The legislation creating Johnson County named five commissioners with responsibility for selecting the location of the county seat. The commissioners were authorized to purchase a tract of land for laying out a town, while the justices of the county's first inferior court were responsible for having a courthouse and other public buildings constructed. In 1859, William Hicks donated land for the county seat. That same year, the county's first courthouse -- a wooden building -- was constructed. The legislation creating Johnson County directed that the county seat be named Wrightsville. It was named for John B. Wright, who was one of the five commissioners selected by the legislature to select the location of a county seat. Wright, an early resident of the area, may have been involved in the movement to create a new county. In any event, local voters subsequently elected him to the Georgia Senate (where he served from 1861-63). On Feb. 23, 1866, the legislature incorporated Wrightsville (Ga. Laws 1865-66, p. 296).
Johnson County's first courthouse was a wooden structure built in 1859. It is unclear how long that building was used. The county's present courthouse was built in 1895. It was remodeled in 1938, at which time the clock tower was reduced in size and substantially altered. A major restoration of the courthouse was completed in 1996.
306.5 Square Miles
Johnson County was created on Dec. 11, 1858 by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1858, p. 32). Formed from portions of Emanuel, Laurens, and Washington counties, Georgia’s 130th county was named for Herschel Johnson, who had served as governor (1853-57) and had run as Democratic vice presidential nominee in Stephen Douglas’s unsuccessful race for the presidency in 1860.