Chatham County

Chatham County encompasses Georgia's northernmost coastal area at the mouth of the Savannah River. It was there on Yamacraw Bluff that General James Oglethorpe landed in 1733 and established the Georgia Colony which had been chartered in 1732, the year George Washington was born.

Chatham became the third county organized after the break with England. It was made up of all of Christ Church Parish and part of St. Phillips, dating from 1777. It was named for one of England's most illustrious prime ministers, William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, in honor of his support of the colonial cause in Parliament.

Savannah, the county seat, was a name derived from the Spanish term for grassy plain. From Savannah, in what is now Chatham County, the English under Oglethorpe made forays inland and along the coast to discourage Spanish intrusion northward from Florida.

As early as 1774 Georgia's Patriots began holding rallies in Savannah. In 1775 Savannah Patriots seized a Royal powder magazine and with other hostile acts toward the British Crown attempted to help the Philadelphia Patriots who were then the focus of oppression from England.

A full six months before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Georgians put their colonial governor under house arrest and initiated home rule.

The Revolutionary War years were eventful for residents of Chatham County. The English captured merchant ships off Tybee Island. In the last days of 1778, Savannah was attacked by a force of 2,500 English soldiers. The following year, American and French units moved to retake the city which the English had now fortified. After a month-long siege, Americans and their allies attacked the Spring Hill Redoubt (the site became the Central of Georgia Depot) in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. The attack failed, and the Americans pulled out, not to regain the city until 1782.

During the Civil War, Savannah's vital port was blockaded and its commerce crippled. On Christmas Day in 1864, Sherman completed his march through Georgia to the sea and captured the city. Destruction was more limited in Savannah than it had been on the march to Savannah.

Source: Foundations of Government - The Georgia Counties, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, 1976.

Latest News in this County


Barrow to Host “Congress on the Corner” in Savannah and Rincon

January 21, 2010

This Saturyda, January 23, 2010, Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) will be hosting "Congress on the Corner" in Savannah and Rincon.  "Congress on the Corner" is an opportunity for citizens to meet one-on-one with Congressman Barrow and to talk about what's going on in Washington.


Barrow’s Request for $2.525 million in Funding for Chatham Area Transit Included in Appropriations Conference Report

December 14, 2009

Washington, DC - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the conference report on H.R. 3288, the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes funding for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, included $2,525,000 in funding for buses and bus facilities for Chatham Area Transit. The House approved that bill last week and the bill now goes to President Obama's desk to be signed.  Congressman Barrow submitted the request for those funds.


Savannah Pastor Delivers Opening Prayer for U.S. House of Representatives

November 18, 2009

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) today welcomed Rev. Matthew
Southall Brown, Sr., pastor emeritus of St. John Baptist Church, to the U.S. Capitol to
deliver the opening prayer for the U.S. House of Representatives as today’s Guest


Barrow Announces Medicare Part D Workshops in Savannah and Statesboro

November 17, 2009

Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) will sponsor Medicare Part D open enrollment workshops in Savannah on December 1, 2009, and Statesboro on December 15, 2009.

Anyone who is enrolled in Medicare Part D or who wants to enroll in the program must sign up or make changes during the open enrollment period which began on November 15, 2009, and ends December 31, 2009. Constituents are encouraged to bring their prescription medications with them to the workshops.


Barrow to Host Job Fair in Savannah on Monday, November 9

November 4, 2009

Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) knows that, with unemployment at historic highs, folks in Savannah may need some help looking for a job.  That's why he's bringing together local businesses and employers to host a job fair in Savannah on Monday, November 9, 2009.  The job fair will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Savannah Civic Center.  This event is free and open to the public.


Barrow Announces $500,000 for Industrial Energy Efficiency Projects in Savannah

November 3, 2009

Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $500,000 in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the Savannah-based Energy Resources Division of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority for industrial energy efficiency projects. 


Barrow to Host Financial Literacy Forum in Savannah


October 15, 2009

Times are tough, but there are ways that folks can save money, get out of debt, and stay out of debt.  Congressman Barrow wants to do what he can to help folks learn smart money techniques.  That's why he's bringing together local experts to host a financial literacy forum in Savannah on Monday, October 19, 2009.  The forum will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Savannah State University's King-Frazier Student Center Ballroom.  This event is free and open to the public.


Barrow to Host Military Academy Day in Savannah on Saturday, September 19

September 9, 2009

On Saturday, September 19, 2009, Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) will host a statewide Military Academy Day event at the Benedictine Military School in Savannah.


Barrow Kicks Off Service Day in Savannah

August 3, 2009

Congressman encourages residents join neighborhood service projects across the region to spur community improvement, renovation, and revitalization


Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) helped paint the Union Mission's Parent and Child Building in Savannah today, following President Obama's call to national service. Earlier this summer, the White House launched a national service initiative called "United We Serve" to help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own "do-it-yourself" projects. Congressman Barrow will also participate in a service activity in the Augusta area.


Barrow Announces $1,000,000 for Savannah River Ferry System

July 14, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the Georgia Department of Transportation will receive a $1 million grant to purchase a new ferry boat for the Savannah River Ferry System. This grant is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) of 2009, which authorized $60 million for the Ferry Boat Discretionary (FBD) program for construction and rehabilitation of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities. Congressman Barrow voted for the Recovery Act earlier this year, and President Obama signed it into law.


