From its county population in 2000 of 23784 to its current population estimate of 28829, the county has experienced a growth change of 5045.
Gilmer County was created in 1832 from part of Cherokee County. Georgia's 84th county was named for George Rockingham Gilmer, a State Legislator, member of Congress, and Georgia Governor from 1829 to 1831 and from 1837 to 1839.
Ellijay was the site of an Indian village and bears an Indian name meaning "earth green there." Cherokee Indians lived in this area until their removal in 1838 to Oklahoma via the "Trail of Tears."