In colonial times, this county was referred to as St. Matthews Parish, of which Ebenezer was the center. Following the Revolutionary War, the Legislature named Effingham County as one of the original eight counties of Georgia, created by the 1777 Constitution.
When it was established, it was one of the largest of the eight. Since then a number of other counties or portions of counties have been cut out of Effingham County. Out of Effingham have come Bulloch, Screven, Candler, Emanuel, Bryan and Evans counties.
The county is named for Lord Effingham, who prior to the Revolutionary War, served as a colonel in the British Army. When the conflict began and he was asked to take arms against the colonists, as a strong believer in colonial rights, he refused to do so.
In 1784, Tuckasee King was selected county seat of Effingham and remained so for about 10 years. The next location of the center of county government was Elbertson, a settlement on the Ogeechee River.
In 1796, the Legislature of Georgia appointed a commission of five Effingham County citizens to name and locate a site within five miles of the center of the county. On the commission were: Jeremiah Cuyler, John G. Neidlinger, Jonathan Rahn, Elias Hodges and John Martin Dasher. They designated the site and named it Springfield and it remains the same today.
In 1900, the population of Effingham County was 8,334. That year the populations of the various towns were as follows: Tusculum 50, Stillwell 110, Springfield 107, Guyton 500, Clyo 160, Rincon 91, Marlow 150, Pineora 46 and Egypt 250.
In 1907, the rail service came to Springfield with the building of the Brinson Railroad from Savannah to Springfield. Up until this time, Springfield consisted of just a few homes. From the beginning of the railroad, the city sprang to life with homes and businesses quickly established.
Families with names such as Brinson, Hodge, Gnann, Berry, Reiser, Rahn, Howard, Hinely, NeSmith, Mingledorff and Seckinger made their homes in Springfield.
Springfield is still the county seat and boasts of a fairly new judicial center across from the former courthouse near the end of North Pine Street.
Business is still carried on in the city of Springfield. The former courthouse has been refurbished and houses many offices of the county. It is a pleasant place to live just as it was in the early days with friendly people working for the good of the community. The success of the reopening of the Mars Theatre has proven that working together in Effingham good things can still be accomplished.
Information previously published from the Effingham Herald was used in this article. This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you need more information, contact Exley at 754-6681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.