Grady County Museum
and History Center
101 North Broad Street
Cairo, Georgia 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM Tuesday - Friday
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Saturday
or Call Us at
for an appointment
Stop by the Museum to see our 'G scale' replicas of the A&G, Atlantic Coast Line, and the short lived P&H Rail Roads that once operated through Cairo. The collection has over 30 train cars and engines donated by Hampton Ward.
Grady County Historical Society, Inc.
The Grady County Historical Society, Inc. was organized in March of 1966. Through the efforts of Miss Wessie Connell, the public librarian for many years, a group of about 45 citizens met at the Roddenbery Memorial Library, and set the dues at 50 cents for families and 25 cents for individuals. The Society received its Certificate of Incorporation with an effective date of April 22, 1993, and has received a tax-exempt status as an organization described under Internal Revenue Service Code section 501(c)(3).
The purpose of this society shall be to bring together those people interested in history, and especially in the history of Grady County.
The Society will discover, collect, and disseminate any material whichmay help to establish, illustrate or educate the general public to the history of the area; including
The material may include:
The Cairoga Club Building, home to the Grady County Museum and History Center, was built in 1920 and replaced one of the last wooden store building on Broad Street. Three street level stores originally housed Britt's Gent Store, a men's retailer, the Sanitary Barber Shop, and Tony Mike's California Fruit Company.
The headquarters for a gentlemen's club on the second floor was complete with a regulation basketball court with polished hardwood floor and bleachers on each side, a dressing room with shower stalls, a kitchen in the space on the railroad side, and all the way across the front was the clubroom. There was a regulation pool table, with plenty of room left for monthly banquets, even Ladies Nights, and any other appropriate community meetings. The Cairoga Club held its charter banquet in its brand new facility in October of 1920 and rented the space until the 1930s.
After the club's demise the headquarters were converted into offices for W. B. Roddenbery Company and continued to be used in that capacity until the early 1970s when the company moved to what is known as The Colonial Building on 1st Ave. N.E.
In 1993 the heirs of Julien B. Roddenbery, Frederick W. Roddenbery and W. B. Roddenbery Jr. donated the building to the Grady County Historical Society for use as a museum. After major renovations to the ground floor were completed, the museum officially opened on Dec. 5, 1999.
The Roddenbery Hardware Company building provides additional space for the Museum. The two story brick building was built in 1906 by W. B. Roddenbery to expand his buggy and hardware business. The company grew and expanded and in 1947 the original building was combined with the adjacent Parker building to the north. 'White face' brick was added to the front and sides and plate glass display windows with metal frames were also added. Albert Roddenbery managed the hardware until his death in 1960.
In March of 1967 the business was sold to Stone's Inc. Stoneâ€™s remained in the building until 1977 when it moved to its first Hwy. 84 location. The building was home to the Grady County Senior Center until a grant was received by the county in 1997 to construct a new Senior Center. The City of Cairo purchased the building and it remained vacant until the 2010 renovation.
Renovations by the Historical Society in coordination with the City of Cairo began in January and an open house for the facility was held in September of 2010. Part of the historic building is dedicated for the museum exhibit and storage space and part serves as the City of Cairo Council Chambers which the Historical Society also uses as a meeting space.
The Grady County Museum will preserve, interpret, and display the materials of the Grady County Historical Society; offering ways to explore the people and events that have made the area what it is today.
Interactive Exhibits that encourage exploration and discovery into our past.
Educational Programs for children and adults through lectures, performances, workshops, and special activities.
Archives and Research in cooperation with the Library.
Tours through the Museum, Downtown Cairo, Grady County, and Southwest Georgia.
Museum Shop featuring specialty items.
Make checks payable to: The Grady County Historical Society, Inc.
P. O. Box 586, Cairo, GA 39828
or Visit the Museum and History Center at 101 North Broad Street
A Dash...A Pinch...A Smidgen…More Than a Cookbook
This original cookbook has been reprinted and a limited supply is available. In its 3rd printing, the hardcover book is a collection of recipes, menus, history, stories, and sketches. $27.50 (tax included) + $5 shipping if ordered by mail.
A Dash...A Pinch...A Smidgen…A Taste of the Holidays
Published in 2009, this collection of recipes is a companion to the popular cookbook originally published in 2003. History, stories, sketches, and menus are included in theis quality book. $12.50 comb bound (tax included) + $5 shipping if ordered by mail.
A Dash...A Pinch...A Smidgen…More Than a Cookbook AND
A Dash...A Pinch...A Smidgen…A Taste of the Holidays. $35.00 (tax included) + $8 shipping if ordered by mail.
