|Designer||Cunningham & Forehand|
|Seat Information||The act creating Gordon County provided that an election of county officers would be held on the first Monday in February 1851, after which the new justices of inferior court would be authorized to select a site for the county seat, purchase land, and contract for construction of county buildings. Until a courthouse could be built, the act provided that Gordon County elections and public business take place "at the court-house in the seventh district of the third section." By 1847, the Western & Atlantic Railroad had been built through the western portion of the area that would become Gordon County. In the late 1840s, a settlement developed on the railroad at a site near the Oostanaula River. Originally known as Dawsonville (named for the owner of an early general store), the town was renamed Calhoun following the death of U.S. Senator John C. Calhoun in 1850. Rather than designate the location of the county seat, Gordon County's inferior court called an election to let the voters choose between a site on the Western & Atlantic Railroad or a site more centrally located in the county. Voters chose a site on the railroad, so the inferior court designated Calhoun as county seat in 1851. The legislature incorporated Calhoun in an act approved on Jan. 12, 1852 (Ga. Laws 1851-52, p. 419).|
|Courthouse Details||Gordon County's first courthouse -- a two-story brick building -- was completed in 1852. This structure was destroyed by a severe storm in 1888. A new two-story brick courthouse with clock tower was built in 1889. This building served the county until 1961, when the present courthouse was completed.|
|County Area||357.6 Square Miles|
Gordon County was created on Feb. 13, 1850 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1849-50, p. 124). The new county was formed from portions of Cass (later renamed Bartow) and Floyd counties. All lands that would become Gordon County were originally occupied by the Cherokee Indians—and, in fact, the area was home of New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation. Even while Cherokees remained on their homeland, the Georgia General Assembly enacted legislation in Dec. 1830 that provided for surveying the Cherokee Nation in Georgia and dividing it into sections, districts, and land lots. Subsequently, the legislature identified this entire area as “Cherokee County” (even though it never functioned as a county). An act of Dec. 3, 1832 divided the Cherokee lands into ten new counties—Cass (later renamed Bartow), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, and Union. Cherokee lands were distributed to whites in a land lottery, but the legislature temporarily prohibited whites from taking possession of lots on which Cherokees still lived.
It was not until Dec. 29, 1835 that Georgia had an official basis for claiming the unceded Cherokee lands that included the future location of Gordon County. In the Treaty of New Echota, a faction of the Cherokees agreed to give up all Cherokee claims to land in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina and move west in return for $5 million. Though a majority of Cherokees opposed the treaty and refused to leave, the U.S. and Georgia considered it binding. In 1838, U.S. Army troops rounded up the last of 15,000 Cherokees in Georgia and forced them to march west in what came to be known as the “Trail of Tears.”
Gordon County’s original 1850 boundaries were changed numerous times between 1852 to 1877, during which time the legislature transferred portions of Cass (Bartow), Floyd, Murray, Pickens, and Walker counties to Gordon County, while transferring land from Gordon to Floyd and Murray counties.
Georgia’s 94th county was named for William Washington Gordon (1796-1842), the first Georgian to graduate from West Point and first president of the Central of Georgia Railroad.
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|Legal Organ||Calhoun Times|
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