Hancock County, Georgia
Hancock County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,429. The county seat is Sparta. The county was created on December 17, 1793 and named for John Hancock.
Hancock County Courthouse in Sparta
Location within the U.S. state of Georgia
Georgia's location within the U.S.
|Founded||December 17, 1793|
|Named for||John Hancock|
|• Total||479 sq mi (1,240 km2)|
|• Land||472 sq mi (1,220 km2)|
|• Water||6.8 sq mi (18 km2) 1.4%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||20/sq mi (8/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Before the Civil War, Hancock County's economy was based on growing cotton, and labor was done by slaves. This area is classified as part of the Black Belt of the United States, due to its fertile soil and association with the slave society. Slaves made up 61% of the total county population in the 1850 Census. Unusually for such a plantation-dominated society, the county's representatives at the Georgia Secession Convention, overwhelmingly white and Democratic, voted against secession in 1861.
The secession conventions were dominated by men who voted for separation, and Georgia soon seceded and entered the war.
According to the 2010 census estimate, the racial makeup of the county seat of Sparta was 84% African American, 15% White, 0.50% from two or more races, 0.30% Asian, and 0.10% Native American. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.70% of the population. Most African Americans support the Democratic Party and whites support the Republican Party.
In August 2015, the majority-white Hancock County Board of Elections initiated an effort to purge African-American voters from the rolls. They directed deputy sheriffs to the homes of more than 180 African Americans residing in the county seat of Sparta (these constituted some 20% of the city's total registered voters) to inform them they would lose their voting rights unless they appeared in court to prove their residency. A total of 53 voters were removed the voting rolls, but a federal judge overturned the Board's actions.
The western portion of Hancock County, which is defined by a line running southeast from White Plains to the intersection of State Route 22 and Springfield Road, then running southwest along State Route 22, is located in the Upper Oconee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin. The southern portion of the county, defined by a triangle made of State Route 22 and State Route 15, with Sparta at its apex, is located in the Lower Oconee River sub-basin of the same Altamaha River basin. The northeastern portion of Hancock County is located in the Upper Ogeechee River sub-basin of the Ogeechee River basin.
No Interstate Highway
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,076 people, 3,237 households, and 2,311 families residing in the county. The population density was 21 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 4,287 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.76% Black or African American, 21.46% White, 0.16% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.38% from two or more races. 0.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,237 households out of which 31.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.00% were married couples living together, 28.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.22.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.10% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 31.00% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 114.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $22,003, and the median income for a family was $27,232. Males had a median income of $26,062 versus $19,328 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,916. About 26.10% of families and 29.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.40% of those under age 18 and 25.30% of those age 65 or over. Hancock County is the poorest county in Georgia and the 55th poorest in the country according to per capita income.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 9,429 people, 3,341 households, and 2,183 families residing in the county. The population density was 20.0 inhabitants per square mile (7.7/km2). There were 5,360 housing units at an average density of 11.4 per square mile (4.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 74.1% black or African American, 24.4% white, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 0.1% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, and 25.1% were American.
Of the 3,341 households, 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 23.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.7% were non-families, and 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.98. The median age was 43.0 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $22,283 and the median income for a family was $27,168. Males had a median income of $26,837 versus $21,223 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,925. About 26.7% of families and 26.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.3% of those under age 18 and 21.7% of those age 65 or over.
Hancock County has arguably been the most consistent Democratic county in the entire nation since the Civil War. It has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since 1852 except that of 1972, when George McGovern lost every county in Georgia – and even then it was easily McGovern's best county in the state and he lost by only 93 votes. Apart from Richard Nixon in that election, Barry Goldwater is the only Republican since at least 1912 to reach 30 percent of the county's vote, and Goldwater did so when the enfranchisement of the county's African-American majority was highly incomplete and the white minority's traditional Democratic loyalties were being broken. In 1980 it was Georgia "favorite son" Jimmy Carter's second best county in the nation, whilst in 1984 Walter Mondale, who went within 3,819 votes of losing all fifty states, won over 76.6 percent of Hancock County ballots to make it his fourth-best county outside the District of Columbia.
- James Abercrombie, (1795–1861), born in Hancock County, later member of the United States House of Representatives from Alabama.
- William Henry Harrison, also known as Bill Thomas before emancipation, member of the Georgia House of Representatives state legislator elected during Reconstruction, formerly enslaved of Judge James Thomas.
- Horace Grant, twin brother of Harvey Grant and a former NBA basketball player who won four championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Grant was a graduate of Hancock Central High School.
- Harvey Grant, twin brother of Horace Grant and a former NBA basketball player with the Washington Bullets, Portland Trailblazers, and Philadelphia 76ers. Grant was a graduate of Hancock Central High School.
- Biddy Mason, (August 15, 1818 – January 16, 1891), a slave, she won her freedom when she challenged the constitutionality of her slave status in California, a free state. She went on to become a landowner, humanitarian and philanthropist. A founding member of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1872, Los Angeles, California.
- Hiram George Runnels, (December 15, 1796 – December 17, 1857) born in Hancock County, Ga., later Governor of Mississippi.
- William Terrell, (1778 – July 4, 1855), member of Georgia House of Representatives, his house still stands in Sparta today.
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