The Genesis of Grady County, Georgia
Published in November 2006 by Sentry Press. This hardcover volume has 392 pages of text with 134 photographs, maps, and drawings, a 10-page bibliography, and an extensive 38-page index. Appendixes include militia district names, slave statistics, the Lewis County Petition of 1871, members of the 1904 New County Committee, and 1907 school trustees, postmasters, local officials (town, county, and court), and state legislators are current through 2006. Two 12 x 17-inch maps of Grady County in 1906 and 1908 complete the volume. $50.00 (tax included). Add $6 shipping if ordered by mail.
Cemeteries of Grady County, Georgia
Published in August 2006 and updated in 2011 to include the 2011 Addendum below). Cemeteries of Grady County, Georgia, is the first comprehensive recording of all known graves in our southwest Georgia county. There are more than 22,000 listings and a full-name index in the 527 page hardbound volume that was published with a grant from the R. J. Taylor Foundation. $60 hardback (tax included) at the Museum Store. Add $6 shipping if ordered by mail. Or purchase online at www.lulu.com.
Cemeteries of Grady County, Georgia-Addendum 2011
Published in 2011, this addendum includes cemetery and obituary additions from June 2005 to August 2011 and known corrections to origianal 2006 book. Maps that locate the cemeteries are also included. $15 comb bound (tax included) + $5 shipping if ordered by mail.
Cemeteries of Grady County, Georgia-Addendum 2016
Published in 2016, this addendum includes cemetery and obituary additions from June 2011 to December 2016. $10 comb bound (tax included) + $2 shipping if ordered by mail.
Calvary Georgia Heritage, 1828-1977
by Majorie Maxwell Mayfield (Mrs. Judson)
with the permission of Marilee Butler (Mrs. Ermon)
A concise history of Calvary, Georgia, in Grady County, including material on churches, businesses, services, plenty of home, school, and store photos, and vignettes from 1977 local citizens.$5 paperback (tax included) + $2 shipping if ordered by mail.
Grady County, Georgia Churches
compiled by the Grady County Historical Society
In conjunction with the 2006 Grady County Centennial Celebration, The Historical Society has published a collection of 53 Grady County church histories submitted to the committee for publication.$15 comb bound (tax included) + $5 shipping if ordered by mail.
Other Gifts and Souveniers
Grady County Courthouse, Whigham, Tung Nut Tree, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, W.B. Roddenbery Co. Brine Yard, and L.O. Maxwell House.
$1 each or 6 for $5
Notecards & Poster
$1 each or 6 for $5
19h" x 27w" ready for framing
$15 each (tax included) + $5 shipping if ordered by mail
Cross Roads Farm, by Barbara Keel
Handy fabric tote bags come in your choice of two styles - the cover ofo the new cookbook or a picture of the Museum and History Center. $5 each (tax already included) + $2 shipping if ordered by mail.
$3 each (tax already included)
add $2 shipping if ordered by mail.
by Wayne Faircloth
Included in A Dash... A Pinch... A Smidgen... More than a Cookbook
published in 2003 and copyrighted by the Grady County Historical Society, Inc.
Grady County is considerably younger than most of Georgia's other 159 counties, only seventeen being younger. It, along with seven other counties, was created in 1905 and named for Henry Woodfin Grady, the famous Georgia journalist and orator who championed the "New South" movement for the southern states during the late 1800's.
The geographic area from which it was created, however, was Creek Indian territory until 1814 and belonged neither to the United States nor to the State of Georgia. During the War of 1812 Georgia became involved in fighting both Great Britain and the Creek Indians. The Lower Creeks, who lived mostly in Georgia, were sympathetic to the United States, but the Upper Creeks, living mostly in Alabama, aligned themselves with Great Britain and were the source of many barbaric massacres and unrelenting depredations. To quell the threat of the marauding Upper Creeks, Andrew Jackson and his Tennessee Militia were sent to help subdue them. In March 1814, Jackson was successful in defeating the Creeks in the famous battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Alabama River. Five months later he forced them to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, by which the Creeks gave up nearly all their lands in Alabama and a strip across the southernmost part of Georgia, which included the territory that would eventually become Grady County.
