From its county population in 2000 of 15720 to its current population estimate of 18991, the county has experienced a growth change of 3271.
Pierce County was named for Franklin Pierce, the fourteenth president of the United States and an anti-abolitionist from New Hampshire. The county seat is Blackshear, which was named by the state legislature before the town was created. In 1858 those responsible for choosing a site decided to build the community around a depot constructed in 1857 by the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
The Civil War (1861-65) began soon after Pierce County was formed, with the result that many of its healthy young men went to war before they could join in the formation of communities. The few townspeople who remained in the county's 333 households found themselves hosts to a temporary Confederate prisoner-of-war camp from November 1864 through January 1865.
Nearly 5,000 Union captives were brought to Blackshear to prevent their release by Union general William T. Sherman as he marched through the state; the prisoners were subsequently sent on to Savannah for the same reason.
A Confederate prison camp in Pierce County held about 5,000 Union prisoners of war during the last months of the Civil War. Prisoners were transferred to Pierce County from Millen, and possibly Andersonville, so that Sherman's troops would not be able to free them on their march south.