Conyers is the only city in Rockdale County, Georgia, United States. It is twenty-four miles east of Atlanta. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 10,689. Census estimates of 2005 indicate a population of 12,205. The city is the county seat of Rockdale County. By 2009, the reported population was 13,941. The formerly separate town of Milstead is now part of Conyers.
Before European settlement, the area which is now Conyers, along with the surrounding county of Rockdale, was occupied by mound-building Native Americans. As time progressed, the Muscogee (or Creek) and Cherokee natives shared a common border here. This border was known as the "Great Indian Road," and is known now as the "Hightower Trail". This trail was used by white settlers following the American Revolution.
Between 1816 and 1821, the area known as Rockdale was open for settlement. John Holcomb, a blacksmith, was the first settler in what is now Conyers. He settled where the current Rockdale County Courthouse is located, in the middle of Conyers on Main Street.
Eventually, there was pressure for a railroad to cross Georgia; the railroad was intended to run from Augusta, through neighboring Covington to Marthasville (now known as Atlanta). John Holcomb was against the railroad and refused to sell his land, and threatened to shoot anyone from the railroad who came onto his property.
Dr. W. D. Conyers, a banker from Covington, eventually persuaded John Holcomb into selling his land for $700. Dr. Conyers then sold the land to the Georgia Railroad. What is now Conyers began as a watering post along this line, named after Dr. Conyers. By 1845, the railroad was in full operation. By 1854, nearly 400 residents lived around the watering post, and Conyers was incorporated.
Conyers has been nearly destroyed several times by fire. It is said that it survived Sherman's March to the Sea thanks to a friend of Sherman's who lived in the area between Conyers and Covington. The story goes that the houses were spared because Sherman was uncertain where his friend lived.
In 1870, the surrounding area was incorporated into Rockdale County out of Newton County, Georgia, and Conyers became the county seat.
Over the next decade, Conyers grew into a wild town. It had twelve saloons and five brothels. The more reputable side of the town had 40 stores, Conyers College, a hotel, a carriage manufacturer and good schools.
Conyers was also home to "sidewalk churches". Along Main Street grew First Methodist, Conyers Presbyterian, and First Baptist. It is said that at some point the congregants persuaded the brothels and saloons to close and leave Conyers for Covington, having persuaded them with a mob. This rose out of revivals began in 1878 with the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. First Baptist Church of Conyers moved out of downtown in late 2000, moving about two miles or three kilometers south of the Georgia International Horse Park to their current location.
Tightly connected to Conyers is Milstead, a mill town now incorporated into Conyers. At its peak, Milstead and Conyers had a private railroad which delivered products, such as cotton, from the mill to Conyers for shipping to the textile mills. In the 1960s, the mill closed.
In 1944, a Trappist monastery (a Catholic order), Abbey of the Holy Spirit, was established south of the city by Dom Frederic Dunne. The Protestant community of Rockdale County helped with the completing of the current structure. M. Basil Pennington, one of the founders of the Centering Prayer movement, was abbot of the monastery from 2000 to 2002.
In the 1950s, Conyers had a Coca-Cola bottling facility. In 1957, Lithonia Lighting moved from Lithonia.
In the 1960s, Interstate 20 was built through the county. Gus Barksdale, Clarence Vaughn, Roland Reagan, and Harry Downs helped establish the community for the future by pushing for business expansion.
In the 1970s, parts of the first five episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard were filmed in the town.
In the 1980s, Conyers became known for "White Road", where resident Nancy Fowler claimed to have seen apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Conyers played host to pilgrims.
In the early 90's, several scenes of "In the Heat of the Night" were filmed around the Conyers Depot. Alan Autry who played the character of Captain Bubba Skinner was seen as a regular around Conyers during the filming.
In 1996 Conyers hosted the equestrian and mountain biking events for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta. For this, Conyers built the Georgia International Horse Park.
On May 20, 1999 a school shooting took place known as the Heritage High School shooting. Six students were injured before the 15-year-old gunman surrendered to the police.
