jonesboro georgia is located about twenty miles south of atlanta on the southern edge of the greater atlanta urban sprawl. jonesboro is the county seat of clayton county georgia. jonesboro was originally called leaksville and was settled in the 1820's. the economy of the town grew drastically with the construction of the atlanta-macon railroad in 1846. in 1846 leaksville was renamed jonesboro after civil engineer samuel goode jones who ploted the town's lots. jonesboro continued to prosper until the out break of the civil war in 1861. much of jonesboro's infrastructure was destroyed during the battle of jonesboro in 1864 and the town's econoimy did not recover until the 1880's. jonesboro became famous in the 1930's because of margaret mitchell's civil war era novel "gone with the wind". the fictional plantation "tara" in the novel was inspired by a plantation near jonesboro. of interest to the tourist is jonesboro's downtown historic district and several civil war battle sites.
the most significant historic event in the town of jonesboro was the battle of jonesboro in the civil war. the macon & western railroad ran through jonesboro and was an important confederate supply line to the city of atlanta. general william t. sherman knew if he could sever this supply line the confederates would have to abandon atlanta. sherman sent six divisions under the command of union general oliver howard to encircle jonesboro. the defence of jonesboro was under the command of confederate general william j. hardee who was greatly out numbered. the battle of jonesboro began on august 31 st. 1864 and the confederates were defeated on september 1 st. this decisive union victory led to the union occupation of atlanta. this important victory led to president abraham lincoln's reelection for a second term.