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Dawson County HistoryDawson County was created by a legislative Act on December 3, 1857, primarily out of Lumpkin County and small parts of Gilmer, Pickens and Forsyth counties. The county was name for William C. Dawson, who served in Congress from 1836 to 1842 and in the U.S. Senate from 1849 until 1855.
Among the first structures built in Dawsonville were a log courthouse and a wooden reinforced jail. The original courthouse was replaced in 1860, by the historic courthouse which still stands in the middle of Dawsonville. The original jail was destroyed by fire soon after it was completed during a failed escape attempt. The county was without a jail until 1881, when the historic jail was completed. During the period when no jail was available, county officials relied on jails in surrounding counties to house prisoners. The old jail is located west of the courthouse and, along with the historic courthouse, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Both the jail and the courthouse have undergone extensive renovation to restore them to their original appearance. The Dawson County/Dawsonville Welcome Center is currently housed in the historic jail.
Prior to the creation of Dawson County, the area enjoyed a rich history. Originally settled by the Cherokee Indians at about the time of the American Revolution, the river valleys were dotted with farms, orchards and numerous modern log structures. Native Americans thrived in the area until the discovery of gold in 1829. By 1832, prospectors had over run much of the area and Georgia claimed the region as a new territory. During 1838, those Native Americans who had not voluntarily moved west were forcibly removed to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears. Although absent as a people from the area for more than 150 years, the legacy of the Cherokee remains in many names found throughout Dawson County: Amicalola, which means "tumbling waters", Etowah, Toto Creek - named for the Cherokee Toter family, and a host of other local names. Throughout the 1830's and 1840's the area that was to become Dawson County was in the midst of the first gold rush in America. Numerous mines and mining operations - some within the city limits of Dawsonville - were located throughout the area. Remnants of these mines and small mining projects can still be found within the county . Soon after the creation of the county, the Civil War brought about great division among the citizens. Indeed, Dawson County provided both Confederate and Union units during the war while divided loyalties separated churches and communities alike.
During and after the 1880's, large commercial gold mining operations were established in the area; however the population continued to decline as citizens fled the mountains for factory jobs in Atlanta - establishing neighborhoods such as Cabbagetown. Between 1880 and 1980, declining farm profits and increasing industrial employment opportunities elsewhere caused an out-migration of over one thousand people.
Moving to Dawson County?As you can see, Dawson County has a rich heritage and an exciting future. If you'd like more information about purchasing a home or land in Dawson County, give Chris McCall a call today - (770) 297-2401 or drop us an email.
Source: Dawson County Chamber of Commerce