History of Adairsville, Georgia
Adairsville used to be a small Cherokee village named after Chief Walter (John) S. Adair, a Scottish settler who married a Cherokee Indian woman before the removal of the Cherokee in 1838. It was part of the Cherokee territory along with Calhoun and including New Echota.
After the removal of the Cherokees, the village became part of Georgia, and the residents built the town keeping the name Adairsville. One of the developers was William Watts who had a lot of railroad business interest in this town. He had brought the Western and Atlantic Railroad from Atlanta (still in use). He deeded land to the railroad, surveyed business lots including hotels, mills, and blacksmith shops around the town where the railroad ran by the 1847 train depot. Watt's plan was successful and brought the town the nickname: "Granary of the State" and led to its incorporation in 1854. He was also a town resident and he had a home that was built around the foundation of an Indian cabin which is on a hill overlooking the town.
During the American Civil War, Adairsville was involved on the side of the Confederate States of America in 1861 against the Union. On April 12, 1862, the steam locomotive General was pursued from Atlanta and passed through Adairsville as its people witnessed the incident during the Great Locomotive Chase. After this happened, Adairians set their own three day street festival in remembrance of the Chase. The Civil War came to the town on May 17, 1864 in full force where the Confederate army failed to defeat Sherman and his Union army during the Atlanta Campaign. This battle is known as the Battle of Adairsville. After the Civil War ended in 1865, Adairsville rebuilt and became a hub for the carpet and textile industries, and for farm and transportation services, including its famous railroad. Some historical buildings still intact in the town include the original train depot which was involved in "The Great Locomotive Chase".
Adairsville is also well known for Barnsley Gardens, now a golf resort. The home was built by Sir Godfrey Barnsley of Derbyshire, England in the late 1840's for his wife Julia. She died before the house could be completed, but it is said that her ghost appeared to Sir Godfrey, telling him to complete the work. It was brought the visions of Andrew Jackson Downing, the architect who designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and White House. The history of the plantation is steeped in tragedy, American Civil War history, and is a must see for any history buff. The ruins of the great main house remain. Almost lost to time and the elements, the land, including all of the ruins, was bought in 1988 by Prince Hubertus Fugger who restored the gardens and renovated the grounds into an upscale golf resort. Now, the history remains, as do the museum and restaurants and people come from miles around, and from outside of the United States to view the beautiful gardens, which are still intact (along with the grave of Sir Godfrey Barnsley's wife, Julia Scarborough, of Savannah, Georgia) and learn the fascinating history of the man and the plantation that Margaret Mitchell used as inspiration for the character of Rhett Butler while writing Gone with the Wind.
The town's genesis was as a small village named in honor of Chief John Adair, a Scottish settler who married a Cherokee Indian girl. The railroad that lies at the center of town was central to its development. Land that was owned by William Watts was in the direct path of the Western and Atlantic Railroad's expansion to Chattanooga.
Watts' home was built around the foundation of an Indian cabin, high on a hill overlooking the present-day town of Adairsville. He deeded land to the railroad and then surveyed business lots. The depot was completed in 1847 and Adairsville grew quickly as mills, blacksmiths and hotels opened around the town square. The town continued to prosper, becoming known as the "Granary of the State," and was incorporated in 1854.
The Civil War brought much action to Adairsville, including the Gravel House Battle (May 17, 1864) and the Great Locomotive Chase (April 12, 1862). The Chase is probably the war's best-known escapade, made famous by a Walt Disney movie of the same name. Each fall, the Great Locomotive Chase Festival, a three-day celebration is held in remembrance of the event (first weekend each October).
Adairsville Depot and the Age of Steam Museum
Today, visitors can see the original depot which witnessed the pursuit of the steam locomotive General. The 1847 Railroad Depot is home to the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum. Open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the museum is a department of the City of Adairsville and introduces visitors to the heritage of one of Georgia's most historic cities.
In the 1940's the chenille textile industry brought many "spreadline" to Adairsville. Visitors along the Old Dixie Highway will recall peacock chenille spreads blowing in the wind. A good time to visit is the first weekend each June for the 90-Mile Dixie Highway Yard Sale. See Events for more details.
1902 Stock Exchange
Today, many of the pre-Civil War homes and churches stand alongside fine Victorian examples in the 170-acre historic district. Explore tree-lined streets and marvel at the interesting history shared by residents in the Adairsville Visitor's Guide brochure. Browse the antique shops and boutiques and stay for lunch or dinner in one of the area's fine restaurants.
