Bay County History

On February 12, 1913, representatives from five towns on the bay, met at Panama City for the purpose of selecting a name for the proposed new County. After discussion the name BAY was selected as one which would be satisfactory to the majority of the citizens, and as being distinctive of the territory that would be included. On July 1, 1913, Bay County was created by the Legislature from portions of Washington, Calhoun and Walton counties. The Nativity of Bay County was fittingly honored by a celebration in the City Park, now known as McKenzie Park. Picnic baskets were brought by the attendees while barbecued meats furnished by the City were served to all. Additional attractions were music, boat races, baseball and swimming matches.

The newly selected legislators held their first meeting on Monday, July 10, 1913, in rooms secured over the Bank of Panama City. The session was informal, but later in the day the commissioners met in the Owl's Nest on the dock at the end of Harrison Avenue and began strenuous work. Immediate plans were made for construction of a Courthouse, the corner stone was laid in December, 1914 and the building dedicated in December, 1915. On December 20, 1920, the Courthouse was severely damaged by fire and lost the beautiful dome that supported four clocks. However, the outer walls survived, the building was reconstructed and continues to serve as the Bay County Courthouse to this date.

Mrs. Margaret Savage Mrs. Margaret Savage relates stories of her childhood of growing up in "Loch Lomond" lodge in the now State Park of Camp Helen. During her 1997 visit after the State had acquired the property Margaret, now 77, sat in what was once her mother's private patio and shared her memories of life in early Bay County.


The following are the Honorable Commissioners that have served Bay County since its inauguration on July 1, 1913.