In October 1999 Rockdale County, and by extension the county seat of Conyers gained substantial notoriety when the Public Broadcasting Service series FRONTLINE aired a nationwide documentary entitled The Lost Children of Rockdale County detailing a syphilis outbreak among middle and high school aged teenagers within the county. The documentary was well received outside of Conyers, with rave reviews from such outlets as the Wall Street Journal and Entertainment Weekly; Interviewed by Oprah Winfrey.
In 2010, Conyers was thrust into the spotlight when identical twins and former residents Tasmiyah Janeesha Whitehead (born November 27, 1993) and Jasmiyah Kaneesha Whitehead (born November 27, 1993) were arrested on May 21, 2010 for having committed matricide. The victim was Jarmecca Yvonne Whitehead (born April 18, 1975) who also went by the nickname "Nikki". She was beaten and stabbed and placed in a tub full of water where her daughters left her to die as they left for Rockdale County High School. The crime occurred on January 13, 2010 in the Bridle Ridge Walk subdivision on Appaloosa Way. The crime sent shockwaves throughout the community. Jarmecca's autopsy revealed that she suffered injuries to her lungs, jugular vein and had a severed spinal cord. Initially the twins proclaimed their innocence but in 2014 the twins plead guilty and are serving 30 year sentences each in separate prisons. The crime was heavily documented by the news media and by journalists. The crime was featured in a few true crime documentaries and true crime television shows which include MSNBC Dateline in an episode titled "Bad Blood", Snapped episode 1403 titled "The Whitehead Twins" and Evil Twins in an episode titled "Honor Roll Killers" a show that airs on the Investigation Discovery network (see also Murder of Nikki Whitehead).
As of 2013, the CW show The Originals began filming in Conyers.
Conyers is located at 33Â°39â²59â³N 84Â°0â²27â³W (33.666360, -84.007574).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.9 square miles (31Â km2), of which 11.8 square miles (31Â km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26Â km2) (1.17%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 15,408 people, 3,910 households, and 2,557 families residing in the city. The population density was 907.3 people per square mile (350.3/kmÂ²). There were 4,183 housing units at an average density of 355.1 per square mile (137.1/kmÂ²). The racial makeup of the city was 25.3% White, 58.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.2% of the population.
There were 3,910 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 21.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 26.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,789, and the median income for a family was $38,255. Males had a median income of $29,991 versus $24,879 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,805. About 13.7% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.
The Rockdale County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of eleven elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. The district has 889 full-time teachers and over 13,801 students.
In 2011 the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association in Conyers formed a semi-professional soccer team called the Georgia Revolution.
- Terry Masters, Deputy Director of Georgia Department of Audits and General Manager of the Meadowbrook Marlins
- Billy Buckner, MLB pitcher
- Ashley Scott, artist and writer
- Dakota Fanning, actress
- Elle Fanning, actress
- Jill Arrington, ESPN former college football reporter
- DeForest Kelley, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, of TV's Star Trek: The Original Series
- Jesse Baker, former NFL defensive end with the Houston Oilers and Dallas Cowboys
- Jerome Boger, NFL referee
- Matt Kennon, singer
- Cartel's Will Pugh, Joseph Pepper, Nic Hudson, and Kevin Sanders
- David Elder, former MLB player
- Holly Hunter, actress
- Hansi Holloway, former Miss NC Plus America 2003 for Miss Plus America Pageant, model, and writer
- A. D. Jenkins singer-songwriter Cutter J
- Ben L. Jones, "Crazy" Cooter Davenport in The Dukes of Hazzard and politician
- Clint Mathis, World Cup soccer player
- Jack McBrayer, actor
- James C. Miller III, former U.S. government official and economist
- Dave Willis, co-creator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Squidbillies
- Jim Fortier, co-creator of The Brak Show and Squidbillies
- Gorilla Zoe, rapper
- Derek St. Holmes, musician
- The Rockdale News
- The Rockdale Citizen
- Luis Beltran, Branch Manager Air Power
- City official website
- Rockdale County Historical Society