The provisions of the treaty, however, permitted the Lower Creeks to remain on the ceded territory east of the Chattahoochee River, supposedly to serve as a buffer between the angry Upper Creeks and the Spaniards and Seminoles in Florida. Georgians were greatly displeased with this provision, for in a very short time the region became a thoroughfare for the renegade Upper Creeks to move southward to join the Seminoles in Florida. This caused another vexing situation, and it was not until 1818, near the end of the first Seminole War, that the ceded strip of land in Georgia passed from Federal ownership to the State of Georgia. The legislature in Milledgeville acted promptly and on December 15, 1818, passed an act dividing the newly ceded territory into the three large counties of Early on the west, Irwin in the middle, and Appling on the east, and authorized it to be surveyed into land lots and districts. To provide for a rudimentary Inferior Court system of government to conduct business and to hold elections, the three counties were formally organized in 1819. In the same year Spain ceded Florida to the United States, thereby removing another deterrent to settlement of Georgia's newest frontier.
Before the creation of the counties, a few white Indian traders had moved into the area, but they were located adjacent to the Creek villages, which were mostly concentrated along the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. To encourage settlement, Georgia made land ownership in Early, Irwin, and Appling counties available to its citizens by the 1820 Land Lottery Act. Most of the "fortunate" drawers did not want to move to the desolate pine and wiregrass barrens, and willingly sold their newly acquired land at prices considerably lower than land value elsewhere in the state. Eager for land, pioneer settlers mostly from the Carolinas, with a fewer number from Virginia and elsewhere, were willing to relocate, many of them having already migrated to middle Georgia. They purchased large tracts of the cheap land and, by the early 1820's, settlement was well underway.
The only roads in the wiregrass-pine barrens were primitive three-notch wagon trails where Indian paths had previously existed, and most of its streams were not navigable, except by canoe or small flatboat. Deprived of accessible transportation, the pioneers were forced into a self-reliant way of life, one of subsistence farming and herding, even though they were large landowners. Lack of any efficient transportation also played a role in subdividing the three large border counties into smaller ones to better accommodate county business and government. In 1823 Decatur County was created from the southern portion of Early, and in 1825 Thomas County was formed from the Eastern part of Decatur and part of Irwin. It was eighty years later before an eastern strip of Decatur and a western strip of Thomas were used to create Grady County.
Proposals for a new county, to possibly be named Maxwell, originated as early as 1904. This spawned much wrangling and heated debate between the local proponents who wanted to be a separate county and others who were opposed. As momentum for a new county gained wider acceptance, the major issue of contention became the location of the county seat. Both Whigham and Cairo were intensely desirous of that distinction. After bitter infighting and considerable influential political maneuvering, Cairo was finally chosen. The official signing of the Act to create Grady County occurred on August 17, 1905. Later, in October of that year, an election for the citizens to choose county officials was held, and on January 1, 1906, the newly created county began operating as a separate unit of Georgia's state government organization.
The dreary pine and wiregrass barrens to which the original settlers came proved to be most beneficial, with bountiful supplies of timber, an abundance of streams, and soils that produced fertile, prime farmland. It has been characteristic that persons who came to the area have tended to remain, and family names of the earliest inhabitants are still commonplace in Grady and the surrounding counties.
Only after the two World Wars and a shift from subsistence to commercial based farming has there been any significant change in the makeup of the area's population. Even so, Grady County can still be promoted as being included in "The Greatest Diversified Farming Area of America."
Grady County, Georgia - Memorial Log of Military Veterans
A public accessible registry of names and service information of Grady County Citizens who have performed honorable active service in the United States Military. Persons enrolled in the Log may be living or deceased, active or veteran.
Grady County, Georgia - GAGenWeb
The GAGenWeb parent project, the USGenWeb Project, consists of a group of volunteers working together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone.
Museum of Colquit County History
Thomas County Historical Society
Thomasville County Public Library
Thomasville Genealogical, History & Fine Arts Library
Jack Hadley Black History Museum
Georgia Historical Society
Atlanta History Center
Georgia Historic Preservation
Georgia Department of Archives and History
United Daughters of the Confederacy
Daughters of the American Revolution
Donna Powell, President
Heidi Woods, Vice President
Beverly Cliett, Treasurer
Linda Stringer, Secretary
Jenny Ponder, Bold Springs
Yvonne Childs, Blowing Cave/Elpino
Carolyn Hopkins, Calvary
Billy Hester, Midway
Jennifer/Adam Womble, Pine Park
Barbara Jones, Spence
Beverly Cliett, Whigham
Nancy Inman, Regent at Large
Celeste Tyler, Past President
Rebecca Cline, Curator
Carolyn Chason, Advisor
Rebecca Cline, Curator
The Grady County Historical Society, Inc.
P. O. Box 586
Cairo, Georgia 39828
Museum and History Center
101 North Broad Street
1 pm to 4 pm Tuesday thru Friday
10 am to 2 pm 3rd & 4th Saturday
Call for current and additional hours or to make an appointment