When Bartow County was established in 1832 from Cherokee County, it was named "Cass County" after Lewis Cass, Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson. The name was of Michigan. Nearly 30 years later, General Cass's abolitionist views became an embarrassment to the Confederate populace, and the county's name was changed to honor General Francis S. Bartow, the first Confederate General to die in the Civil War.
Cassville, the original county seat that was burned by Union Forces in 1864, was the site of the first Georgia Supreme Court decision in 1846.
Several notable people have hailed from Bartow County. These include Rebecca Latimer Felton who at the age of 87 became the first woman U.S. senator. She was appointed to fulfill an unfinished term. Sam P. Jones was a nationally known evangelist in the late 1880s. Bill Arp was a famous philosopher and humorist during the Civil War era. Corra Harris, was the author of several books including A Circuit Rider's Life, based on her life as a traveling minister's wife. Former governor of Georgia, Joe Frank Harris, was born in Atco Village, and continues to live in Cartersville.