Newton County lies approximately thirty miles east of Atlanta along Interstate 20. Its irregular star shape encompasses 276.4 miles. Named for Sergeant John Newton, a Revolutionary War (1775-83) hero, the county was formed on December 24, 1821, from parts of Henry, Jasper, and Walton counties. In 1821 the center of the area's activity was a settlement called Winton at the Brick Store, a general store and stagecoach stop. The Brick Store still stands, but U.S. Highway 278, which alternately parallels and crisscrosses the newer Interstate 20 eastward to Augusta, now lies over the stagecoach route.
State law required that the seat of the new county
The county's other incorporated towns date from throughout the nineteenth century. Newborn was settled around 1819 while still part of Jasper County.
In 1864 Union general William T. Sherman and his troops passed through Covington and Oxford on the way to Savannah. Numerous historical markers in the county attest to related events, and several well-known written accounts describe this period.
The county's population has steadily grown since the mid-twentieth century.
In recent years Newton County's landmarks and landscape have become recognizable to people across the United States. Two popular television series of the late twentieth century, The Dukes of Hazzard and In the Heat of the Night, were filmed in the county, as were scenes from various motion pictures, including My Cousin Vinny (1992), and several television specials.
Polly Stone Buck, The Blessed Town: Oxford, Georgia, at the Turn of the Century (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin, 1986).
Dolly Lunt Burge, The Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge, 1848-1879 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997).
Newton County Historical Society, comp., History of Newton County, Georgia (Covington, Ga.: Newton County Historical Society, 1988).
Susan D. Morris, University of Georgia Libraries
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.