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Clay County

Clay County is named for Henry Clay, who was an American statesman, U.S. Senator and Congressman from Kentucky 1806-1852, U.S. Secretary of State 1825-1829, three times Speaker of the House and three times candidate for president.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Quitman County

E – Randolph County and Calhoun County

S – Early County

W – Henry County. Alabama 


Created:  February 16, 1854                  Map of Georgia highlighting Clay County

County Seat: 

Fort Gaines  1854 – present


County Courthouse – Fort Gaines 


Location:  210 Washington Street South / Hartford Road

Built:  1871 – 1873

Style:  Italianate Renaissance Revival and Neo-Classical Revival

Architect:  Unknown

Contractor:  Unknown


Description:  The building faces west and is a two story white colored brick and wood frame structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Fort Gaines. The building has the appearance of an antebellum plantation house. The west front has a small portico with balcony on the second story and supported by two brick pillars. The roof is hipped. In the interior, the main entry is a double doorway with square transom and side lights, opening into a hallway passing straight through the building. The floors are pine and there is a single staircase at the rear. The double staircase at the entrance ascends to the County Superior Court courtroom is located at the center of the second story. There is a modest judge’s bench in the eastern end and is a narrow counter rather than the usual desk. Directly in front is the witness box which is enclosed by a separate railing. Although now heated by gas space heaters, four fireplaces remain in the room with mantels intact. The seven spectator benches on each side of the single aisle have only fleur-de-lis end posts relieving their plainness. The building houses the County Superior Court, County Juvenile Court, County Probate Court and County Magistrate Court of the 2nd Judicial District. The building was renovated in 1939 by the Works Project Administration. On the east side behind the building is the old County Jail which houses the Sheriff’s Office. 


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Clay County Courthouse


See:  The 2nd Judicial District includes Atkinson CountyBaker CountyBerrien CountyBrooks County. Calhoun CountyClinch CountyColquitt CountyCook CountyDecatur CountyDougherty CountyEarly County, Echols CountyGrady CountyIrwin CountyLanier County, Lowndes County, Miller CountyMitchell County, Quitman CountyRandolph CountySeminole CountyTerrell CountyThomas CountyTift CountyTurner County and Worth County 


History:  The county was created in 1854 and Fort Gaines was selected as the county seat. The courthouse is the first and only courthouse erected in the county. The building is the oldest courthouse still in use in Georgia. The County minutes in Book B refer to the building of the courthouse on pages 195, 298, 335, 380 and 381, however, there is no mention of the names of the laborers working on the construction which took several years to complete.



County Courthouse – Fort Gaines



















County Superior Court courtroom

















County Minutes – Book B





Old Jail and Sheriff Residence



Photos taken 2009 and 2020