Just 5 miles outside Adairsville is Barnsley Gardens Resort. Romanticism envelopes this 1840's estate. Englishman Godfrey Barnsley patterned his estate after the visions of Andrew Jackson Downing, the architect who designed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol & White House. Surviving is a rare view of the antebellum South where heirloom gardens surround the once grand manor house. Today guests can retreat to luxurious suites in English-village cottages. Top off a restful night with a scrumptious meal at the Woodlands Grill or the Rice House restaurant, treat yourself to a signature spa treatment, and play for par on the challenging Fazio-designed golf course.
History of Bartow County
Bartow County was created from the Cherokee lands of the Cherokee County territory on December 3, 1832, and named Cass County, after General Lewis Cass (1782–1866) Secretary of War under President Jackson, Minister to France and Secretary of State under President Buchannan, until renamed on December 6, 1861 in honor of Francis S. Bartow. The original county seat was at Cassville, but after the burning of the county courthouse and the Sherman Occupation the seat moved to Cartersville, where it now remains.
The county was profoundly affected by the Civil War, setting it back economically for many decades. May 18 and 19, 1864, General Thomas led the Army of the Cumberland after General Hardee's Corps of the Army of Tennessee, and General McPherson led his Federal Army of the Tennessee flanking Hardee's army to the west. This huge army was disruptive and sought food. Elements were out of control and sacked homes depleting meager supplies.
Property destruction and the deaths of one-third of the county's soldiers during the war caused financial and social calamity for many.
Slaves gained their freedom, and briefly exercised political franchise through the Republican Party. In 1870, about 1 black family in 12 owned real estate. Over a third of the blacks lived in white-headed households, working as domestic servants and laborers. The great majority of freedpeople were day laborers or farm laborers, while a sizable minority occupied skilled positions such as blacksmiths, wheelwrights, and iron workers.
By the late 1870s, hardship was experienced by everyone. Blacks had been relegated to second-class citizenship by Jim Crow laws.
The earliest evidence of human occupation of the Bartow County Georgia area is the Paleoindian Period (10,000 B.C.) The area's geological attributes, natural resources and favorable climate combined to provide bounty sufficient for large numbers of indigenous peoples. The resulting archeological richness of the Etowah River Valley Region, a 40,000-acre tract spanning the southern third of the county, justified the entire tract being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The first historic documentation came with the 1540 DeSoto Expedition's accounts of the culture at the Etowah Indian Mounds, today a state historic site and public attraction.
The only remains of Etowah, completely destroyed by William Tecumseh Sherman (bio) during the Atlanta Campaign
After the dissemination of the Mississippian Mound Builder Culture, the Creek Indian Tribe inhabited the region until driven south by the Cherokees in the late 18th century. The progressive Cherokee adopted the lifestyles of the European clergy and frontiersmen already forging into the area. Regardless, the discovery of gold in north Georgia in 1828 numbered the Cherokee's days here in their "Enchanted Land." The State of Georgia usurped Cherokee lands and created the county today known as Bartow and nine others in 1832. The Treaty of New Echota of 1835 set the stage for the forced removal of the Cherokee from north Georgia in 1838 with the infamous "Trail of Tears."
Throughout the 1840's and 1850's, the fertile land and rich mineral resources of the Etowah River Valley drew industrious, visionary men and their families. By the late 1840's the Western and Atlantic Railroad spanned the county, connecting her with Atlanta and Chattanooga. While iron production began here as early as 1837, it became a major influence after 1845 with the organization of Mark A. Cooper's Etowah Manufacturing and Mining Company.
"Gentlemen farmers" prospered from crops of tobacco, corn, wheat, as well as cotton. Colleges and academies flourished alongside commerce. Then came the Georgia Secession Convention of 1861.
The county's three delegates voted against secession. (Ironically, one of the delegates, Gen. William B. Wofford, surrendered the last contingent of Confederate troops east of the Mississippi on April 12, 1865 in Kingston,
Bartow County, Georgia.) When the state voted to leave the Union, the county not only sent their men to volunteer but renamed herself and the county seat as well. Bartow County was originally Cass County, in honor of Lewis Cass, of Michigan, Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Cass was renamed "Bartow" in honor of Francis Bartow, who fell at the First Battle of Manassas. A Savannah attorney, Bartow had represented William Henry Stiles, Godfrey Barnsley and other prominent Cass County citizens who moved here from Savannah.
