Grady County was created from Decatur and Thomas Counties on Aug. 17, 1905 by an act of the General Assembly. Georgia's 139th county was named for former Atlanta Constitutioneditor Henry Grady, who urged Georgia farmers to diversify and end the state's economic dependence on cotton. The 1905 legislation creating Grady County designated Cairo as the county seat. The date of Cairo's first settlement is not known, but its name appears on an 1838 map of Georgia, suggesting initial settlement prior to that date.
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