Historic Markers Across Georgia

The City of Cuthbert and Early Randolph County

Marker ID:  
Location: 51 Court Street, Cuthbert, GA
County: Randolph
Coordinates: N 31° 46.366    W 084° 47.371
  31.77276666    -84.78951666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


The City of Cuthbert and Early Randolph County
—Creek Heritage Trail —

Early Randolph County
The area that is now Randolph County lies within the vast territory in Georgia and Alabama once claimed by the Creeks. In the late 1700s and early 1800s several small Creek towns were scattered throughout the area, with the nearby town of Oketeyoconne perhaps being the largest. Several smaller settlements, believed to have been affiliated with the larger nearby Creek town Eufaula, lay in the western portion of the county.

Randolph County traces its origins to the creation of Lee County in 1826 following the cession of much of western Georgia by the Creeks. Randolph was created from the Western portion of Lee in 1828 and named for planter and politician John Randolph of Virginia. From the original limits of Randolph County would eventually be carved Quitman, Stuart, Webster and parts of Clay and Terrell counties. While there were isolated missionary outposts in the area as early as 1823, the majority of the first American settlers were residents of eastern Georgia who acquired property in Randolph County through the land lottery of 1827. Under this system of land distribution former Creek lands in this area were awarded to qualifying citizens through a lottery based on chance. The number of entries each person received was based on family size, military service and a variety of other factors.

City of Cuthbert
The state of Georgia created Stewart County in 1830, the new town of Cuthbert was planned as centrally-located seat of government for Randolph County. Surveyors laid the town out in 1831 with limits that reached out a circular half-mile from the lot set aside for the courthouse (in the center of the modern town square). The first courthouse was constructed there in the 1830s, and a second in the early 1840s on the same location. Log structures predominated in early Cuthbert, and the first frame buildings did not appear until the late 1830s. The town officially incorporated in 1834 and by 1856 had a population of about 2,000. The city of Cuthbert is named in honor of noted Georgia politician and Judge John A. Cuthbert. Born in Savannah, Cuthbert served several terms in the Georgia Legislature and one term in the United States Congress before a career as a judge in Alabama.

Crossroads Community
Cuthbert has long touted itself as a “crossroads community” due to its location at the intersection of two major US Highways (Hwy. 27 and Hwy. 82) and two major rail lines, but the area’s strategic importance actually predates the town's founding. As an early transportation route through this area of particular historical importance was the “Seminole War Path” connecting Fort Perry on the Old Federal Road and Fort Gaines on the Chattahoochee River. Opened in 1818 at the outbreak of the First Seminole War by American militia, troops traveled along it as they made their way to the scene of fighting in southern Georgia and Northern Florida. By the 1850s, Cuthbert had become an important crossing spot for numerous regional roads.

Photo captions
Top left map This section of an 1818 map of Georgia by Eleazer Early shows what is now Randolph County as Creek domain.
Bottom left map Boundaries of the original Lee County, Georgia.
Middle left Depiction of drawings in the Georgia land library, by George I. Parrish, Jr.
John Randolph namesake of Randolph County
Right middle The Rumph House, built ca. 1838 (now demolished) is believed to be the first frame building constructed in Cuthbert.
Top right map This 1833 map of Georgia by Henry Tanner is among the first to show the new city of Cuthbert.
Bottom right map 1859 map of Georgia by Samuel August Mitchell, showing the network of roads converging at Cuthbert

Erected 2015 by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the Randolph County Historical Society.

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org