Gordon County was created on February 13, 1850 by an act of the Georgia General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1849-50, p. 124). The new county was formed from portions of Cass (later renamed Bartow) and Floyd counties. All lands that would become Gordon County were originally occupied by the Cherokee Indians -- and, in fact, the area was home of New Echota, the last seat of the Cherokee Nation. Even while Cherokees remained on their homeland, the General Assembly enacted legislation in December 1830 that provided for surveying the Cherokee Nation in Georgia and dividing it into sections, districts, and land lots. Subsequently, the legislature identified this entire area as "Cherokee County" (even though it never functioned as a county). An act of December 3, 1832 divided the Cherokee lands into ten new counties—Cass (later renamed Bartow), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, and Union. Cherokee lands were distributed to whites in a land lottery, but the legislature temporarily prohibited whites from taking possession of lots on which Cherokees still lived.
It was not until December 29, 1835 that Georgia had an official basis for claiming the unceded Cherokee lands that included the future location of Gordon County. In the Treaty of New Echota, a faction of the Cherokees agreed to give up all Cherokee claims to land in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina and move west in return for $5 million. Though a majority of Cherokees opposed the treaty and refused to leave, the U.S. and Georgia considered it binding. In 1838, U.S. Army troops rounded up the last of 15,000 Cherokees in Georgia and forced them to march west in what came to be known as the "Trail of Tears", making Gordon County the head of this loathsome trail.
Gordon County's original 1850 boundaries were changed numerous times between 1852 to 1877, during which time the legislature transferred portions of Cass (Bartow), Floyd, Murray, Pickens, and Walker counties to Gordon County, while transferring land from Gordon to Floyd and Murray counties.
Georgia's 94th county was named for William Washington Gordon (1796–1842), the first Georgian to graduate from West Point and first president of the Central of Georgia Railroad(See a monument to William Gordon in Savannah, Georgia).