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Date Built: 1977
Other Information: Forsyth County's first courthouse was built sometime in 1833 or 1834. The earliest date construction could have begun was March 1833, the date specified in the Dec. 1832 act creating Forsyth County for election of inferior court judges. The legislation empowered the judges to select a site to serve as county seat and to provide for construction of a courthouse. By Dec. 1834, it is clear that a courthouse had been built, for the Dec. 22, 1834 act incorporating the town of Cumming also provided: "That the public buildings in the town of Cumming in the county of Forsyth be, and the same are hereby declared the permanent seat of justice for said county." This courthouse served until 1900, when it burned. A new two-story brick courthouse with clock tower was completed in 1905 [see photo 1 and photo 2]. This courthouse was used until it burned in 1973. County officials were forced to use temporary offices until the present courthouse was completed in 1977. Because of Forsyth County's rapid population growth in the 1990s, county commissioners authorized construction of a large county administration building across the street from the courthouse and completed in 1996 [see photo].
County Courthouse Historical Marker: Click here
County History: Forsyth 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 that act, Forsyth County was formed from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 14th districts in the first section of Cherokee County
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.
Georgia's 81st county was named for former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Ambassador to Spain, U.S. Secretary of State, and Georgia Governor John Forsyth (1780-1841). In particular, it was Forsyth's insistence that Cherokee lands fell under the jurisdiction of Georgia state law that helped force the removal of the Cherokees to the West and the opening up their lands (including those from which Forsyth County was created) to white settlement.
In 1857, portions of Forsyth County were used to help create Milton County.
County Seat: The Dec. 1832 act creating Forsyth County provided for election of county officials -- including five judges of the inferior court -- in March 1833, with the election to take place in the home of William Hammons. The act further directed the inferior court judges so elected to pick a site for county seat and to provide for the erection of a courthouse and other county buildings. What served as county courthouse in 1833 and 1834 is not known. Sometime during 1833, a community known as Cumming was settled. In January 1834, the town got a U.S. post office. On Dec. 18, 1834, the General Assembly incorporated Cumming and designated it Forsyth county seat. The town was named for Col. William Cumming (1788-1863). [Click here to view a state historical marker with biographical information on Col. Cumming.]
Size of County (Total Area): 247.4 square miles
County Rank in Total Area: 126th out of 159
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