The county site, which by the Act creating the county, was to be called Polk, was finally located on lot of land No. 420, in the 12th land district. A part of this lot was deeded to the county to build the county site on. The name "Polk" was first given it, in memory of President James K. Polk, but by an act of the Legislature assented to January 15th, 1852, the name of the county site was changed to Magnolia. It has since borne this name. Magnolia was incorporated by an act of the legislature approved February 20th, 1854. The corporate limits embraced eighty acres and the town was to be governed by five commissioners.

The first court-house was not built at Magnolia until the winter of the year 1852. The contract last let by the Inferior Court to John and Elias Moore, who built it. The building was quite a small one but amply met the demands of that day. It was destroyed by fire in 1856. It was replaced by another building which was subsequently removed to Homerville.

The town of Magnolia was never more than a small village. It was laid out on land which was drained on either side by small ponds and branches. It was situated as near the center of the county as practicable. There was a main street running through the town, east and west, and public buildings were situated on the north side of the main street. The main street today is a large lane running through and which divides fields. The fields are not cultivated with the exception of an acre or two by negro tenants. Connecting with the main street on the west was a stage road which ran by where DuPont now is, and connected with the stage road which ran from Troupville through the northern part of the county to Waresboro. The stage coaches in that day carried the mails and were as much a necessity then as the mail and passenger trains are today.

Among the first settlers at Magnolia were John L. Morgan, who moved there in 1853; also David O'Quin, Reubin Y. Stanford and Robert F. White. The last three owned and operated stores there for a few years. The following citizens served as justices of the peace for the district in which Magnolia was located, during the several years following the creation of the new county; these citizens lived in or near Magnolia:
Elliott Chancy,
Jesse Smith,
Aaron D. Dyals,
Henry E. Peacock,
Elias Williams,
Levi W. Carter,
Abraham Strickland,
Joseph J. Cohen.

Robert F. White, mentioned above, was more familiarly known to his friends as "Bob" White, and occupied a two-story log house for his store and home. He was a justice of the Inferior Court of Clinch County three years.

A narrative is related which brings to mind Mr. White having a store at Magnolia. In 1855 William M. Nichols who was then a young man, was a candidate for state senator from Clinch County, and General David Johnson, of Indian war fame, who was very popular, was his opponent. The race between them was very hot and there was much speculation as to who would be elected. Mr. White was a Nichols supporter, while Mr. David O'Quin who also ran a store, was a Johnson supporter. The stores of each one was made the headquarters for the respective adherents of the candidates. There was some strife which took place before the election. It took about two days after the election for all the returns to be received from the different parts of the county. When the vote was consolidated, it was found that young Nichols had defeated General Johnson by four votes. Great was the chagrin of the old fighter when he learned of his defeat, while joy of course pervaded the Nichols party. General Johnson was then about 52 years old, while Mr. Nichols was barely 21.

The first Masonic Lodge in the county was established at Magnolia about 1855. When the county site was removed to Homerville the lodge was also removed, and the lodge today is known as Cassia Lodge No. 224 F. & A. M. The first worshipful master of the lodge at Magnolia was Hon. John L. Morgan, for many years Ordinary of Clinch County. Other charter members were David O'Quin, George W. Newbern, Jesse Smith, Shimuel Timmerman and Reubin Y. Stanford. The major portion of the records of the lodge was burned up with the burning of DuBignon Institute at Homerville in 1909. The lodge's home was then in the third story of the Institute.

The court-house at Magnolia was destroyed in 1856. The cause of the fire was always thought to be incendiary, although no arrests were made. It seemed that a certain party, dissatisfied with some legal proceedings against him, determined to destroy the court-house in the hope that justice would be thwarted. The records for the previous six years were destroyed, entailing a very severe loss on the county both financially and in the value of the records.

Source: History of Clinch County Georgia, Compiled and Edited by Folks Huxford, The J. W. Burke Company, Macon, Georgia, 1916


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