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Hart County was created by an Act

of Legislature, dated December 7, 1853

from territory taken from Elbert and

Franklin Counties. The new county was

named for Nancy Morgan Hart, one of

the most patriotic women of Georgia.

After the new county was created,

there was an election held on Monday,

February 6, 1854. The election was to

vote for the county officers. The first

Hart County government included five

justices and a Clerk of the Inferior

Court, an Ordinary, Clerk of Superior

Court, Sheriff, Tax Receiver and Col-

lector, Surveyor and Coroner. The last

names of the Justices were, Chandler,

Carter, Webb, Johnson and Richardson.

Streets in Hartwell are named for them.

Herschel V. Johnson, Governor of Geor-

gia, commissioned these officers.

The honorable William Myers was the

first sheriff of Hart County, resigning

before the expiration of his term to be

elected Representative to the General

Assembly of Georgia.

Hart County has had four jails. The

first was built in 1855. It was a wooden

weather boarded two-story building, lo-

cated on Lot No. 6, in the original plan

of the town of Hartwell. It was destroyed

by fire prior to 1866. The second jail

was built on the same site of the first.

It was constructed of large hewed logs,

with an outer and an inner wall, filled

with rock. It was a one-story building.

It stood until 1877 when a new jail was

built, being the third jail built for the

Nancy Hart Visits The Old Jail

county. The old lot was sold.

The third jail was built on Lot No. 2,

located at S W. corner of Franklin and

Carter Streets. It was a two-story build-

ing of brick and wood, and was consid-

ered safe and to fill all requirements

of a jail. On January 30, 1893, this jail

was destroyed by fire. Two prisoners

were trying to burn a hole in the wall to

make their escape.

The fourth jail was located at the

N. E. corner of Johnson and Jackson

streets on Lot No. 89. On May 20, 1893

a contract was approved to build a brick

structure. A few years later an annex

was added and a wooden building was

erected to be used for a kitchen.

This jail was considered the best in

the country, safe and secure, and mod-

ern. The total cost was $10,270.00.

It is a Romanesque Revival-style

building containing two stories and a

basement. A three-story tower projects

on the center of the front facade. The

first floor housed the sheriff’s residence

and the basement housed the prison-

ers. The sheriff’s office was located in

the courthouse.

Stewart V. Bowers was sheriff from

1949-1952. His daughter, Dixie Lewis

recalls living in the jail and her mother

cooking for the prisoners.

Larry Sanders was sheriff from 1976-

1988. His family was the last family

that resided in the old jail. His son, Tim

Sanders remembers living in the jail.

He proposed to his wife, Dona Feltman

Sanders in November 1986 on these

historical steps.

A new jail was constructed behind the

old one in 1992, The Hart County Dis-

trict Attorney’s office was located in the

old jail until they moved to Cade Street

in 2015.


Nancy Hart, Dona Feltman-Sanders and Tim Sanders on the steps of the old jail building, where

Tim proposed to Dona in 1986.