Originally, this area of Georgia was inhabited by the Creek Indians. In 1827, they were moved out by Federal authorities under the Treaty of Washington. Settlers moved into this region and by 1840 three separate settlements were found in the immediate area. These included the Plains of Dura, located not far from the present site: Magnolia Springs, a well know resort area; and a smaller settlement located near Lebanon Cemetery.
When the railroad came through the area in 1885, the settlements regrouped to form Plains. The name was changed from Plains of Dura because the businessmen wanted it shortened. The State Legislature agreed to the change. Mr. H. L. Hudson was the first settler in the new location. He donated the land for the depot and the town itself.
Mr Hudson also had many other firsts. Among them were being the first post master, and the first railroad agent. He built the first house and he fathered the first child born in Plains, Mary Hudson Campbell.
The first doctor in town was Dr. T. W. Stewart. His son, T. W., Jr. Built the first school.
Plains adopted its first charter on December 17, 1896. In the first election held in January 1897, a mayor and four councilmen were elected. The elected included Dr. B. T. Wise, mayor, and R. S. Oliver, W. L. Thomas, E. Timmerman, Sr., and L. D. Wise, councilmen.
By 1919 Plains was a thriving agricultural settlement boasting the shipment from the area of 76 boxcars of hogs and cattle. This number was the largest amount shipped from any point of local production in the United States at this time.
Plains became a boom town in the 1920's. The population had reached 600. A $50,000.00 bond issue was passed for the building of a new school to house 300 students. A sanitarium costing $75,000.00 was being built. Also, a two story hotel operated near the center of town.
Plains had several "colorful" laws for its citizens to abide by. Outlawed was the use of houses for immoral purposes. Also, it was illegal to be caught shooting a sling-shot, a bow and arrow, or any type fire arm in the corporate limits of the town or in the cemetery.
At one time, it was possible to rent a horse and buggy from Rollin Chambliss. The trip to Americus and back in the same day was 25¢.
When the depression of 1929 hit, the town lost much of its prosperity. Plains then assumed the role of a quiet Southern community. This role began to change slightly in the fall of 1970, when one of its native sons, Jimmy Carter, was elected Governor of the State of Georgia. The tempo quickened tremendously by July 1976, when Jimmy became the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States.
Once again, Plains has become a boom town, adding new businesses and making progressive changes throughout. But through it all, the towns-people still retain their Southern hospitality.
- Compiled from: History of Plains, Bagwell, et als. 1976.
- Gammage Print Shop, publisher,
- Americus, Georgia, pp.4-6.