place in Georgia.
  • Wilkes County had the first operating cotton gin in the United State (c.1793).
  • The first successful cotton gin was perfected and set up by Eli Whitney in Wilkes County in 1795.
  • Sarah Porter Hillhouse, the first female newspaper editor in Georgia (and probably the Southeast), lived in Washington. She edited The Moniter, c.1803.
  • The first white female executed in Georgia, Polly Barclay, was hanged on May 13, 1806, just west of Washington's town square, for conspiring to kill her husband.
  • The first Methodist Church in Georgia was established in Washington-Wilkes in 1787.
  • Washington was the home of Baptist minister Reverend Jesse Mercer who wrote many world famous books about the Christian faith and founded Mercer University in Macon, GA.
  • Washington-Wilkes was the birthplace and home of Robert Augustus Toombs who was a State Legislator, U.S. Representative and Senator, the First Secretary of State for the Confederacy, a Brigadier General during the Civil War serving under General Lee. Toombs was the father of the Georgia Constitution of 1877.
  • Washington is the home of the first free public library in the state of Georgia. The Mary Willis Library was built in 1888 and has a beautiful Tiffany stained glass window depicting Mary Willis, William Shakespeare and an unknown figure (possibly the Apostle Peter or Paul). The architect was Edmund George Lind who also designed the Peabody Institute Library, part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, the Milton Chandlier House in Decatur, GA and many other famous buildings in the South.
  • The first stamp mill for gold in the world was invented and put into use near Washington by Jeremiah Griffin, 1831-1832.
  • Some say that Washington has the second-most number of ghosts in Georgia (with Savannah having the most).