Northwest Georgia’s Floyd County, formerly home to many of the state’s Cherokee Indians, was established on December 3, 1832, two years after the Georgia legislature passed a law extending its jurisdiction over the Cherokee territory in that part of the state. The subsequent 1832 act divided the Cherokee country into ten large counties. Floyd, the eighty-eighth county in Georgia, was named for General John Floyd, statesman and Indian fighter.

Two years after Floyd County’s inception, the county seat was moved from Livingston to a fertile area of land where the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers meet to form the Coosa River; there, the city of Rome was born. Banks, mercantile houses, law offices, stagecoaches, foundries, riverboats, and churches began to appear in the area as new settlers moved into Rome and the surrounding county.

During the Civil War (1861-65), Floyd County experienced its share of hardship and loss. Union troops moved through the area twice in 1864, marching first from Chattanooga, Tennessee, toward Atlanta under General William T. Sherman. After the fall of Atlanta, John B. Hood’s army pushed back through the county toward Tennessee. After the war, the county and its residents began to rebuild and experience economic rebirth. The communities of Armuchee and Coosa found economic strength in the lumber industry. In addition, cotton became central to trade and industry, and such communities as Lindale and Shannon thrived in the growing textile market. The Coosa River took cotton 200 miles to the south, and the Oostanaula River carried it 100 miles to the north. Cotton from Floyd County also found its way to British textile mills in Liverpool and Manchester, as well as to mills in Antwerp, Belgium; Genoa, Italy; Canada; and New England.

Steamship in Floyd County
Steamship in Floyd County

Courtesy of Georgia Archives.

In recent years, the medical field has become a primary economic force for the county. Two major hospitals and a cardiovascular center are located in Floyd County, and the county has become the center for medical care in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.

Cotton Block, Rome
Cotton Block, Rome

Courtesy of Georgia Archives.

Four postsecondary institutions, all based in Rome, make their home in Floyd County. Two, Shorter University and Berry College, are private institutions. Georgia Highlands College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College are two-year state institutions.

Notably, Floyd County  is home to the Rome Symphony Orchestra, the oldest symphony in the Southeast. Founded in 1922, the orchestra was disbanded during World War II (1941-45) until 1944, when Helen Dean Rhodes, of Rome, picked up the conductor’s baton and led the symphony for the next twenty-eight years. The orchestra continues to attract musicians of national acclaim during its annual concert seasons.

Floyd County Courthouse
Floyd County Courthouse

Courtesy of Don Bowman

The King site, the remains of a village dating to the Mississippian Period (A.D. 800-1600), is located on the Coosa River in the western part of the county.

Among distinguished Floyd County residents are Ellen Axson Wilson, former First Lady and first wife of U.S. president Woodrow Wilson; Martha Berry, the founder of Berry College; and John H. Towers, a naval aviation pioneer and World War II military strategist who is honored in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, Floyd County has a population of 96,317, an increase from the 2000 population of 90,565.

Share Snippet Copy Copy with Citation

Updated Recently

Sea Island

Sea Island

3 days ago
Alice Walker

Alice Walker

1 week ago
Christian Science

Christian Science

1 week ago

Explore Georgia’s rich music history

From blues and soul to classical and country—our Spotify playlists feature 130+ songs written and performed by Georgians.

Image

Steamship in Floyd County

Steamship in Floyd County

The steamship J. J. Seay lands at the convergence of the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers at Rome in Floyd County around 1850.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
flo051.

View on partner site

Cotton Block, Rome

Cotton Block, Rome

After the Civil War, the growing economy of Floyd County relied heavily on cotton production. The cotton block in Rome, pictured in the 1890s, was located at the corner of Second Avenue and Broad Street.

Courtesy of Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia, #
flo045.

View on partner site

Floyd County Courthouse

Floyd County Courthouse

The current Floyd County Courthouse, built in Rome in 1995, is the county's sixth courthouse. The building functions as a multipurpose government facility, housing offices for various agencies in addition to the county and superior courts.

Courtesy of Don Bowman