The current courthouse is the fourth courthouse in Laurens County
history. At the time of the county's creation in Dec. 1807, there
was no county seat or courthouse. The act creating Laurens County
provided that courts and public business initially be held at
the house of Peter Thomas (Ga. Laws 1807, p. 3). Sumterville
was designated county seat in 1809, but it is not clear what
served as courthouse. The legislature moved the county seat to
Sand Bar on the Oconee River in 1810, and then to Dublin in 1811.
A temporary courthouse was built in 1811 in either Sand Bar or
Dublin. At some point after Dublin became county seat, a two-story
courthouse was built. The third Laurens County courthouse --
a large, two-story brick structure with imposing clock tower
-- was built in 1895 [see postcard
2, and postcard
3]. This building served until a new one-story courthouse
was constructed in 1962.
County Courthouse Historical
Laurens County was one of six new counties created by an act
of the General Assembly approved Dec. 10, 1807 (Ga. Laws 1807,
p. 3). According to that legislation, Laurens County's original
boundaries were specified as:
. . . all that tract or parcel of land herein after pointed
out, long and being in the county of Wilkinson, beginning at
the mouth of Big Sandy Creek, on the Oconce river, running
south sixty degrees west to the Ocmulgee river; thence down
the meanders of the same to the upper corner of the fourteenth
district on said river; thence north sixty degrees cast to
the Oconee river; thence up the same to the beginning. . .
Georgia's 34th county was named for Col. John Laurens of South
Carolina. Laurens, who had been aide-de-camp to George Washington,
was involved in numerous battles -- including the siege of Savannah
-- and was killed in battle in 1782.
On Dec. 13, 1808, the legislature created Pulaski County from
Laurens County (Ga. Laws 1808, Nov.-Dec. Sess., p. 52). On Dec.
11, 1858, portions of Laurens County were used to create Johnson
County (Ga. Laws 1858, p. 32).
The Dec. 1807 legislation creating Laurens County made no provision
for designating a county seat but provided that courts and public
business be conducted at the house of Peter Thomas. It is not
clear where Thomas lived, but it may have been at or near a settlement
known as Sumterville, which was situated on the confluence of
Turkey Creek and the Oconee River about eight miles from what
would become Dublin.
On Dec. 1, 1809, the General Assembly designated Sumterville
as county seat (Ga. Laws 1809, p. 10). However, on Dec. 13, 1810,
the legislature named John G. Underwood, Jethro Spivey, Benjamin
Adams, John Thomas, and William H. Mathews as commissioners to
purchase up to 200 1/2 acres at or within two miles of the place
known as Sand Bar on the Oconee River for location of the county
seat (Ga. Laws 1810, p. 95). The commissioners selected land
lot 232 in the 1st District -- site of the new town of Dublin
-- and on Dec. 13, 1811, the legislature formally designated
Dublin as county seat. Jonathan Sawyer, an Irish immigrant, had
agreed to donate the land for erection of public buildings providing
the town was named for Dublin, Ireland -- the original home of
his wife. The General Assembly incorporated Dublin by an act
of Dec. 9, 1812 (Ga. Laws 1812, p. 94).
Size of County (Total
Area): 818.6 square miles
County Rank in Total
Area: 4th out of 159
City of Dublin