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Rockdale County, Georgia

From Academic Kids

Image:Map of Georgia highlighting Rockdale County.png

Rockdale County is a county located in the state of Georgia. As of 2000, the population is 70,111. The county's marginal growth is evident with a population of 76,821 according to the 2004 U.S. Census Estimate. The county's county seat is Conyers, Georgia6.

This county is a part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.

Contents

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 342 km² (132 mi²). 338 km² (131 mi²) of it is land and 4 km² (2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.14% water.

Demographics

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 70,111 people, 24,052 households, and 18,880 families residing in the county. The population density is 207/km² (537/mi²). There are 25,082 housing units at an average density of 74/km² (192/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 75.74% White, 18.22% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.91% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 2.53% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. 5.96% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 24,052 households out of which 39.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.60% are married couples living together, 12.40% have a female householder with no husband present, and 21.50% are non-families. 16.90% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.30% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.87 and the average family size is 3.20.

In the county the population is spread out with 27.50% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 9.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 98.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $53,599, and the median income for a family is $60,065. Males have a median income of $41,087 versus $29,189 for females. The per capita income for the county is $22,300. 8.20% of the population and 5.70% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.00% of those under the age of 18 and 7.70% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

History

Rockdale County was created on October 18, 1870, by act of the Georgia General Assembly and received its name from Rockdale Baptist Church (est. 1846), which was named after the granite strata that rests under the county's red clay top soil. A bill introduced by John F. Hardin and John Harris carved Rockdale out of the northern portion of Newton County; parts of Rockdale County also came from neighboring Henry, Walton, Gwinnett, and DeKalb counties. Conyers, Rockdale's only incorporated town and urban center, became the county seat.

Prior to Rockdale becoming a county, the land had been inhabitated by the Creek and Cherokee; the boundary between the two native nations, the Hightower Trail, ran directly through area. Burial remains have been discovered in the Honey Creek and Hi-Roc areas. Whites began migrating to the area in the early 1800s and initial white settlers suffered from Indian raids. Early white settlements developed along Big Haynes Creek in the northern part of the county, the Yellow River in the middle portion of the county, and Honey Creek in the south. Communities formed around grist mills newly formed churches such as Haralson Mill, Costleys Mill, Dial Mill, Zacharys Mill, McElroys Mill, Union Grove Baptist Church, Ebenezer Methodist Church, Philadelphia Methodist Church, Salem Baptist Church, Smyrna Presbyterian Church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Bethel Christian Church, and Honey Creek Baptist Church. Other communities included Magnet and Zingara. These settlers were largely subsistence farmers.

During the American Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman marched the Union army north of Conyers on his way to Covington from Lithonia. The usual seizure and destruction of property accompanied the army's march through the area. Many of the residents of Conyers, fearing Sherman would raze the city, fled to nearby Social Circle in Walton County, since Conyers was an important stop on the Georgia Railroad. Conyers remained unscathed by the war, and the city is a fine example of residential and commercial architecture from the nineteenth century. According to a historical marker on U.S. Highway 278 west of Conyers, Major General Joseph Wheeler of the Confederate army and part of his staff were captured by Union troops pursuing Jefferson Davis on May 9, 1865. Wheeler was later released in Athens only to be recaptured again. He was wounded three times, had his horse shot out from under him sixteen times.

During Reconstruction, Conyers and Rockdale County experienced tremendous growth. According to the local newspaper, The Weekly Farmer, the population of Conyers increased from 300 to 2,000. The number of stores, businesses, schools, and churches of the county rapidly multiplied as well. Parts of the county were infamous for moonshining and the county became dry in 1882, prohibiting the sale and manufacture of liquor except by a licensed pharmacist as prescribed by a physician. The economy of the county was still based primarily on agriculture into the early 1900s.

Famous Rockdale Countians

Tourist Attractions

  • Georgia International Horse Park [1] (http://www.georgiahorsepark.com/)
  • Black Shoals Lake and Covered Bridge
  • Old Towne Conyers Historic District
  • Monastery of the Holy Spirit [2] (http://www.trappist.net/)
  • Smyrna Campground [3] (http://www.smyrnapc.com/history.htm)

Cities and towns

  • Conyers
  • Ebenezer (unincorporated)
  • Honey Creek (unincorporated)
  • Lakeview Estates (unincorporated)
  • Magnet (unincorporated)
  • Milstead (unincorporated)
  • Pleasant Hill (unincorporated)
  • Princeton (unincorporated)
  • Salem (unincorporated)
  • Smyrna (unincorporated)
  • Union Grove (unincorporated)
  • Zingara (unincorporated)

Sources

  • Margaret G. Barksdale, E. L. Cowan, Francis A. King, eds. A History of Rockdale County (Conyers, Ga., 1978).
  • The Heritage of Rockdale County, Georgia (Waynesville, N.C., 1998).

Links

  • Rockdale County Historic Maps [4] (http://www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/gainfo/histcountymaps/rockdalehistmaps.htm)
  • Rockdale County Courthouse [5] (http://www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/gainfo/courthouses/rockdaleCH.htm)
  • The Rockdale Citizen [6] (http://www.rockdalecitizen.com/)
  • The Rockdale Neighbor [7] (http://www.neighbornewspapers.com/rockdale/)
  • Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce [8] (http://www.conyers-rockdale.com/module-pagesetter-viewpub-tid-2-pid-41.html)
  • Conyers Convention and Visitor's Bureau [9] (http://www.conyersga.com/Visiting/CVB.aspx)
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