Elbert County was created by the Georgia State Legislature on December 10, 1790, from part of Wilkes County which had included lands formerly ceded by the Cherokees and Creeks in 1773. It was named for Samuel Elbert, noted general in the Revolutionary War and Governor of Georgia in 1785. After Elbert County was cut off from Wilkes County in 1790, three justices were appointed to select a site for the county courthouse. One of the justices was Stephen Heard, Governor of Georgia in 1780. He came from Wilkes County on horseback.