Henry Tift was born in 1841 in Mystic, Connecticut. After the Civil War, he came to Albany, Georgia to manage his uncle’s manufacturing firm. He liked what he saw, and stayed for the next 50 years.
Tift started a lumber business in nearby Berrien County and built a sawmill and village. The village became a major economic hub when two major railroad lines later intersected there, connecting the boomtown to Atlanta.
Tifton was incorporated in 1890 and became the Tift County seat. Tift pumped his earnings back into the region, developing an infrastructure that gave people jobs, and fostered economic and physical growth. He built the Tifton Cotton Mill, the Bank of Tifton, established agricultural and industrial enterprises, invested in railroads, donated land for churches, and established a model farm north of town. It eventually became the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
One of south Georgia’s greatest benefactors was born in Connecticut on March 16, 1841, Today in Georgia History.
After Henry Tift helped save the Monroe Female College in Macon, Ga. from bankruptcy, the school was renamed Bessie Tift College, in honor of his wife.