Swainsboro was thought to have been named after Stephen Swain who represented Montgomery and Emanuel Counties in the state senate for 33 years. The city was created by an act of the Georgia Legislature on December 6, 1812 but was incorporated on February 18, 1854.
The name was briefly changed to Paris by the City Council in 1853 but changed back to Swainsboro shortly after. The name given to the town is unique, as there is only one Swainsboro in the world.
Swainsboro is the county seat of Emanuel County.
Both East Georgia College and Swainsboro Technical Institute are located in Swainsboro.