Jonesboro, the county seat for Clayton County, incorporated as a town December 13, 1859. Residents originally called the city Leaksville. When the railroad passed through the area, however, residents renamed the city to honor Captain Samuel G. Jones, one of the line's surveyors.
The Battle of Jonesboro marked the end of the Atlanta Campaign during the Civil War. When federal troops seized control of the railroad in Jonesboro, all supplies to Atlanta were cut off.