Columbia County, established in 1790, lies along the Savannah River, its lands once home to busy cotton plantations. Quakers settled the area, choosing to name their county for an explorer, Christopher Columbus, rather than for a military man as was often the custom. John Appling, the original pioneer of the area, gave his name to the county seat.
Richmond County, now consolidated with the City of Augusta, was an original headright county acquired from the Creek Indians by treaty in 1733 and organized as the Colonial parish of St. Paul in 1758. At the time of the Revolution, the parish became Richmond County to honor the Duke of Richmond, the politician who defended the colonists' cause in Parliament and advocated their independence. From its early times, Augusta, situated at the head of navigation on the Savannah River, depended on its fort to protect its trading post and its handful of settlers. This county seat was named for Princess Augusta, wife of the Prince of Wales.