Barrow Announces 2009 Veterans Town Hall Tour Schedule

June 25, 2009

Meetings will be held in Savannah, Glennville, Statesboro, Augusta, and Milledgeville.

Washington, D.C. - It's time again for Congressman Barrow's annual Veterans Town Hall Tour. This is an opportunity for Congressman Barrow to meet with veterans and their families, thank them for their service, and listen to their concerns. He'll be hosting five meetings on July 1, July 2, and July 3 throughout Georgia's 12th District:


Barrow Announces $32,375,000 in Direct Allocations of Recovery Zone Bonds for Communities in Georgia’s 12th District

June 12, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the U.S. Treasury Department has made $25 billion in bond authority available under the Recovery Zone Bonds program.  Of that money, $32,375,000 will be available to communities in Georgia's 12th District.  Recovery Zone Bonds were created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Congress passed and President Obama signed into law earlier this year.  Recovery Zone Bonds are targeted to areas particularly affected by job loss.  They will help local governments obtain financing for much needed economic development projects, such as public infrastructure development, at lower borrowing costs.

Barrow to Host Energy Expo in Savannah

May 26, 2009

Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) is hosting an Energy Expo in Savannah this Saturday, May 30, 2009, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the EOA Head Start and Administration Building on 1120 May Street in Savannah.  The event is free and open to the public. 


Barrow Announces $40.4 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Savannah Harbor

April 30, 2009

Washington, D.C. -Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the Savannah Harbor will receive $39.7 million in operations and maintenance funds, and $700,000 in construction funds, from the Army Corps of Engineers under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 


Barrow and Above & Beyond Citizen Honors Announce Georgia State Finalist, Rev. Micheal Elliot of Savannah  

April 15, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation today announced the Above & Beyond Citizen Honors state finalist for Georgia for 2009.  Following a nationwide search and selection process, a panel of judges, consisting exclusively of Medal of Honor recipients, selected Reverend Micheal Elliott of Savannah because of his record of going above and beyond the call of duty in service to his fellow Americans.


Barrow Encourages Taxpayers to Stop by IRS Tax Preparation Assistance Event in Savannah

April 14, 2009

Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) encourages all Savannah taxpayers who haven’t filed their taxes yet to visit the IRS Tax Preparation assistance event at the Savannah Civic Center, which will be open from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on April 15, the last day to file federal income taxes. Congressman Barrow will stop by the event between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.



April 9, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that $266,319 has been awarded to the 12th District of Georgia by the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP).  Federal funds totaling $100 million were made available to the EFSP, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to bring immediate relief to communities to address unemployment, poverty, and other needs during the economic crisis.


Barrow Announces 12th District Schools to Receive an Estimated $70.9 Million

April 1, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that an estimated $70,969,000 in emergency education funding has been released for schools in Georgia's 12th District to help save education-related jobs and maintain programs for low-income students and students with disabilities. Schools in the 12th District will receive an estimated $42,376,000 in Title I funds and $28,593,000 in IDEA funds. 


Barrow Announces $1,277,939 in Community Health Center Grants For Augusta, Savannah, Swainsboro, and Warrenton

March 27, 2009

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that community health centers in Augusta, Savannah, Swainsboro, and Warrenton will receive $1,277,939 in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to expand their services. The money was made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


Barrow Announces $4.5 Million Grant for Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport

March 20, 2009

Washington, DC - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the City of Savannah and Savannah Airport Commission will receive a $4.5 million Department of Transportation grant for runway safety improvements.  This grant is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.


Barrow Announces $2.3 million in Recovery Act Funds for Crime Prevention Efforts

March 12, 2009

Washington, DC - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced that Georgia's 12th Congressional District will receive close to $2.3 million in Recovery Act 2009 funding for law enforcement assistance through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.


Savannah Student to Represent Georgia’s 12th District in 2009 Congressional Art Competition

March 6, 2009

Washington, DC - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that Savannah Arts Academy student Edward Nixon has won the 2009 Congressional Art Competition, and will be representing Georgia's 12th District in Washington, D.C.  Nixon's piece, Plan 1 from Outer Space, is an example of mixed media, and will hang with the winners from across the country in the tunnel that connects the U.S. Capitol to the House Office Buildings.  Many members of Congress, staff, and visitors walk through the tunnel everyday.


Barrow Announces First Allocation of Recovery Funding for Savannah

February 27, 2009

Washington, DC - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) today announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be allocating $733,133 from the 2009 Recovery Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Formula Program, $1,121,523 from the 2009 Recovery Act Homelessness Prevention Grant Program, and $5,309,324 from the 2009 Capital Fund Program to the City of Savannah.  These funds will be directed toward programs that can begin in 120 days. 


Barrow Announces $1 Million Grant for Chatham Area Transit Authority  

February 24, 2009

Washington, DC - Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) announced today that the Chatham Area Transit Authority will receive $1,003,200 in Department of Transportation grants to upgrade fareboxes on the area's buses.  The new fareboxes will use "Smartcard" technology, which is used in metropolitan areas throughout the country, including Atlanta.



February 4, 2009

Washington, D.C. – Just before the first anniversary of the tragic explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia, Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) has reintroduced the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act. The legislation passed the House of Representatives last year by a vote of 247 to 165, but the Senate failed to take action on the bill in the last Congress.



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