Archives of Floyd County


 
Archives of Floyd County
From the editors of
Roadside Georgia
Established 1832. Named in honor of John Floyd, Military officer, Indian fighter, member of the state and U.S. House of Representatives.

deSoto at the Mississippi
deSoto at the
Mississippi
Courtesy Library of Congress
Rivers told the early history of Georgia and Floyd County claimed portions of three major waterways, for it was at junction of the Etowah and Oostanula that the mighty Coosa formed. And as so frequent in history, the older the story, the more versions there are. Having traversed much of the eastern portion of the state, Hernando deSoto left across the present-day border with South Carolina, returning to the state from the north, traveling south along rivers and creeks to a settlement of Moundbuilders northeast of Rome. Here he heard stories of great wealth nearby and fled the settlement of Etowah towards the town of Chiaha, or Ichiaha or Ulibahali or ...the older the story...

Whatever the name of the village, when deSoto arrived he found a great palisade town which he invaded and enslaved early that autumn, forcing his new subjects to carry off all the wealth of the town and the food as well, leaving only the old and very young to starve during the winter. This scene would be repeated twice more in about the same spot, once when the Cherokee chased the Creek from Coosa, and once when the whites forcibly removed the Cherokee in the Trail of Tears. In the meantime, the "Head of Coosa," as it was known to the American Indians, evolved into a major center and home to, among others, Major Ridge and John Ross, both of whom migrated to the area and had extensive business holdings.

When Georgia decided that the Cherokee could no longer reside on the land they had called home for almost a hundred years, the state divided the land up among the white settlers.

"Head of Coosa" was renamed to Rome because of the seven hills. (A lot was cast of five names. The name "Rome" was drawn at random). Town fathers and area residents began to develop commerce along the trading paths built by the American Indians.

Education played a significant role in the development of Floyd County, with John Jacobus Flourney proposing a School for the Deaf and Dumb as early as 1833. Wilson Lumpkin, then governor, was interested, but events delayed the school until 1846. Although off the course of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in the 1840's, a spur line was built to Rome, which allowed Floyd County to share in the growth that much of the western third of North Georgia experienced prior to the Civil War because of the railroad. By 1860 significant manufacturing and a growing upper class called the city and it's surrounding area home.

With the advent of war, Rome was an early target because of its war production. When Col. Streight began to move through Alabama to attack the city in 1863, Rebel forces under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest tried to divert them by attacking their rear. Forrest's brilliant handling of the situation earned him a hero's welcome from residents of the city and surrounding area.

Two weeks after the start of the Atlanta Campaign Floyd County was under the control of Federal forces under the command of Jefferson Davis(there were two). Later that same year a large number of Confederates returned to Floyd and Chattooga Counties. John Bell Hood, meets his commanding officer, General P. G. T. (Pierre Gustave Toutant) Beauregard in Cave Spring. Afterward they continue west, turning north towards Tennessee during the Nashville Campaign.

After the war, in 1873, Shorter College opened its doors to educate the people in the area and was unusual in the time period since it was not state funded and did not have a religious affiliation. A few years later Martha Berry began teaching the children of Possum Trot and changed education in Floyd County, North Georgia, and the entire state.

Also after the war, Rome became a rail hub and textile center. The importance of rail in the development of Floyd County at this time was significant, providing jobs for hundreds of Floyd County workers, especially in outlying depots.

In 1900, racism raised its ugly head when a group of "whitecaps" attempted to eliminate black landlords and tenants in the area with violence. Throughout the last 25 years if the 19th century and into the start of the 20th century flare-ups of these masked raiders occurred regularly.

Disaster struck northern Floyd County on the evening of March 13, 1913. A tornado touched down near the tiny town of Armuchee heading west. The hamlet escaped the full fury of the storm. Heading west, the twister bore down on Rosedale. As the citizens prepared for bed the storm struck without warning, destroying the city. Curryville, further east, also sustained significant damage.

The formation of Berry College in the late 1920's and early 1930's solidified the county's foremost position in the history of education in the United States. Modern education owes the county a debt of gratitude for its contributions.

Growth in the county was aided by the location of a CCC camp in Rome. Many public work projects were completed by the boys at Camp Armuchee during The Great Depression.

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