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.
- All Roads Leads To Rome, By: Roger
*Brett Hart is a student of Floyd
College in the summer writing class of Pamela Kincheloe, July