Oglethorpe, the Macon County seat, incorporated on December 14, 1849. The city remembers James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia.
Oglethorpe sits on the Flint River and by the 1840s had grown to become the largest and most active town in the southwest. In the 1850s and 1860s, though, the town suffered devastating smallpox and malaria epidemics. Many residents moved houses 20 miles south to Americus or burned the homes down entirely during these epidemics.