History of Donalsonville
Seminole County was created in 1920 from portions of Early and Decatur counties. It was named for the Seminole Indians, part of the Muskhogen tribe that had once occupied the lower Chattahoochee River Valley. The Seminoles (meaning “separatist”), who were members of the Lower Creek Confederacy, left Georgia to settle in Florida, but were forced, after two bloody wars, to move to western reservations. Many, however, escaped to the Everglades.
In 1818, Andrew Jackson, on his way to fight the Seminoles, came to Fort Scott near the junction of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. He followed an obscure Indian trail and blazed it with three notches. The route is still to be discerned as the county road 24 in Seminole County, the “Three Notch Trail.” It crosses US 84 three miles east of Donalsonville.
Donalsonville, also known as the “Gateway to Lake Seminole,” is the county seat, and was named for Jonathon F. Donalson. Mr. Donalson was a prominent resident of the area whose ancestors had pioneered Decatur County. Originally incorporated as the Town of Donalson, the charter was later redone and the City of Donalsonville was founded in 1897. Iron City, five miles east of Donalsonville on Highway 84, was founded in 1900.
The creation of Lake Seminole behind the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam, completed in 1957, inundated many acres of land in the southern portion of the county. What had largely been swampland was turned into a water recreation resource. The 37,500 shallow water impoundment, nationally renowned for its largemouth bass fishing, is a sportsman’s paradise. Other species of fish including striped and hybrid bass, bream, shellcracker and catfish also abound in the lake. Numerous public launching ramps provide easy access to not only fishing, but also activities such as boating, sailing, swimming, and water skiing. Areas along the shoreline offer wonderful locations for picnicking, camping, nature walking, and bird watching. Fishing and picturesque scenery may also be enjoyed on the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers.