The Town That Time Forgot
Jones County welcomes tourists to a diverse community that has something for everyone interested in the history of the Old South, beginning with a working cotton plantation in Clinton, one of the nation’s first industrial cities. Civil War buffs do not want to miss the Griswoldville Battlefield, and our scenic county has much to offer nature lovers, who can walk along nature trails at the Hitchiti Experimental Forest and the National Piedmont Wildlife Refuge, home of the rare Red-Cockaded Woodpecker.
Once a bustling town on Georgia’s western frontier and the county seat, Clinton today is a quiet, rural village. After the Creek cession in 1805 and the formation of Jones County in 1807, the town of Clinton was settled in 1808 and incorporated in 1809. After the Civil War, Clinton steadily declined and the little town of Gray grew around the railroad two miles from Clinton. The Old Clinton Historic District is architecturally significant for its collection of early 19th century homes and public buildings now on the National Register of Historic Places.
In May, the Old Clinton Historical Society, with the 16th Ga. Company “G” and Jack-son Rifles presents its annual “Old Clinton War Days,” when battles which were fought in and around Clinton are re-enacted. Re-enactors wear authentic uniforms and use authentic weapons. Confederate and Union cannons rattle the windows of Clinton houses once again.
The Jarrell Plantation, located off Highway 18 in Jones County, is a cotton plantation owned by a single family for more than 140 years. This working farm includes a sawmill, cotton gin, gristmill, shingle mill, planer, sugar cane press, syrup evaporator, barn and outbuildings. It was donated to the state of Georgia in 1974 by descendants of the family to establish the Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site. You won’t want to miss stepping back in time and experiencing this true antebellum farm. Jarrell Plantation is open Thursday – Saturday.
Only a half mile from the Jarrell Plantation, Hitchiti Nature Trail offers several hiking trails, including a four-mile loop that follows Little Falling Creek to the Ocmulgee River.
Griswoldville, once home to a Confederate pistol factory, is dotted with historical markers describing the Battle of Griswoldville. In addition, Griswoldville was located on the railway linking Macon to Savannah. Because of this, it became a prime target in 1864 as the Union Army moved into Georgia. On 20 November that year, the town and the factories in it were burned as part of Sherman’s March to the Sea. Days later, the Battle of Griswoldville took place in the area. The town of Griswoldville was not rebuilt. The battlefield has been preserved and is well marked. Farms and a few residents mark the town, once home to 500 people.