Toombs History

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History of Toombs County
This history is presented with grateful appreciation to the Carl Vincent Institute of Government, University of Georgia. Click here for more information.
Historical marker photo by Ed Jackson, UGA
Historical Marker
Toombs County was created by Act of Aug. 18, 1905 from Emanuel, Montgomery and Tattnall. It was named for Gen. Robert Augustus Toombs (1810-1885), of Wilkes County, Congressman and Senator. One of the chief organizers of the Confederate government, he was Secretary of State and Brigadier  General  Bitterly opposed to Reconstruction, he never took the oath of allegiance after the war. First County Officers, commissioned October 9, 1905, were: R. F. Scarboro, Sheriff; D. T. Gibbs, Clerk of Superior Court; R. J. Partin, Tax Receiver; O. V. Sharpe, Tax Collector: B. H. Grace, Surveyor; M. D. Cowart, Coroner; John H. Clifton, Ordinary; F. A. Thompson, Treasurer.
More on Toombs, Robert Augustus 'Bob' (1810-1885) of Washington, Ga. Born in Wilkes County, Ga., July 2, 1810. Member of Georgia state house of representatives, 1837-43; U.S. Representative from Georgia 8th District, 1845-53; U.S. Senator from Georgia, 1853-61; delegate to Georgia secession convention, 1861; Delegate from Georgia to the Confederate Provisional Congress, 1861-62; Confederate Secretary of State, 1861; general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. One of the greatest orators of his time. Died in Washington, Ga., December 15, 1885. Interment at Rest Haven Cemetery, Washington, Ga.

Toombs County
The law creating Toombs County provided that Lyons be the county seat. The town was settled in the 1880s or 1890s and became a railroad stop on the Central of Georgia line connecting Albany with Savannah. The town was named for a Mr. Lyons, who reportedly was instrumental in getting the railroad built through the town. Lyons was incorporated by an act of the legislature approved Dec. 9, 1897 (Note: The city limit markers show 1891, but an unincorporated town could have been known by that name years before the legislature gave them a Charter).
Photo of Toombs County Courthouse courtesy of Gary Doster.
Toombs County Courthouse built in 1906

Toombs County's first courthouse was the brick structure shown above and was built in 1906. The building was damaged by fire in 1919 (most of the records were saved) and rebuilt without the dome. (See below)

Toombs County Courthouse re built in 1919

This beautiful building was torn down In the 60's after the federal government made funds available for counties to build new courthouses. In total disregard for historic preservation of irreplaceable buildings, the decision was made in many Georgia counties, including Toombs, to destroy the original historic courthouses and build a new structure on the same site.

Toombs County Courthouse built in 1964

The above building is the current Toombs County courthouse located in Lyons, Georgia at the intersection of US Hwy 280 and Victory Drive.

Map of Toombs County in 1910

The above map shows Toombs County as it appeared five years after its formation. Note that many towns depicted on this map no longer exist.
Hudgins' Map of Georgia, 1915
Map of Toombs County in 1915

Note that the country boundaries in the above map are somewhat different from the 1910 map. In particular, the northeast tip is diminished. Part of this problem can be attributed to the quality of map making for the time. One distinguishing feature of the above map is the lack of roads. The railroad was the primary means of long distance transportation.

U.S. Geological Survey Georgia Base Map with Roads and Contours, 1970
Map of Toombs County in 1970

Toombs County today is not substantively different from the way it appeared in the last year LHS operated. The population of Toombs County was 19,151 in 1970. It was 25,990 in 1999.