Douglas County is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Formed in 1870 during Reconstruction after the US Civil War, Douglas County was originally named by the reconstruction legislature after Frederick Douglass, the Civil War-era abolitionist. However, at the end of Reconstruction, the second "s" was quietly dropped and the designated honoree was changed to Stephen A. Douglas, an Illinois senator and the Democratic opponent of Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860 as evidenced by a historical marker about the creation of Douglas County:
"This county, created by Act of the Legislature October 1, 1870, was named for Stephen A. Douglas, the "Little Giant," a Vermonter who was Congressman from Illinois 1843 to '47, Senator from '47 to '61, and Democratic candidate for President in 1860 on the ticket with gov. Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, for Vice President. Among the first County Officers were: sheriff T.H. Sellman, Clerk of Superior Court A.L. Gorman, Ordinary Wm. Hindman, Tax Receiver Jno. M. James, Tax Collector M.D. Watkins, Treasurer C.P. Bower, Surveyor John M. Hughey. The county was created from the part of Campbell county which was northwest of the Chattahoochee River. The remainder of Campbell became southwest Fulton at the beginning of 1932."
The Oct. 17, 1870 act creating Douglas County provided that on the first Monday in November 1870, voters of the new county would elect county officers, and also by ballot would select the site of the county seat. In the election, some voters chose a site near the center of the county, but a larger number voted for several different named sites (which may have been different names for the settlement known as "Skinned Chestnut" or "Skin(t) Chestnut"—the early name of Douglasville). Thinking that the majority of voters had intended Skinned Chestnut, the courthouse commissioners chose this site as county seat and proceeded to sell lots and build a courthouse.
However, a group of citizens filed suit against the commissioners. The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court of Georgia, which ruled against the commissioners. However, both sides agreed to postpone further action until the route of the Georgia Western Railroad through Douglas County was determined. To clear up the matter, the General Assembly enacted legislation on Feb. 28, 1874, directing that an election be held on Apr. 7, 1874, to determine the location of the county seat—but with the provision that the site be located on the Georgia Western Railroad. In the election, voters confirmed Douglasville as the county seat. On Feb. 25, 1875, the General Assembly incorporated Douglasville.