Founders of Rome

By Brett Hart

To the right of Rome’s city Auditorium hangs a marble tablet that was presented in 1933, by the Xavier Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This tablet commemorates the centennial of the founding of Floyd County, Georgia, and the coming of the first settlers to the site of the present city of Rome. This happened more than 60 years before the settlement of Jamestown or Plymouth, according to Verified Chronicles of Spain, which record that in 1540, Ferdinand Desoto and 600 men came to the Province of Ichiaha. That is located at the head of the Coosa River.

As people moved into Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, Native Americans retreated to Georgia. The Cherokee Indians then brought the Cherokee Land Lotto, which divided Georgia into 10 counties. This caused friction between the whites and the Indians, which caused battles between the two parties for the land. In 1828 the Georgia State Legislator passed a law nullifying Cherokee ownership of any land in the state. In 1838 the state legislated a law for the removal of Indians.

The five founders of Rome include: Col. Daniel Mitchell, Col. Zacharia Hargrove, Maj. Philip Hemphill, Col. William Smith, and Mr. John Lumpkin. The team of men met at Maj. Hemphill’s home (Alhambra) where they drew up plans for the new town. They each contributed a name to a hat and the name Rome was picked. It was passed on Dec. 20, 1834, becoming effective in 1835. In 1836, the first steamboat came to Rome, beginning the river trade.

The Civil War soon came to the thriving town when, in 1864, Union troops occupied it from May until November. When General Sherman left Rome on November 10, for his march to Atlanta, most of Rome was burned by his troops before their departure. With the spirit and determination of the citizens, though, a town was rebuilt that would be bigger and better than ever.

Sources from: 

  • romanwebhistoricaldistric.html.
  • All Roads Leads To Rome, By: Roger Aycock

*Brett  Hart is a student of Floyd College in the summer writing class of Pamela Kincheloe, July 1999.