Churches of Sumter County
Click thumbnail above to go to church page with additional photos and history
Sumter County was established in 1831, just four years after the Creek Indians vacated the region when the state acquired the territory from them in the 1824 Treaty of Indian Springs. Sumter, the state’s 80th county, was created entirely from Lee County now situated to the south. The county was named for General Thomas Sumter of South Carolina. At the time of the county’s creation, the general was 97 years old and the last surviving general of the American Revolution.
Many of the county’s earliest white residents acquired their land through an 1827 land lottery and, like many of those moving into southwest Georgia at the time, quickly turned their property into cotton farms and plantations. The rich black soil combined with ready market access via the Flint River on the east and the Chattahoochee River on the west, made Sumter among the state’s most prosperous black belt counties by the 1840’s . Slaves, of course, were integral to that formula for economic success and Sumter residents owned nearly 4,000 of them by 1850.
The Civil War brought one of Georgia’s most notable and notorious landmarks to the area, when a small village named Andersonville, nine miles north of Americus on the county’s northern edge, was selected by Confederate authorities as the site for a prisoner of war camp. The Andersonville prison was built in neighboring Macon County and became the largest such prison in the South. During the camp’s fourteen-month existence, some 45,000 Union prisoners suffered some of the worst conditions and highest casualties of any of the camps. Today Andersonville National Historic Site serves as a memorial to all American prisoners of war throughout the nation’s history. The 495-acre park lies in both Macon and Sumter counties and consists of the historic prison site and the National Cemetery.