Date Built: 1908
Architectural Style: Neoclassical Revival
Designer: Frank P. Milburn
Georgia's 59th county was named for Stephen Upson, a noted Georgia lawyer of the times. Born in 1784 or 1785 in Waterbury, Conn., Upson graduated from Yale University in 1804. Because of health reasons, he moved southward -- first to Virginia, and then in 1807 to Lexington, Ga. Here, he practiced law and became a respected friend of William Crawford. Upson died in Aug. 1824 at age 40 and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Lexington. Although it is not clear that Upson ever served in public office, his reputation as an attorney and jurist led the General Assembly to name a new county in his honor four months after his death.
Legislation organizing Upson County approved on Dec. 20, 1824, directed the justices of the county's first inferior court to select the site for the county seat, which was to be as near the center of the county "as convenience will admit" (Ga. Laws 1824, p. 45). The justices selected a site on the principal road through the county almost in the geographic center of the new county. It is not clear whether a settlement already existed on this site -- but in any event, the site selected for the county seat became known as Thomaston (named for Gen. Jett Thomas, who fought in the War of 1812 and earlier built the University of Georgia's first building in Athens and the state capitol at Milledgeville). On June 11, 1825, the legislature incorporated Thomaston and designated it as Upson's county seat (Ga. Laws 1825 Ex. Sess., p. 23).