C I T Y H I S T O R Y
The history of Schley County is redolent with time honored memories. At the close of the Revolutionary War, July 4, 1776, this county was a vast wilderness where Indians roamed almost uncivilized, subsisting on wild games, potatoes and corn which were cultivated in small patches. At that time there were many Creek, a few Seminole and Cherokee Indians living here.
In 1808, several families moved into this section from the Carolinas. These Red men were kind to the new settlers and helped them clear the land, cultivated the soil and build homes. They settled on a line near where the cemetery is now located, and which was then almost entirely surrounded by ponds.
Within less than a mile from where the county court now stands, a village sprang up about 1812, called Pond Town. This became a relay station for the stage coach line which ran by Hamburg, Pond Town and Preston. It crossed Flint River at Traveler’s Rest, a few miles below Oglethorpe. From Pond Town to Tallahassee, Florida, there was an Indian trail much used by Indians. This highway was known as the Hawthorne trail.
On December 22, 1857, the General assembly of the State of Georgia passed, in Milledgeville, an act to layout and form a new county out of the counties of Marion and Sumter, to be named Schley, for William Schley, a jurist of the distinction, and governor of Georgia from 1835 to 1839. Its location is southwest-central. General features: hilly, interspersed with level plateau. The soil is very fertile all over the county, but varies in color, some places being red clay, some dark brown, very sticky in wet weather, some pebbly, some sandy, underlaid with clay subsoil. Schley County contains approximately 154 square miles and 98,560 acres.
Now that the county of Schley was organized, the next consideration was a county seat. As on most questions of this and other days, the sentiment of the people as to where the county seat should be located was divided.
A central party arose declaring that the county seat should be located in the center of the county, while others thought it should be near the only settlement in the county, Pond Town. The matter was amicably adjusted when Robert Burton sold one hundred and fifty acres of land to the county for $1500.00. Records at the Courthouse show that Mr. Burton did not contribute the land to the county, as has been so erroneously stated. The boundaries of the county site included Pond Town. The new town was laid off in the early spring of 1858. As a compliment to Miss Ella Burton, eldest daughter of Robert Burton, a leading citizen of this section, the town was named Ellaville.