Toccoa is a city in and the county seat of Stephens County, Georgia, located approximately 50 miles from Athens and approximately 90 miles northeast of Atlanta. The population was 8,491 as of the 2010 census.

Native Americans, including the Mississippian culture mound builders and later the Cherokee, were the original inhabitants in what is now Toccoa and the surrounding area. The first residents of European descent were a small number of American Revolutionary War veterans led by Col. William H. Wofford who moved to the area when the war ended. The area was referred to as Wofford’s Tract, or Wofford’s Settlement. Col. Wofford is buried near Toccoa Falls. Col. Wofford’s son, William T. Wofford, was born near Toccoa (then part of Habersham County), and was an officer during the Mexican-American War and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. The Georgia Land Lottery of 1820 spurred the migration of Scots-Irish from North Carolina and the Georgia coast.

The Georgia Gold Rush, starting in 1828, and the 1838 removal of the Cherokee on the infamous “Trail of Tears” further changed settlement patterns in the area.

The Georgia General Assembly created Stephens County in 1905, and Toccoa was established as the county seat.

Toccoa means “beautiful” in the Cherokee language, and is derived from the Cherokee term for “where the Catawbas lived.” The city was established in 1873 around an area formerly called Dry Pond, named for a pond that was waterless most of the time.

Here is some more important information from the official Toccoa city website

The three investors — Dr. O.M. Doyle of Oconee County, S.C., B.Y. Sage of Atlanta and Thomas Alexander of Atlanta — anticipated the construction of a new railroad through Dry Pond. They purchased 1,765 acres, had it surveyed into lots, publicized a May 27, 1873, lot sale and brought potential buyers to the village on excursion trains. The City of Toccoa was officially chartered in 1874 and the names of downtown streets reflect the visionary trio; Sage, Doyle, and Alexander streets still crisscross downtown Toccoa today.

Toccoa was originally part of Habersham County, but many local residents thought it was too far and too difficult to cross the mountain to the county seat in Clarkesville. A group of residents launched a drive for a new county and their efforts were rewarded with the creation of Stephens County by an act of the state legislature. The first elected county officers took office on January 1, 1906. Toccoa became the county seat.

 

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