GSB Vol. 17, NO. 6, Pg. 28. The Polk County Courthouse at Cedartown:The Grand Old Courthouses of Georgia.

Authorby Wilber W. Caldwell

Georgia Bar Journal

Volume 17.

GSB Vol. 17, NO. 6, Pg. 28.

The Polk County Courthouse at Cedartown:The Grand Old Courthouses of Georgia

GSB JournalVol. 17, NO. 6April 2012The Polk County Courthouse at Cedartown:The Grand Old Courthouses of Georgiaby Wilber W. CaldwellPolk County was created in 1851 from Floyd and Paulding Counties, and Cedartown was laid out shortly thereafter. The county's first courthouse rose in 1852, and according to local legend, it was burned along with 65 other buildings in Cedartown by elements of Kilpatrick's Union cavalry in 1864. This is not likely; in fact, it seems quite unlikely that there were 65 buildings in Cedartown in 1864. About all the reliable Adiel Sherwood could say about Cedartown in his 1860 Gazetteer of Georgia was that it was "not a large place."

As to Federal incendiaries, Union Orders document a considerable Federal force at Cedartown in late 1864, but no Confederate or Union military records mention the destruction of the courthouse or the town. The record reveals only that Kilpatrick was needed at Cedartown on October 31. It is unclear whether or not he ever arrived. We are told only that Federal soldiers foraged at Cedartown where they, "took much," but left "plenty of corn and pigs." Whatever the case, local sources tell us that a new courthouse was completed in 1867.

Although Cedartown had been nothing but a dusty hamlet before the war, the town experienced a post-Civil War boom, which was not typical in Georgia. At the heart of this progress were the region's iron deposits and efforts to establish pig iron production in western Georgia and eastern Alabama. These efforts met with considerable initial success. In Cedartown, under the direction of New Yorkers, Amos G. West and W. C. Browning, The Cherokee Iron Company built a blast furnace in 1873. At about the same time the company purchased The Cartersville and Van Wert Railroad, the bankrupt remains of one of Hannibal Kimball's flimflam Reconstruction railroading schemes, which, at the time, extended only 14 miles from Cartersville to the village of Taylorsville. Reorganized as The Cherokee Railroad, the narrow gauge line was extended via Rockmart to Cedartown. By 1882, the Cherokee Iron and Railroad Company was experiencing financial difficulties, and Browning organized The East and West Railroad Company of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT