Newton was founded in 1843 after the formation of Coffee County from Dale County's western half. It was the scene for local Confederate recruiting during the Civil War, and was the site of a battle in March 1865 between local Home Guard units and pro-Union irregulars operating out of Florida. The guerrillas, who sought to burn the county courthouse, were repulsed. This event is commemorated by a monument located in downtown Newton, and by periodic re-enactments.