The 1793 act creating Montgomery County provided the court sessions be
held at the residence of William Neal until a courthouse and jail could be
erected. A 1797 act provided that the courthouse, jail, and other county
business be held at the plantation of Arthur Lott. How long Lott's
plantation home served as courthouse is not known. In 1813, the legislature
designated Mt. Vernon as county seat, and at some point a courthouse was
built. Likely, it was a small frame building, for in 1836 the legislature
authorized the clerks of superior and inferior court to keep their offices
at any place within one mile of the courthouse. In 1838, the legislature
authorized the inferior court to levy a special tax to build a jail and
repair the courthouse. Presumably, several courthouses were constructed
during the 19th century. Montgomery County's current courthouse was
completed in 1907 and substantially rehabilitated in 1991-92.
Montgomery County was created from Washington County by an act of the
General Assembly approved Dec. 19, 1793 (Ga. Laws 1793, p. 10). Georgia's
20th county was named for Continental Army general
(1736-1775), who was mortally wounded on Dec. 31, 1775 at the
Battle of Quebec
during the early stages of the American Revolution.
Portions of Montgomery County were used to create the following counties:
Tattnall (1801), Emanuel (1812), Dodge (1870), Toombs (1905), Wheeler
(1912), and Treutlen (1918).
County Seat: The 1793
act creating Montgomery County did not designate a county seat but provided
that court sessions be held at the residence of William Neal until a
courthouse and jail could be erected. An act of Feb. 8, 1797 provided that
the courthouse, jail, and other county business be held at the plantation of
Arthur Lott, which was designated the county seat of Montgomery County (Ga.
Laws 1797, p. 33).
In 1813, the General Assembly designated the settlement of Mount Vernon
as county seat (Ga. Laws 1813, p. 44). Later, a number of Montgomery County
residents sought to have the location of the county seat changed. In
response, the 1857 legislature passed an act directing:
"That the Justices of the Inferior Court of Montgomery county, or a
majority of them, are hereby required, by giving due notice at least
twenty days before said election, to have opened at the Court House and
several precincts in said county, a poll or election, to ascertain whether
a majority of said voters desire the removal of the county site from Mount
Vernon, the voters endorsing on their tickets removal, or no removal.
"That should a majority of said voters vote removal, then the Justices
of the Inferior Court, or a majority of them, shall procure some suitable
place as near the centre of said county as practicable, where at least ten
acres of land can be obtained on the best terms, for the location of the
county site, and shall cause the same to be laid off in town lots, and
sold at public outcry, on the ground, to the highest bidders, after having
first given at least sixty days notice of said sale in two or more of the
public gazettes of this State, retaining at least two acres for public
use, and after the sale of said lots the Justices of the Inferior Court
shall provide for the erection of public buildings in such manner as they,
or a majority of them, shall think proper" (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 259).
Whether a referendum to move the county seat actually was held is not
known, but if it was, voters turned it down. Mount Vernon is presumed to
have been named for the Virginia plantation home of George Washington. The
date of its initial settlement is not known, but Mount Vernon was
incorporated by the legislature on Aug. 26, 1872 (Ga. Laws 1872, p. 241).