Other Information: At the time of Bartow County's creation
in Dec. 1832, much of what originally was known as Cass County
was occupied by Cherokee Indians, which delayed organizing the
new county's government. In Dec. 1833, the legislature designated
Cassville as county seat. What county officials initially used
as a courthouse is not known, though at some point a courthouse
was built. When Sherman's forces came through Bartow County in
1864, the courthouse and town were burned. In 1867, Bartow County
voters approved a referendum to move the county seat to Cartersville.
For six years, the county operated without a courthouse, but
in 1873 a new courthouse was completed. Unfortunately, it was
located so close to the railroad that court proceedings were
interrupted when a train would pass through town. Still, the
courthouse was used until a new one was built in 1902. [For early
photos of the courthouse, see postcard
1 and postcard
2.] This courthouse is still in use, but the growth of Bartow
County in recent decades led county officials to build the Frank
Moore Administration and Judicial Center in 1992 (see
Moore was sole commissioner of Bartow County from 1980 until
his death in 1991. The complex that bears his name now serves
as the principal courthouse for Bartow County -- though some
court sessions continue to be held in the old courthouse.
County Courthouse Historical
County History: Bartow
County, originally known as Cass County, was created from Cherokee
County on Dec. 3, 1832 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga.
Laws 1832, p. 56). [Click here
for complete text of legislation.] According to the 1832 act
. . . such parts of the twenty-first, twenty-second and
twenty-third districts of the second section as lie west of
the line herein-before designated, and the fourth, fifth, sixth,
fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth districts of the third
section, shall form and become one county, to be called Cass.
In way of background, by 1830, the Cherokee Nation consisted
of most of northwest Georgia (see
map), plus adjoining areas in Alabama, Tennessee, and North
Carolina. Even while Cherokee Indians remained on their homeland
in Georgia, the General Assembly on Dec. 21, 1830 enacted legislation
claiming "all the Territory within the limits of Georgia,
and now in the occupancy of the Cherokee tribe of Indians; and
all other unlocated lands within the limits of this State, claimed
as Creek land" (Ga. Laws 1830, p. 127). The act also provided
for surveying the Cherokee lands in Georgia; dividing them into
sections, districts, and land lots; and authorizing a lottery
to distribute the land. On Dec. 26, 1831, the legislature designated
all land in Georgia that lay west of the Chattahoochee River
and north of Carroll county as "Cherokee County" (see
map) and provided for its organization (Ga. Laws 1831, p.
74). However, the new county was not able to function as a county
because of its size and the fact that Cherokee Indians still
occupied portions of the land. On Dec. 3, 1832, the legislature
added areas of Habersham and Hall counties to Cherokee County,
and then divided the entire area into nine new counties -- Cass
(later renamed Bartow), Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin,
Murray, Paulding, and Union -- plus a reconstituted and much
smaller Cherokee County.
Portions of Cass County were used to created Gordon County
in 1850 (Ga. Laws 1849-50, p. 124).
Georgia's 87th county originally was named for Pres. Andrew
Jackson's Secretary of War, Gen. Lewis
Cass of Michigan. Later, Cass's abolitionist and pro-Union
views made him unpopular in Georgia. Following the death of Col.
Francis Bartow in the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run),
the General Assembly changed the name of Cass County to Bartow
County on Dec. 6, 1861 (Ga. Laws 1861, p. 101).
The 1832 act creating Cass County provided that the first
justices of the inferior court were authorized to select a county
seat and provide for erection of public buildings. What action
the inferior court took is not known, but on Dec. 24, 1833, the
General Assembly designated Cassville as
county seat and incorporated the town (Ga. Laws 1833, p. 318).
An act of Nov. 24, 1857 provided for a referendum in June 1858
to move the county seat from Cassville (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 256).
If a majority of voters favored removal, a second referendum
would be held in August 1858 allowing voters to indicate their
choice for a new county seat.
Presumably, the 1858 referendum left Cassville as county seat.
Six years later, Sherman's forces burned Cassville, leaving Bartow
County without a seat of government. Court sessions were moved
to Cartersville, which prompted another effort to designate a
new county seat.
An act of Nov. 12, 1866 directed that a referendum be held
on the first Monday in January 1867 on the location of Bartow's
county seat (Ga. Laws 1866, p. 36). That act noted in its preamble:
"Whereas, the county site of Bartow county was entirely
destroyed by the Federal army; and whereas, the former citizens
of said town have declined an attempt to rebuild it; and whereas,
the people of said county are desirous of locating the site at
some point on the Western & Atlantic Railroad . . . ."
This time voters chose Cartersville as the new county seat. Cartersville
had been incorporated by an act of Feb. 1, 1850 (Ga. Laws 1849-50,
p. 103). The town was named for Farish
Carter, one of Georgia's largest landowners before the Civil
War and a frequent visitor to the settlement that would later
bear his name.
Size of County (Total
Area): 470.6 square miles
County Rank in Total
Area: 38th out of 159
City of Cartersville