Rockdale County, Georgia

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Rockdale County, Georgia
Rockdale County Courthouse in Conyers
Map of Georgia highlighting Rockdale County
Location in the U.S. state of Georgia
Map of the United States highlighting Georgia
Georgia's location in the U.S.
Founded October 18, 1870
Seat Conyers
Largest city Conyers
 • Total 132 sq mi (342 km2)
 • Land 130 sq mi (337 km2)
 • Water 2.3 sq mi (6 km2), 1.7%
 • (2010) 85,215
 • Density 657/sq mi (254/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Rockdale County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 85,215.[1] The county seat is Conyers.[2]

Rockdale County is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Rockdale Baptist Church

Rockdale County was created on October 18, 1870[3][4] and received its name from Rockdale Baptist Church (est. 1846), which was named after the granite strata that rests under the county's red clay top soil. A bill introduced by John F. Hardin and John Harris carved Rockdale out of the northern portion of Newton County; parts of Rockdale County also came from neighboring Henry, Walton, Gwinnett, and DeKalb counties. Conyers, Rockdale's only incorporated town and urban center, became the county seat.

Prior to Rockdale becoming a county, the land had been inhabited by the Creek and Cherokee; the boundary between the two native nations, the Hightower Trail, ran directly through area. Burial remains have been discovered in the Honey Creek and Hi-Roc areas. Whites began migrating to the area in the early 19th century and initial white settlers suffered from Indian raids. Early white settlements developed along Big Haynes Creek in the northern part of the county, the Yellow River in the middle portion of the county, and Honey Creek in the south. Communities formed around grist mills newly formed churches such as Haralson Mill, Costleys Mill, Dial Mill, Zacharys Mill, McElroys Mill, Union Grove Baptist Church, Ebenezer Methodist Church, Philadelphia Methodist Church, Salem Baptist Church, Smyrna Presbyterian Church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Bethel Christian Church, Honey Creek Baptist Church, Other communities included Magnet and Zingara. These settlers were largely subsistence farmers.

During the American Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman marched the Union Army north of Conyers on his way to Covington from Lithonia. The usual seizure and destruction of property accompanied the army's march through the area. Many of the residents of Conyers, fearing Sherman would raze the city, fled to nearby Social Circle in Walton County, since Conyers was an important stop on the Georgia Railroad. Conyers remained unscathed by the war, and the city is a fine example of residential and commercial architecture from the 19th century. According to a historical marker on U.S. Highway 278 west of Conyers, Major General Joseph Wheeler of the Confederate States Army and part of his staff were captured by Union troops pursuing Jefferson Davis on May 9, 1865. Wheeler was later released in Athens only to be recaptured again. He was wounded three times, had his horse shot out from under him sixteen times.

During Reconstruction, Conyers and Rockdale County experienced tremendous growth. According to the local newspaper, The Weekly Farmer, the population of Conyers increased from 300 to 2,000. The number of stores, businesses, schools, and churches of the county rapidly multiplied as well. Parts of the county were infamous for moonshining and the county became dry in 1882, prohibiting the sale and manufacture of liquor except by a licensed pharmacist as prescribed by a physician. The economy of the county was still based primarily on agriculture into the early 20th century. The PBS documentary The Lost Children of Rockdale County is about a syphilis outbreak which occurred in the county during the 1990s.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 132 square miles (340 km2), of which 130 square miles (340 km2) is land and 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2) (1.7%) is water.[5] It is the second-smallest county in Georgia by area.

The entirety of Rockdale County is located in the Upper Ocmulgee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin.[6]

Major highways

The county features an interchange of I-20 and SR 20. In order to ease potential motorist confusion, the concurrency of SR 20 & 138 is usually called just "138".

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 6,838
1890 6,813 −0.4%
1900 7,515 10.3%
1910 8,916 18.6%
1920 9,521 6.8%
1930 7,247 −23.9%
1940 7,724 6.6%
1950 8,464 9.6%
1960 10,572 24.9%
1970 18,152 71.7%
1980 36,747 102.4%
1990 54,091 47.2%
2000 70,111 29.6%
2010 85,215 21.5%
Est. 2014 87,754 [7] 3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2013[1]

According to the 2010 U.S Census, the racial makeup of the county was 40.9% White, 45.8% Black, 0.2% American Indian, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.3% Other race, and 1.6% from two or more races. 9.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino.

There were 24,052 households out of which 39.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.60% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.50% were non-families. 16.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.87 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.50% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 9.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $53,599, and the median income for a family was $60,065. Males had a median income of $41,087 versus $29,189 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,300. About 5.70% of families and 8.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.00% of those under age 18 and 7.70% of those age 65 or over.


Notable people




Unincorporated communities

  • Ebenezer
  • Honey Creek
  • Lakeview Estates
  • Magnet
  • Milstead
  • Oak Hill
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Princeton
  • Salem
  • Union Grove
  • Zingara

See also


  • Margaret G. Barksdale, E. L. Cowan, Francis A. King, eds. A History of Rockdale County (Conyers, Ga., 1978).
  • The Heritage of Rockdale County, Georgia (Waynesville, N.C., 1998).


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "History of Rockdale County". Rockdale County. Retrieved June 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Rockdale County". Retrieved June 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission Interactive Mapping Experience". Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Retrieved 2015-11-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • Rockdale County Historic Maps [4]
  • Rockdale County Courthouse [5]
  • The Rockdale Citizen [6]
  • The Rockdale News [7]
  • Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce [8]
  • Conyers Convention and Visitor's Bureau [9]
  • The Lost Children of Rockdale County [10]

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