By the end of the Civil War, Bartow County bore little evidence of her antebellum prosperity. 1864 brought rampant devastation. That year, Bartow witnessed the full fury of the Union Force's Atlanta Campaign, the first battle in the CSA's Campaign for Nashville, and the launch of the March to the Sea from Kingston. The county seat, Cassville, with her two colleges, four hotels, wooden sidewalks and proud homes, was destroyed. The populace voted to move their seat of government to Cartersville (named for an important north Georgia planter and entrepreneur Farrish Carter), and began to rebuild.
The Neoclassical Revival Courthouse was built in 1903. Central to the re-birth was the area's natural resources and transportation corridors. The role of the railway was soon supplemented by the "Dixie Highway" which succumbed to Interstate 75. Cotton, corn and wheat farms were joined by peach orchards, textile factories, and a curious cottage industry, chenille tufting, gave rise to the carpet industry. Mining grew in importance, especially the extraction of barite and ochre. While agriculture, mining, and carpet manufacturing remain important economic factors, common products streaming from today's industry include Anheuser Busch beers, Toyo Tires, and Muzzy hunting and fishing gear. Tourism, which flourished in the 1850's with low-landers arriving by trainloads to escape coastal "miasma" and enjoy therapeutic warm springs, is experiencing a vibrant resurgence.
From the late 19th century to the present, Bartow County produced such notable personalities as Gangster Pretty Boy Floyd, humorist Bill Arp, author Corra Harris, baseball great Rudy York, Methodist evangelist Sam Jones, Baptist missionary Lottie Moon, Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris, and Robert Benham, Georgia's first Black Supreme Court Chief Justice.
In 2011 the 10 largest manufacturing employers include:
Georgia Power/ Plant Bowen
T.I. Group Automotive
Aquafil USA Inc.
Applied Thermoplastic Resources
Bartow County at a Glance
Bartow County was formed from Cherokee County on December 3, 1832. It was originally called Cass County for General Lewis Cass, secretary of war under U.S. president Andrew Jackson and the man most responsible for the removal of the Cherokee Indians from northwest Georgia. Cass sided with abolitionists during the Civil War (1861-65), however, and in 1861 the county was renamed in honor of the first Georgia officer to fall on the field at Manassas, Virginia, Colonel Francis S. Bartow.
Etowah Indian Mounds
Native American population included Woodland Indians, Mississippian Mound Builders, Creeks, and Cherokees, who flourished in the fertile plains of the Etowah Valley for thousands of years. A remnant of one of these cultures, the Etowah Indian Mounds, is a state historic site.
Attracted by abundant natural resources and the promise of gold, white settlers acquired land through the1832 land lottery and the 1832 gold lottery. The county seat of Cassville was laid out the next year and incorporated in December 1843. It was destroyed during the Civil War by Union forces in November 1864, and the county seat was moved to Cartersville, the next largest municipality, in 1867. Other municipalities include Adairsville, Emerson, Euharlee, Kingston, Taylorsville, and White.
The Western and Atlantic Railroad (W&A), which paralleled present-day Interstate 75 from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee, played a significant role in the early development of the county. During the Civil War, the W&A was the Confederacy's main corridor through northwest Georgia and was of some strategic value during Union general William T. Sherman's campaign for Atlanta. One of the shortest and bloodiest battles of the war was waged at the deep cut of the railroad at Allatoona Pass. The W&A also figured prominently in the Great Locomotive Chase (also known as the Andrews Raid), which ran through Bartow County.
The Civil War brought numerous skirmishes to the county, particularly in the areas of Kingston and Cassville, where Confederate cemeteries were established. In 1865 the last remnant of the Confederate army east of the Mississippi was paroled at Kingston.
A huge iron belt that runs north to south, almost through the entire eastern length of the county, supported a flourishing iron industry from the 1840s to the 1870s, and evidence of many iron furnaces remains. Chief among iron producers was the Etowah Manufacturing and Mining Company at Etowah, where Cooper's Furnace remains. Iron is no longer mined, but mining and processing of other ores continues. New Riverside Ochre, Vulcan Materials, and Chemical Products are the largest mining industries currently in operation in the county.
Other major industries include Shaw Industries and Anheuser-Busch. Bartow County also serves as the corporate headquarters for Phoenix Air. Until the mid-1970s cotton remained the main crop in this largely agricultural county.
