The act creating Dawson County empowered the judges of the inferior court to select a site for location of the county seat. They selected a site and named it Dawsonville in honor of William C. Dawson.
Dawson County's first courthouse was a two-story brick building located in the town square of Dawsonville. That building served as courthouse until 1978, when a modern two-story courthouse was built a block north of the old courthouse.
Dawson County was created on Dec. 3, 1857 from Gilmer and Lumpkin counties by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1857, p. 32). Georgia’s 119th county was named in honor of noted lawyer, state legislator, soldier, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator William C. Dawson, who had died the previous year.