Our mission is to strive to maintain our way of life and to provide for our future generations.
Echols County Today
Echols County is located in South Central Georgia right along the Florida line, and was created by the Georgia legislature on December 13, 1858. It is a very rural county with no incorporated towns or cities. Statenville is the county seat where all the governmental offices are located. The present courthouse was built in the mid-1950’s to replace an old wooden two-story courthouse. An older courthouse burned in 1898 so few records are available prior to that date.
The downtown area of Statenville includes two Minute Markets, a hardware store, a car wash, a mini-storage facility and a laundromat. The Echols County Historical Society maintains a Historical Museum a block from the courthouse. The County has an active Volunteer Fire Department with the main Fire House located in Statenville. The County Commissioners have recently added two additional houses in two of the more populated areas of the county: Howell and Wright’s Chapel.
The Alapaha River and US 129 run through the County North to South, and the most densely populated part of the county is west of the Alapaha. Statenville is just east of the river, and situated along US 129 and GA highway 94 which runs east to west through the town. About 2/3 of the county’s area is east of the Alapaha River, and once you leave Statenville is primarily populated with pine trees and palmettos. There are a few families in the ‘flat woods’ but no big numbers where the ‘towns’ used to be.
Well into the 20th century, Echols County was home to lots of small family farms where each grew most of the food needed to support the family. Money crops grown included tobacco, cotton, corn and peanuts. Since a large part of the county was covered with pine trees, pulpwooding and turpentining were also pretty big businesses.
However, in the last 20-30 years, truck farming has become the norm and is carried on primarily by just a few big farmers. Several of these have built their own packing sheds and ship their vegetables, along with some for smaller farmers, out on semis to the rest of the country. There are a few smaller farmers who have developed other ways to sell their vegetables, such as a vegetable delivery route to various stores in the South Georgia-North Florida area. One farmer has established a place on his farm to sell by the piece or pound, another has a vegetable outlet in Valdosta, and still another has his own shelling operation just over the line in Lowndes County.
Most of the big farming operations are located in the western 1/3 of Echols County, but some land is rented all over North Florida and South Georgia. In November of 2005, Echols County was named the “Carrot Capital of the Southeast”, and may have surpassed some other areas of the country by now.– Mamie Pipkins