Bartow County is home to Red Top Mountain State Park and Lake Allatoona, which occupy a large portion of the southeast corner of the county. The first African American state park, George Washington Carver, was located in Bartow; it became part of Red Top Park in 1975. Historical attractions include nineteen National Register listings, among them Adairsville Historic District, Etowah Valley District, and the North Erwin Street and North Wall Street Historic Districts in Cartersville.
The county boasts the first outdoor Coca-Cola wall sign, the Euharlee Covered Bridge, and the Friendship Monument in Cartersville. Cultural attractions include museums, performing arts centers, and theatrical companies. Bartow County also hosts the annual Atlanta Steeplechase at Kingston Downs. A campus of Chattahoochee Technical College and a satellite campus for Georgia Highlands College are located in the county, both in the town of Acworth.
Notable people from Bartow County include the evangelist Sam Jones, humorist Bill Arp, novelists Corra Harris and Francis Goulding, Baptist missionary Lottie Moon, iron pioneers Jacob Stroup and Moses Stroup, iron industrialist Mark Cooper, major league baseball player Rudy York, Hall of
Courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development
Fame horse trainer Huratio Luro, and Confederate generals P.M.B. Young and William Wofford. Distinguished politicians include the first woman U.S. senator, Rebecca Latimer Felton; Senator Jefferson Davis; U.S. attorney general Amos T. Akerman; former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Robert Benham; former governor Joe Frank Harris; U.S. Congressman William Felton; and member of the Confederate congress Warren Akin Sr.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population of Bartow County is 100,157, an increase from the 2000 population of 76,019. As the metropolitan Atlanta area expands, Bartow County's continued growth is assured.
Lucy J. Cunyus, History of Bartow County, Formerly Cass (1933; reprint, Greenville, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1994).
Joseph Mahan, A History of Old Cassville, 1833-1864 (Cartersville, Ga.: Etowah Valley Historical Society, 1994).
One Hundred Fifty Years of Cartersville, 1850-2000 (Cartersville, Ga.: Cartersville Magazine, 2000).
Bartow County was created from an early version of Cherokee County on December 3, 1832. Originally it was named Cass County, in honor of Lewis Cass who was Secretary of War under President Andrew Jackson. He was also a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State under President James Buchanan, Minister to France, governor of the Michigan Territory, steered Michigan to statehood, and ran unsuccessfully for U.S. President as a Democrat in 1848. Cass was very much in favor of removal of Cherokee and other Indians from Georgia territory.
The county was renamed in 1861 to Bartow County. This was to honor the Confederate General Francis Bartow, who was killed in July of 1861 in the Battle of Manassas. Only half of his troops were able to arrive in time for the battle. General Bartow moved to the front of his troops and led them down Henry Hill, where he was wounded and died. (Note: By this time Lewis Cass had fallen into disfavor with people in the county due to the fact that he had previously been an advocate for reinforcing the level of U.S., or in other words Union, troops in southern forts.)
Located in the flood plain of the Etowah River, this area was fertile for agriculture, and served early on as a home for Native Americans. These early Indian inhabitants built ceremonial mounds. It is thought that these Moundbuilders arrived in the area around 1000AD, and remained as an active culture until sometime in the 1500’s. They were a transitional culture that exhibited traits of both the Hopewell Indians and Mississippians. The Creek Indian Nation, perhaps descended from the ancient Moundbuilder culture, subsequently controlled this area until around 1755, when they lost control to the Cherokee Nation, with the Creek Indians then moving south. Within the area now called Bartow County, the land between the Etowah and Chattahoochee Rivers was established as, essentially, a combat-free zone where both Creek and Cherokee could pass freely and could meet and trade. (Note: by the time the Spanish expedition under DeSoto entered the area around 1540, the Mississippian Moundbuilder period was essentially over.)
White adventurers and settlers started entering this area around, and just after, 1800. There were several routes established that headed toward the west from North Georgia. Taken together these were know as the Alabama Road, with perhaps the most important route for this being along the Hightower Trail. This route headed west from the Chattahoochee River near the current city of Gainesville and led to Cartersville, and then on west through Euharlee. The area of the state of Alabama especially began to grow following the Creek War. Note: The present city of Cartersville was built on the site of the Cherokee village called Hightower.
In the 1830’s land lotteries were held where settlers and prospectors could win 40 or 160-acre lots. The 40-acre lots were located where it was thought gold might exist, and thus a 40-acre lot was deemed to be as valuable as a 160 acre non-gold lot. While a bit of gold was found in this county, iron proved to be a more abundant mineral here.
