Petersburg Print
Written by Mark Williams   
Thursday, 22 July 2010 13:57


Petersburg was a major tobacco inspection station at the confluence of the Broad and Savannah River in the Georgia Piedmont. The town was established in 1786 and became a boom town. Within a few years it was the second largest town in the state. The town's demise was heralded by the rise of cotton agriculture and the concomitant decline in tobacco agriculture in Georgia. By 1837 the town was extinct.

Petersburg, Georgia began as a tobacco inspection port on the Savannah River in 1786. It quickly grew to be the one of the largest towns in interior Georgia. By 1837 it was nearly abandoned. Now Petersburg is a ghost town, partially submerged under the waters of Lake Clark Hill [Strom Thurmond] (Elliott 1995). Historian E. Merton Coulter wrote a book on the history of Petersburg and its people, which was published in 1966. Archaeologist Rita Folse Elliott conducted her M.A. thesis research at Petersburg in 1988. Hers was an interdisciplinary study that combined history, geography, and underwater archaeology to create a better interpretation of the town and its tangible remains.

Click Petersburg for a table of Petersburg's landowners, compiled by Rita Folse Elliott (1988) and adapted for the web by Daniel T. Elliott (2006).

Selected Bibliography

Coulter, E. Merton 1966 Old Petersburg and the Broad River Valley of Georgia. University of Georgia Press, Athens.

Elliott, Daniel T. 1995 Clark Hill River Basin Survey. LAMAR Institute Publication Series, Report Number 26. Watkinsville, Georgia. Online version at:

Elliott, Rita Folse 1988 The Pulse of Petersburg: A Multidisciplinary Investigation of a Submerged Tobacco Town in Georgia. M.A. Thesis, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina. Online abstract at

Elliott, Rita Folse 2003 Georgia's Inland Waters. Southern Research, Ellerslie, Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta. Online version at:'s%20inland%20waters.pdf

Kane, Sharyn, and Richard Keeton 1993 Beneath These Waters. Archeological and Historical Studies of 11,500 Years Along the Savannah River. National Park Service, Tallahassee, Florida. Online version at

Turner South 2006 Lost City of Petersburg, GA. Liars and Legends [Television Show], Episode LNL403. Video Clip Online at:,,3711,00.html

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:07