Johns Creek's past began in the early 19th century in the trading posts along the Chattahoochee River in what was then Cherokee Indian territory.
Through the years, the trading posts grew slowly into crossroads communities where pioneer families - Rogers, McGinnis, Findley, Buice, Cowart, Medlock and others - gathered to visit and sell their crops. Today, reminders of those early farming families are still with us as we travel along streets and bridges named after them.
By 1820, the community of Sheltonville (now known as Shakerag) was a ferry crossing site with the McGinnis Ferry and Rogers Ferry carrying people and livestock across the river for a small fee. Further south on the river, the Nesbit Ferry did the same near another crossroads community known as Newtown.
In the 1820s, the discovery of gold in the foothills of Northeast Georgia inside the Cherokee Nation - approximately 45 miles north of today's Johns Creek - led to America's first Gold Rush, the eventual takeover of the Nation by the U.S. government in 1830 and the subsequent force flight ("Trail of Tears") of Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma and other areas of the west.
A few Cherokees remained, the most famous being Sarah Cordery (1785-1842), the half-blood Cherokee wife of pioneer John Rogers (1774-1851), and their 12 children, including William Rogers (1805-1870), who fought for Cherokee rights during the last years of the Nation's existence in Georgia.
John Rogers was a respected, influential plantation owner, Indian countryman, and colleague of President Andrew Jackson. Rogers' 1804 home - today, a private residence in Johns Creek - was an overnight stopover for Jackson. Much later, the home was also visited by famed journalist Will Rogers, the great, great nephew of John Rogers.
In 1831, much of the land in the former Cherokee Nation north of the Chattahoochee was joined into one big county called Cherokee. When Milton County was formed in 1858, the Johns Creek area was folded into it. Finally, in the 1930s during the Depression, Milton County was dissolved and all its land was absorbed into Fulton County.
By that time, four main crossroad communities had developed into the social, educational and business centers of this rural, unincorporated northeast Fulton County: Ocee, Newtown, Shakerag, and Warsaw.
For the next 50 years, these communities helped bring a sense of identity to the largely undeveloped and under-populated area, as the nearby cities of Roswell, Alpharetta, Duluth and Suwanee, and adjoining Forsyth and Gwinnett counties continued to grow and develop.
In 1981, the founders of Technology Park/Atlanta (a technology business park established in 1970 by Georgia Institute of Technology graduates) bought 1,700 acres of rural land along McGinnis Ferry Road and Medlock Bridge Road / GA 141 to build a second campus/master planned community.
Spotting tiny Johns Creek on an old map, they named their mixed-use community Technology Park/Johns Creek. It was the first reference to Johns Creek as a place and it grew over the years to become the home of 200 companies - many of them Fortune 500 firms - with nearly 11,000 people spread over 6 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial space.
By 2000, a grassroots movement to incorporate the Johns Creek area into a city was slowly developing. It was only one of three main communities north of the Chattahoochee in Metro Atlanta that was not incorporated by that time. (Today, all of Fulton County north of the Chattahoochee River is incorporated).
Following Sandy Springs' successful incorporation in 2005, a legislative campaign was begun to incorporate the Johns Creek community. House Bill 1321 was passed, signed by Governor Sonny Perdue in March 2006 and approved by the residents of northeast Fulton in a July 2006 voter referendum.
In November 2006, the City's first elected officials were voted into office, with the City of Johns Creek becoming official December 1, 2006.