Cassville became the county seat in 1833, and evolved into a major center of commerce and culture, include a men’s and a women’s college. At one time, Cassville was larger than either Atlanta or Chattanooga! And by 1850 Cassville had surpassed Ringgold as the largest city in North Georgia. Other principal communities included Kingston and Adairsville, which were major stops on the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Kingston had a large rail yard, and Adairsville had a major maintenance facility for the railroad. The community of Birmingham (which was built on the site of the Cherokee village of Hightower) had a depot. In 1846 Birmingham, Georgia became Cartersville.
The land where the community of Etowah existed is now under Lake Allatoona. (As a side note, Lake Allatoona was built to control the frequent flooding of the Etowah River Valley.) However, in the early days of Cass (Bartow) County, Mark Anthony Cooper was a primary figure in the town of Etowah, promoting facilities for the manufacturing of wood products, flour, and iron (and he bought the iron foundry built by Jacob Stroup). By the 1840’s Mr. Cooper’s Etowah Manufacturing and Mining Company was a thriving business. He was also one of the figures who helped develop the Western and Atlantic Railroad. In addition, he built his own railroad spur past his foundry, called the Etowah Railroad … and it was his engine for this railroad (called the Yonah) that was the first locomotive to give chase after the Union raiders who had stolen The General locomotive from the station at Kennesaw. By the way, a Confederate locomotive (the Texas) that later gave chase after Andrew’s Raiders had to run in reverse for its portion of the chase!
As a side note, the monument which stands today near the railroad depot in Cartersville “is perhaps the world’s only monument erected by a debtor to honor his creditors.” --- Mr. Cooper’s business went through a period of hard times, and in 1854 to stave off bankruptcy he borrowed $200,000 from 34 friends. The loan allowed him to continue his mining business, and by 1860 he had fully recovered financially and was able to pay back, with interest, the money he borrowed. As a gesture of appreciation Mr. Cooper erected this monument with the names of all 34 people who had lent him money. And for a period of time, the mining industry became an important underpinning to the economy of the area. In fact according to the Bartow County History page, “Bartow County and Cartersville are labeled as the oldest continuing mining district in the United States.” Although iron is no longer mined, there continues mining and processing of other ores.
In the Georgia Secession Convention of 1861 the three delegates from Cass County all voted against secession. But when the state voted to leave the Union, lots of manpower and materials from this county became intimately involved in the war.
During the Civil War camps were established in this county to train and house soldiers. One of these camps was near the Etowah River railroad bridge, and the fact that there were so many soldiers close to the bridge may have contributed to the failure of Andrew James’ expedition to burn that bridge during “The Great Locomotive Chase.”
In General Sherman’s march to Atlanta, many areas of this county were destroyed. The communities of Cassville and Etowah were wiped out, and other communities suffered major damage. The Union forces, however, did preserve the iron foundry at Etowah, and used that for their own manufacturing needs. Union forces also preserved the railroad and any other supporting facility that could be an asset to them. In addition to the Great Locomotive Chase (Andrew’s Raiders), another Civil War conflict of significance was the engagement at Allatoona Pass In October 1864, near the Cobb County boundary.
After the Civil War the growing of cotton eventually became an economic staple for the county. But in the 1920’s when cotton prices fell and the boll weevil problem consumed the area, this county fell into major hardship. To somewhat offset this, the state and federal governments began the construction project of completing Highway 41 between Atlanta and Chattanooga. Also approved in the 1930’s was the dam that created Lake Allatoona, which was finished in 1947.
Also following the war, and given the massive destruction at Cassville, Cartersville with it prominent position on the rail line became a magnet, and many people moved from Cassville to Cartersville. Cartersville subsequently became the new county seat. In the 1870’s a new courthouse was built in Cartersville. But due to its proximity to the railroad tracks the location was found to be too noisy. A different courthouse was erected in 1903, and it still stands today and houses some government operations.
Manufacturing has become increasingly important to the county. In 1903 the American Textile Company began operations. And a series of other concerns have continued to move into the area, such as Shaw Industries and Anheuser-Busch, to name just two.
Famous people who resided in Bartow County include former Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris, Rebecca Latimer Felton (the nation’s first female U.S. Senator), evangelist Sam Jones, and newspaper columnist and humorist Charles Henry Smith (“Bill Arp”).