Earliest occupants were Indians of a pre-Creek civilization; possibly of the Muskhogean cultures. The creek Indians later occupied the territory. The story states that so many Indians were massacred that the river ran red with blood. The earliest settlers were comprised of Revolutionary soldlers or there families.
The territory was rich with virgin pines which the settlers used to construct homes, later contributing largely to the economy of Atkinson County. The Satilla River (pronounced "Sentilly" locally) was the main link to the coast. The first loggers were the Tanner, Gillis, and Griffis families of Atkinson County. The men would raft the logs down the Satilla River to Burnt Fort.
Atkinson County was created from parts of Clinch and Coffee Counties on August 15, 1917. Atkinson County was the 151st county formed with only 8 more counties to follow. The county was named for William Yates Atkinson, Georgia's governor from 1894-1898. It is bordered by the following counties: Clinch, Coffee, Lanier, Barrien, and Ware. Atkinson County towns are Pearson, the county seat; Axson, once known as McDonald's Mill; Willacoochee; and Kirkland.
The Brunswick and Western Railroad constructed around 1875, brought a period of growth to these towns. The Brunswick and Western Railroad later became the Atlantic Coastline. The Brunswick-Western and the Georgia-Florida Railroads intersected in Willacoochee.