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As mechanization was introduced, the number of agricultural jobs decreased and Valdosta became more industrialized by the 20th century.
On May 16, 1918 a white planter named Hampton Smith was shot and killed at his house near Morven, Georgia by a black farm worker named Sidney Johnson who was routinely mistreated by Smith.It has since become an enclave of Valdosta due to the growth of Valdosta. The new courthouse was completed in 1904 and on April 14, 1905 the first session of court took place in the new courthouse.A new courthouse was planned in 1900 to replace the smaller courthouse. In November 1902, the Harris Nickel-Plate Circus' prize elephant, Gypsy, went on a rampage and killed her trainer James O'Rourke.It was once the center of long-staple cotton growing in the United States, a lucrative crop both before and after the Civil War.The county had a majority-white population well before the war with a substantial black population, as the cotton plantations were dependent on masses of enslaved field laborers.
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Lynch mobs formed in Valdosta ransacking Lowndes and Brooks counties for a week looking for Johnson and his alleged accomplices.