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Union County



Courthouse
County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

LocationBlairsville
Date Built1976, 1978
Architecture StyleModern
DesignerReynolds, Bailey, Vrooman (1976); Pope/Pettefer (1978)
Seat InformationThe 1832 act creating Union County authorized the justices of the county's new inferior court to select the county seat. Until such action was taken, elections and court sessions were to be held at the house of Isaac N. Greer. It is not clear how long Greer's house served as temporary county seat, but in an act of Dec. 26, 1835, the General Assembly designated "lot No. 273 of the ninth district and first section of, originally Cherokee, now Union county, and at a place now known by the name of Blairsville" as the permanent county seat of Union County and incorporated it as a town (Ga. Laws 1835, p. 113). The town was named for Francis P. Blair, Sr. (1791-1876), newspaper editor of the Washington Globe and a strong supporter of Pres. Andrew Jackson's reelection campaign.
Courthouse DetailsThe 1832 act creating Union County gave the new justices of the inferior court authority to select a county seat and erect a courthouse and other county buildings. Until that action was taken, elections and court sessions were to be held at the house of Isaac N. Greer. At some point, a log courthouse was built in Blairsville. It is believed to have burned in 1859 and was replaced by a two-story brick vernacular-style building, which served until it was destroyed by fire in 1898. In 1899, a new two-story courthouse with clock tower was built in the town square. In 1971, the courthouse was condemned as unsafe -- but residents were successful in convincing the county's sole commissioner not to tear the historic building down. Thereafter, county court sessions were held in the local civic center, while other county officials continued in the old courthouse or moved to rented office space in several downtown buildings. Subsequently, a site two blocks away was purchased for construction of a new Union County Office Building. This facility, completed in 1976, consisted of the entrance and area to the left of the building in the above photo. However, the new office building had no courtroom, so the civic center continued to serve as temporary courthouse until a judicial annex (the area to the right of the entrance) was constructed in 1978.
County Data
Population21,356
Population 200017,289
Population Growth23.5
County SeatBlairsville
County Area329.2 Square Miles
Location MapUnion County Location Map
History

Union 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 :

  . . . the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth, and so much of the sixth and eleventh districts of the first section, as lies north of the mountains, and of the before-mentioned line to be run, shall form and become one county, to be called Union.

In way of background, by 1830, the Cherokee Nation consisted of most of northwest Georgia , 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” 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 83rd county was named for the Federal Union, making Georgia one of 17 states with a county by this name. At the time of Union County’s creation, many planters and political leaders in the South were upset over a tariff passed by Congress in 1828. Despite the rising sectionalism, a number of Georgians in north Georgia were loyal to the national government. Explaining the origin of Union County’s name, John Thomas, the county’s first state representative, reportedly explained, “Union, for none but Union men reside in it.”

Portions of Union County were used to create Fannin County (1854) and Towns County (1856).

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Historical Population
YearPopulation
2010 21,356
2000 17,289
1990 11,993
1980 9,390
1970 6,811
1960 6,510
1950 7,318
1940 7,680
1930 6,340
1920 6,455
1910 6,918
1900 8,481
1890 7,749
1880 6,431
1870 5,267
1860 4,413
1850 7,234
1840 3,152