Lumpkin County courthouse in Dahlonega
Lumpkin County's first courthouse was a log cabin at the gold rush town of Auraria. In 1836, the county built a two-story brick courthouse (see photos and story
), which served until a new courthouse was built in 1965. Since that time, the former courthouse has served as the Dahlonega Gold Museum.
Lumpkin 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 :
. . . so much of the said county of Cherokee as lies within the fourth, fifth, twelfth, thirteenth, fifteenth, and such parts of the sixth and eleventh districts of said first section, as lies south of the mountains, to be more particularly designated by a line hereafter to be run including such parts of the counties of Hall and Habersham herein-before added to said county of Cherokee, shall form and become one county, to be called Lumpkin.
In way of background, by 1830, the Cherokee Nation consisted of most of northwest Georgia (see map
), 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" (see map
) 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 82nd county was named for Georgia governor Wilson Lumpkin
, who held office at the time of the county's creation. Formerly U.S. representative, and later elected U.S. senator, Lumpkin was active in all three roles in seeking removal of Georgia's Cherokee Indians.
In 1857, part of Lumpkin County was used to help form Dawson County.
Dahlonega [name derived from Cherokee phrase for "golden color"; incorporated as Talonega and designated county seat on Dec. 21, 1833; redesignated Dahlonega in 1835]
Previous county seat:
Auraria [formerly named Nuckollsville and designated provisional county seat when Lumpkin County was created 1832].