Oconee County takes its name from an Indian word. It was formed in 1868 from Pickens District, and the county seat is Walhalla. This area in the northwest corner of the state on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains was home to the Cherokees, but the Indians gave up their lands in treaties signed in 1777 and 1816. After the American Revolution, settlers from other parts of the state began moving in, including the Germans from Charleston who founded the town of Walhalla in 1850. In 1856 work began on a tunnel for the Blue Ridge Railroad that would have linked Charleston with Knoxville, Tennessee, but the Civil War ended that project; the unfinished Stumphouse Tunnel can still be seen today. Several Revolutionary War heroes moved to present day Oconee County after the war, including Andrew Pickens (1739-1817), Robert Anderson (1741-1813), and Benjamin Cleveland (1738-1806).
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