Introduction to the Troup County Court Records
Troup County Archives
Presented online by the Digital Library of Georgia
Despite several courthouse relocations, a devastating fire in 1936, and many
years of cramped storage conditions, the records of Troup County are still
largely extant and date back to the origins of the county in 1826. Following the
Indian Springs Treaty of February 12, 1825, Creek Indians ceded lands held in
West Georgia. The State surveyed the land and began disbursal. The Georgia Land
Lottery of 1827 dealt out whole lots of 202.5 acres to eligible citizens. Under
an act of the Georgia General Assembly dated December 11, 1826, the former
Indian Territory was organized into several counties, one being Troup.
Historical records held by the Troup County Archives reflect the fortunes of
Troup County and its various communities. Records of the years 1827-1845, the
period of the initial settlement and development, mirror the tumult and
determination of the pioneers who established new farms, villages and towns in
this section of the Chattahoochee Valley. Civil and criminal cases of the
Superior Court, in particular the land fraud suits, contain extensive personal
data regarding early Troup County residents and their endeavors.
By the middle of the 19th century, Southern gentility had softened the "rough
edge" of frontier life in Troup County. The decade preceding the Civil War
witnessed continued economic growth and stability. Successful agricultural
undertakings, the coming of railroads and factories, growing population centers,
the building of fine ante-bellum mansions, and the early development of downtown
business centers all marked the demise of frontier life in West Georgia.
The Civil War exerted a heavy personal and fiscal burden on the county though
most citizens strongly supported the war effort. Historical records reveal that
throughout the conflict, local political and civic leaders praised the people
for their thrift, morality, and loyal sacrifice to the Southern cause.
A period of recovery and transformation followed the war and extended until
almost 1880. Although the region had been spared from widespread physical
destruction during the war, the aftermath altered the fabric of Troup County
society. The general chaos and near anarchy that followed emancipation, coupled
with acute economic problems, threatened the well-being of the county. Troup
County inhabitants accepted the challenges of these adverse conditions and, by
the late 1870s, a strong and vibrant economy once again flourished.
Since the last decades of the 19th century, Troup County has served as a
manufacturing center of West Georgia. Economic expansion and diversification are
an integral part of today's society. Accepting challenges and change is as
critical to the county's continuing prosperity as it has been since 1827.
Similarly, county records remain an inherent part of the society. Like all other
aspects of life, the records have expanded and changed with the times. Still,
there are many common threads between the old records and the new. Although
court and governmental terms and laws have changed, the essence of the records
remains the same.
Throughout the ante-bellum period, the Superior and Inferior Courts served as
the main governing and political bodies of the county. Superior Court functioned
as the major legal institution for the area handling a heavy caseload of civil
and criminal cases. Among other duties, the Court naturalized aliens, granted
charters, approved dowers and admitted lawyers to the bar. Similarly, Inferior
Court worked as a court of justice, hearing minor civil suits and misdemeanor
criminal cases until 1866; as a court of ordinary (probate court) until 1852;
and also as a body of county commissioners until 1876. The various judicial
embodiments of the Inferior Court after 1866, i.e., County, Justice, District,
City, Civil and Criminal, and eventually State Court are also represented in
this collection. Unfortunately, City of LaGrange records and County
Commissioners' records are scant for the 19th century. Bound minute books
provide valuable information for City Council from 1871 to present and for the
County Commissioners from 1890 to present.
The great variety of civil and criminal court actions and civic activities
documented by these records furnish insight into unique historical and societal
events and issues taking place in this area of West Georgia in the 19th and 20th
Centuries. The same records also illuminate the shared aspects of problems,
solutions and aspirations that transcend historical epochs or geographic
divisions. These personal and historical insights can be readily discovered in
the documents housed at the Troup County Archives.
Troup County Archives
136 Main Street
LaGrange, GA 30241