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Rabun County

County Courthouse View large image

Source: David Seibert

Date Built1967
Architecture StyleModern
DesignerJohn H. Harte Associates
Seat InformationThe legislation creating Rabun County authorized the justices of the county's first inferior court to select the site of the county seat. However, on Dec. 15, 1821, the legislature designated land lot 20 in the second district as the county seat, named it Claytonsville, and incorporated it as a town (Ga. Laws. 1821, p. 32). Subsequently, some citizens of Rabun County petitioned the General Assembly to change the location of the county seat, so in an act of Dec. 13, 1823, the legislature changed the county seat to land lot 21, named it Clayton, and incorporated it as a town (Ga. Laws 1823, p. 196). The county purchased 67 acres in land lot 21 from Solomon Beck and proceeded to lay out the town of Clayton.
Courthouse DetailsThe 1819 act organizing Rabun County authorized the justices of the county's first inferior court to select a site for the county seat, to purchase land, and to provide for construction of a courthouse and jail (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 112). Until this was done, the act directed that courts and elections be conducted at the house of Daniel Love. In 1823, the legislature moved the county seat from land lot 20 to lot 21 in the second district, and the county began laying out the town of Clayton, Sufficient lots were sold so that by 1824, the county had raised enough money to construct Rabun County's first courthouse -- a two-story log building completed in 1824. That structure was replaced by a new two-story log courthouse in 1838. In 1878, the courthouse walls and floor began to collapse, so the superior court judge closed the courthouse and directed that court be held in the nearby Masonic Lodge. What served as courthouse for the following 30 years is unclear, but in 1908 a new two-story brick or stone courthouse with central clock tower was constructed. This building served until 1967, when a new one-story courthouse of modern design was completed. More recently, a second floor, new entrance, and a cupola were added to the 1967 structure.
County Data
Population 200015,050
Population Growth8.1
County SeatClayton
County Area377.0 Square Miles
Location MapRabun County Location Map

In the Treaty of Washington signed Feb. 27, 1819, the Cherokees ceded a large area of extreme northeast Georgia. In an act of Dec. 21, 1819, the General Assembly used this cession to create Rabun County, as well as transfer some of the land to Hall and Habersham counties (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 23). [Note: In the official compiliation of 1819 session laws , the act’s approval date is listed as Dec. 16, 1819. However, the enrolled copy of the act in the Georgia State Archives indicates that the act was approved on Dec. 21.]

According to the act creating Rabun County:

“That all that part of the [ceded] territory aforesaid, which lies in the fork of the Chatahoochee and Chestatee rivers, and south-west of a line beginning on the Chatahoochee river, where the line dividing the counties of Hall and Habersham corners on the same, and running thence a due west course, until the same strikes the Chestatee river, be added to and become part of Hall county, and that the same be laid out into three districts, as nearly equal as practicable; and that all of the said territory which lies north-east of the before cited line, and north-west of the Chatahoochee and Blair’s line, until the same strikes the top of the Blue Ridge, be, and the same is hereby added to, and become part of Habersham county, which shall be laid out into six districts, as nearly equal as practicable; and all the balance of the said territory shall form one county, to be called and known by the name of Rabun, and be laid off into five districts, as nearly equal as practicable.”

In an act of Dec. 21, 1819, the legislature organized Rabun County and provided for election of county officials (Ga. Laws 1819, p. 112).

In 1828, the legislature transferred a portion of Habersham County to Rabun County (Ga. 1828, p. 58). According to that legislation:

“. . . so much of the county of Hahersham, as lies north and east of a line, beginning near the upper end of the Falls, on Talloola river, at the corner of fraction, number one hundred and eighty three, in the thirteenth district of said county of Habersham, thence the ridge a north west direction, dividing the waters of said river Talloola, and the waters of Panther creek, Deep creek, and Leuque creek, until said dividing ridge intersects, or strikes what is called Blairs line, thence on said Blairs line, until the same strikes Wild Cat creek, the line dividing Rabun from Habersham county, the same being a part of the thirteenth district of Habersham county, be added to, and become a part of the county of Rabun.”

In 1838, the legislature redefined the Rabun-Habersham county line (Ga. Laws 1838, p. 80). In 1856, the legislature used portions of Rabun and Union counties to create Towns County (Ga. Laws 1856, p. 121).

Georgia’s 47th county was named for Gov. William Rabun (1771-1819), who had died in office two months earlier.

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Legal OrganThe Clayton Tribune
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Historical Population
2010 16,276
2000 15,050
1990 11,648
1980 10,466
1970 8,327
1960 7,456
1950 7,424
1940 7,821
1930 6,331
1920 5,746
1910 5,562
1900 6,285
1890 5,606
1880 4,634
1870 3,256
1860 3,271
1850 2,448
1840 1,912
1830 2,176
1820 524