1913-1915
R.L. McKenzie
T.E. Crawford
T.B. Young
L.G. Gay
A.F. Gainer
1915-1917
T.B. Young
J.M. Barrow
H.P. Roush
T.E. Crawford
Preston Warren
1917-1919
J.M. Barrow
B.A. Rhodes
John McLaughlin
J.B. McCall
A.F.Driskell
J.N. Faile
1919-1921
J. McLaughlin
B.A. Rhodes
J.B. McCall
A.J. Gainer
J.N. Faile
F.C. McGill
W.B. Gainer
1921-1923
J.N. Faile
M.B. Pierce
L.C. Gay
W.B. Gainer
J.H. Laird
1923-1925
A.J. Pelham
J.N. Faile
D.R. McBride
J.H. Laird
J.M. Porter
C.R. Russ
1925-1927
L.E. Vickery
M.B. Davis
J.M. Porter
J.C. Gainer
W.C. Holley
C.R. Russ
1927-1929
L.E. Vickery
J.M. Porter
J.C. Gainer
C.P. Russ
W.C. Holley
1929-1931
H.W. Johnson
.M. Porter
C.P. Russ
W.B. Gainer
W.H. Laird
1931-1933
H.W. Johnson
C.P. Russ
Roy Van Kleeck
J.C. Gainer
W.H. Laird
1933-1935
Douglas B. Sale
Joe D. Holmes
Roy Van Kleeck
J.C. Gainer
W.H. Laird
1935-1937
S.J. Gainer
Joe D. Holmes
Roy Van Kleeck
J.C. Gainer
Harry W. Peterson
1937-1939
R.D. Newberry
Dee Williams
Roy Van Kleeck
J.C. Gainer
Bruce Vickers
1939-1941
Dee Williams
A.L. Barber
J.C. Gainer
W.W. Nichols
Randall Newberry
1941-1943
J.A. Gilbert
A.L. Barber
W.P. Worthington
C.N. Muterspaugh
Bruce Vickers
1943-1945
Dee Williams
A.L. Barber
W.P. Worthington
C.N. Muterspaugh
Bruce Vickers
1945-1947
A.J. Childs
Ira L. Hill
B.V. Buchanan
C.N. Muterspaugh
1947-1949
Ira L. Hill
A.J. Childs
Bruce Vickers
C. N. Muterspaugh
W.P. Worthington
1949-1951
A.J. Childs
Ira L. Hill
B.V. Buchanan
W.P. Worthington
C.N. Muterspaugh
1951-1953
Ira Hill
J.R. Miller
J.H. Davis
John Pitts
B.V. Buchanan
1953-1955
J.R. Miller
Ira L. Hill
M.B. Miller
John Pitts
B.V. Buchanan
1955-1957
M.B. Miller
John Pitts
B.V. Buchanan
Burton Clark
J.R. Miller
1957-1959
Burton H. Clark
J.R. Miller
B.V. Buchanan
M.B. Miller
John Pitts
1959-1960
J.R. Miller
B.V. Buchanan
Donald D. Mowat
Burton H. Clark
M.B. Miller
1961
Donald Mowat
I.S. Morris
Wilmont Edwards
A.J. Barnes
Burton Clark
Burford Freeman
1962
I.S. Morris
A.J. Barnes
Wilmont Edwards
Burford Freeman
Burton Clark
1963
Ira Hill
John Pitts
I.S. Morris
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
1964
Ira Hill
John Pitts
I.S. Morris
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
1965
Wilmont Edwards
Isaac Byrd
Ira Hill
I.S. Morris
John Pitts
1966
Isaac Byrd
I.S. Morris
De Delaney
Ira Hill
Wilmont Edwards
1967
Isaac Byrd
De Delaney
Ira Hill
I.S. Morris
Wilmont Edwards
1968
De Delaney
Ira Hill
I.S. Morris
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
1969
De Delaney
Ira Hill
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
George Gainer
1970
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
De Delaney
Ira Hill
George Gainer
1971
George Gainer
Wilmont Edwards
De Delaney
Ira Hill
Isaac Byrd
1972
Zollie Young
William Peeke
George Gainer
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
1973
Isaac Byrd
Jim Faircloth
Zollie Young
John Mullins
William Peeke
G.W. Hobbs
1974
Isaac Byrd
Jim Faircloth
G.W. Hobbs
John Mullins
William Peeke
1975
Jim Faircloth
John Mullins
G.W. Hobbs
Ray Wagner
Isaac Byrd
1976
Jim Faircloth
John Mullins
Isaac Byrd
G.W. Hobbs
Ray Wagner
1977
John Mullins
Isaac Byrd
Ray Wagner
Jim Faircloth
G.W. Hobbs
1978
G.W. Hobbs
Isaac Byrd
John Mullins
Jim Faircloth
Ray Wagner
1979
Ray Wagner
Isaac Byrd
Bill Tolar
John Mullins
Jim Faircloth
1980
John Mullins
Bill Tolar
Jim Faircloth
Ray Wagner
Isaac Byrd
1981
Bill Tolar
Isaac Byrd
Wilmont Edwards
Ray Wagner
John Hutt, Jr.
1982
Isaac Byrd
Ray Wagner
Wilmont Edwards
Bill Tolar
John Hutt, Jr.
1983
John Hutt, Jr
Wilmont Edwards
Isaac Byrd
Helen Ingram
M.B. Miller
1984
Isaac Byrd
Helen Ingram
Wilmont Edwards
John Hutt, Jr.
M.B. Miller
1985
Helen Ingram
M.B. Miller
Isaac Byrd
John Hutt, Jr.
Tommy Loftin
1986
Isaac Byrd
Helen Ingram
M.B. Miller
John Hutt, Jr.
Tommy Loftin
1987
Isaac W. Byrd
Tommy Loftin
John Hutt, Jr.
Ralph Burgess
Harold Phillips
S. Richard Seltzer
1988
Ralph Burgess
Harold Phillips
John Hutt, Jr.
S. Richard Seltzer
Tommy Loftin
1989
S. Richard Seltzer
Tommy Cooley
Mike Nelson
Ralph Burgess
Harold Phillips
Cliff Fleming, Jr.
1990-1989
Tommy Cooley
Mike Nelson
Ralph Burgess
Cliff Fleming
S. Richard Seltzer
1990-1991
Mike Nelson
Jack Hamm
Tommy Cooley
Danny Sparks
S. Richard Seltzer
1991-1992
Jack Hamm
Danny Sparks
Mike Nelson
Tommy Cooley
S. Richard Seltzer
1992-1993
Danny Sparks
Carol Atkinson
Jack Hamm
John Robbins
Rick Hurst
1993-1994
Carol Atkinson
John Robbins
Jack Hamm
Danny Sparks
Rick Hurst
1994-1995
John Robbins
Rick Hurst
Carol Atkinson
Danny Sparks
Richard Stewart
1995-1996
Rick Hurst
Carol Atkinson
John Robbins
Richard Stewart
Danny Sparks
1996-1997
Richard Stewart
Marc Nolen
Robert Wright
Carol Atkinson
Danny Sparks
1997-1998
Danny Sparks
Marc Nolen
Robert Wright
Richard Stewart
Carol Atkinson
1998-1999
Carol Atkinson
Marc Nolen
Robert Wright
Richard Stewart
Danny Sparks
1999-2000
Marc Nolen
Robert Wright
Carol Atkinson
Richard Stewart
Danny Sparks
2000-2001
Micheal J. Ropa
Cornel Brock
John G. Newberry, Jr.
Danny Sparks
Richard Stewart
2001-2002
Cornel Brock
John G. Newberry, Jr.
Danny Sparks
Richard Stewart
Michael J. Ropa
2002-2003
Jerry L. Girvin
John G. Newberry, Jr.
George B. Gainer
Cornel Brock
Michael J. Ropa
2003-2004
George B. Gainer
Cornel Brock
Jerry L. Girvin
John G. Newberry, Jr.
Michael J. Ropa
2004-2005
George B. Gainer
Mike Nelson
Jerry L. Girvin
William T. Dozier
Mike Thomas
2005-2006
Mike Nelson
Jerry L. Girvin
George B. Gainer
William T. Dozier
Mike Thomas
2006-2007
Mike Nelson
Jerry L. Girvin
George B. Gainer
William T. Dozier
Mike Thomas
2007-2008
Mike Nelson
Jerry L. Girvin
George B. Gainer
William T. Dozier
Mike Thomas
2008-2009
George B. Gainer
Mike Nelson
Jerry L. Girvin
William T. Dozier
Mike Thomas
2009-2010
Mike Nelson
Jerry L. Girvin
George B. Gainer
William T. Dozier
Mike Thomas
2010-2012
Mike Nelson
George B. Gainer
William T. Dozier
Guy M. Tunnell
Mike Thomas