Smaller rivers in Georgia have obscure origins and the Alcovy—which rises in Gwinnett about five miles northeast of Lawrenceville—starts as streams north of the state in a webbed network of remote creeks. It is in Gwinnett that the Alcovy becomes a true river, running down through Walton and Newton Counties and from there to Lake Jackson in Butts County.
A fairly small sixty-nine mile river rising in Gwinnett converges with more powerful sources, ultimately to empty into the Eastern seaboard.
The Yellow River originates from another tangle of springs and rises north of Lawrenceville about twenty miles west of the Alcovy and courses out of DeKalb near Stone Mountain, then through Rockdale and Newton Counties to Lake Jackson as well. Meanwhile the easygoing South River trickles out of Fulton, going through DeKalb and Rockdale and on to the Lake Jackson reservoir also.
A main event for rivers in Georgia is formation of the powerful Ocmulgee, an Indian word for “bubbling water.” Its seaward rush from Lake Jackson is immense, becoming apparent as it rolls southward to Macon. Then going faster than ever, the Ocmulgee converges with middle Georgia’s other main river, the Oconee. Ultimately they form the mighty Altamaha, which roars past the southeastern Georgia port of Darien and empties into the great Atlantic Ocean.
Paul Hudson, historian at Georgia Perimeter College, writes stories for Lilburn Living.