History

 

Floyd County GAGenWeb

 

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Although some contemporary historians dispute deSoto's arrival at an American Indian village in the vicinity of Rome, most agree that he passes this way in 1540 with some 600 men. Within twenty years these mound builders are gone, victims of some disaster that has been lost to time.

The area had been partially settled by the Abihka tribe of the Creek Indians which later became part of the Upper Creek.  They later became the Ulibahalis.  The Ulibahalis migrated into Alabama and the Cherokee moved in this area of Georgia because of European/American encroachment.  There was a Cherokee village named Chatuga near the Coosa River.  Several Cherokee leaders settled in the area including Major Ridge and John Ross.  Major Ridge's house was preserved and adapted as a museum in 1971 called Chieftains Museum and is part of the National Historic Landmarks.   It is part of Riverside Park in Rome, GA.

Governor of Tennessee John Sevier raids the city and fights a pitched battle in the vicinity of Myrtle Hill Cemetery in 1792. The raid is in retaliation of an attack by Cherokee warriors in Tennessee, brought on by the freeing of a man President Washington orders tried for the murder of a Cherokee. In spite of overwhelming evidence that the man committed murder and a United States President orders the trial he is freed, solely because Sevier is a close friend and courts rarely convicted Whites in crimes against Cherokee.

 

Missionaries joined the few Whites that had been accepted by the Cherokee after 1800. Head of Coosa becomes home to a number of Cherokee dignitaries including Major Ridge and Chief John Ross, leader of the fledgling Nation. Both have multiple business ventures and impressive houses (see Chieftains Museum) in the city, but the main source of income for them are ferries operated by slaves. Building a capital at New Echota, a day to the east, a spirit of nationalism sweeps the Cherokee.

 

Floyd County was part of the 1832 land lottery, and more settlers started to move into the area shortly after.  Floyd County was formed December 3, 1832.  The County seat was originally Livingston.  It was moved within two years to Rome.

 

The city of Rome was founded in 1834 by Col Daniel R Mitchell, Col Zachariah Hargrove, Major Philip Hemphill, Col William Smith and Mr John Lumpkin (who was the nephew of Gov Lumpkin).  The name of the city was chosen by names being put into a hat.  Georgia Legislature made Rome an official city in 1835.  Rome's wide streets impress even the casual tourist. Using a chain an early resident lays out the streets. Two of them are 132 feet across. Rome's first courthouse is built of brick in 1835. Whites gladly appropriate ferries run by Ross and Ridge, and with the early agriculture, these are the main businesses of the early days.

 

 Floyd County sent many of its men to the Civil War to fight for the confederacy.  In 1863 Rome was defended by General Nathan Bedford Forrest against Col Abel Streight in the area of Cedar Bluff Alabama.  Col Streight surrendered a few miles from Rome.  The City Council of Rome allocated  money to build three fortifications to help defend against the Union.  The forts were: Fort Attaway (west bank of Oostanaula River); Fort Norton (on the eastern bank of the Oostanaula) and Fort Stovall (on the southern bank of the Etowah River). 

Cotton, textiles and lumber were the main crops.  The Railroad came into the area creating a hub in Floyd County and it became a textile hub. 

 

Population of Floyd County was 4,441 and rose to 15,195 by 1860.  In 1880 the population was 24,418.  It has continued to rise every census and now is about 100,000.

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This page was last updated on -04/21/2018

 

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