My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HOMETOWN TUESDAY - Rome, Floyd County, Georgia 1880-1881

Rome, Georgia  ca.1873
An Historical Sketch of Rome, Georgia
[Taken from the first Rome City Directory, 1880-1881]

          "As there has never been a history written it is a difficult matter to give a correct historical sketch of Rome. For the following, we are indebted to the Hon. Judge J. W. H. Underwood, whose father was among the earliest settlers: The court house was first located at Livingston, twelve miles from Rome, on the Coosa river, and through the influence of Daniel R. Mitchell, William Smith, Genubeth Wynn, Zachariah B. Hargrove and Phillip W. Hemphill an act of the Legislature was secured authorizing the removal of the county seat to Rome. By the choice of the people, the election was held and carried. The treaty was made with the Cherokee Indians on the 29th of December 1834, five miles northwest of Calhoun, and was bitterly opposed by their Chief, John Ross. By this treaty, the Indians were removed on the 22nd day of May, 1838, to the Indian settlement west of the Mississippi river. From the year 1838 the town has improved rapidly. In the year 1840 the Rome railroad was completed between Rome and Kingston, which connects with the State road at the latter point. The Selma, Rome & Dalton road was completed in the year 1873; the first steamers were built in 1849 - The Georgia and Alabama - under the auspicious of Wade S. Cothran, and plied their busy wheels between Rome and Greensport, the distance of 175 miles. For many years after its foundation the town of Rome grew slowly and surely, and the people realized the necessity of building up a town and trade for themselves. There are no startling events, no fabulous advances, no thrilling incidents connected with a history of the town. Its history is only that of a quiet village, whose trade for many years was almost entirely local, and which was very little connected with the outside world. The present prosperity of the town is due solely to its commercial enterprise, which, with a healthful situation, a delightful climate, good schools and a brisk trade, there seems no drawback to check its advancement. But Rome's golden days are just ahead when manufactories shall be introduced. The large and beautiful rivers on the outskirts of the town supply sufficient water power to run the largest factories in the State - such as paper mills, flouring mills, and especially cotton factories. What town for its size and population has such receipts of cotton (the receipts last year amounting to about 85,000 bales)? and as soon as this is done the town of Rome will grow to be the town of Georgia, and we feel assured that enterprises of this kind would be encouraged by the citizens of the place.
5th Avenue & Broad Street ca.1870
          The population of the county and various small towns on our railroads is increasing rapidly. Our farmers are beginning to use improved implements; they are also learning that they mnake a permanent investment by enriching their lands; they show great hospitality to strangers. Whether an immigrant ccomes from the North or South, he receives a warm welcome by his neighbors. While our people are taking on much of the enterprise and progress of the age, they do not forget old-fashioned kindness and hospitality.

         Heretofore our town has felt very much the need of a hall for entertainments or public meetings of any kind. Just now, however, a very handsome opera house is being completed by his Honor, the Mayor, M. A. Nevin, solely on his own account, which has very much improved the appearance of our rapidly growing town. The next step required will be street railways, and doubtless in a very few years the town will be able to support this improvement.
Broad Street ca.1890
          The town of Rome is growing rapidly. In the last twelve months many beautiful private residences have been erected, nany of them being stylish and handsome. This is the distributing point for heavy groceries, dry goods and tobacco for several counties, not only in our State, but Alabama; in these articles our merchants do a fine trace. The outlook is very encouraging, and with a few more years of political rest and honest State government, with fair crops, our prosperity will be largely increased. Our county is leading all the counties of the State in the way of good schools, and churches of some sort are in the reach of every family. We believe the watchword of the "Mountain city" is "onward and upward."

Flemming Family in Rome
In the early 1860's James Benjamin Flemming (1827-1907), my 3x-great-grandfather, along with his wife Sarah Linza Jackson (1837-1902) and the first three of their children - Charles Clinton, born June 23, 1854 (my great-great-grandfather); John W., born March 5, 1858 (he died two weeks shy of his 5th birthday, on February 20, 1863) and Thomas J., born July 1860 - relocated from their home in Cassville, Georgia to the nearby town of Rome, in Floyd County, after it was burned to the ground by General Sherman and his Union troops at the end of the Civil War. They had left their hometown of Darlington, South Carolina around 1859, over 330 miles away, traveling west through Columbia, South Carolina, on through Atlanta, to set up house in Cassville. Rome, another twenty miles further west, took in many of the burned out residents of Cassville. James and Sarah had four more children, who would call Rome their hometown - Oscar Eugene, born October 1866; Walter Edward, born July 4, 1869; James Benjamin, born January 4, 1876 (he died at 15-months old on April 19, 1878); and Minnie E., born April 1879. James owned one of the two saddle & harness-making businesses in Rome, located on the main street in town at 314 Broad Street. Sarah died on December 20, 1902; James died December 6, 1907. They are buried together, next to their young sons John and James, in historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

Jackson Family in Rome
William Jackson (1800-1879) and his wife Elizabeth (1802-1870) followed their daughter Sarah Jackson Flemming, her husband James and their young family from their hometown of Darlington, South Carolina, to Rome, Georgia. They arrived in the city sometime after 1860. William worked as a tailor. After his wife's death on February 2, 1870, he moved into his daughter's home, where he lived until his own death nine-years later, on February 5, 1879. William and Elizabeth are my 4x-great-grandparents. They are buried side-by-side at Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

McCaffrey Family in Rome
Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896) and his wife Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey (1838-1917), my 3x-great-grandparents, moved to Rome, Georgia, from their home in Shelby County, Alabama, after the end of the Civil War. Thomas, born in Boston, Massachusetts, and Charlotte, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had left their home in Baltimore, Maryland at the start of the war to support the Confederacy. Thomas, who moved south alone, worked as a moulder in the development of ironworks for the war at Brierfield and Tannehill. Charlotte had given birth to five children before the start of the war - only two lived past the age of six:
  • Thomas Joseph, born May 14, 1854, in Philadelphia;
  • Susan "Susie", born March 3, 1856, in Baltimore; she died in Philadelphia on May 28, 1861, from Scarlet Fever, at the age of 5;
  • Elizabeth Agnes "Lizzie", born December 23, 1858, in Philadelphia - she is my great-great-grandmother;
  • Mary Frances, born March 13, 1860, in Washington, D.C.; she died at the age of 7 months on November 7, 1860;
  • John Beauregard, born November 10, 1861 in Baltimore; he died on June 23, 1863, only 19 months old.
At some point after 1863, and the death of son John, Charlotte and her two children followed Thomas to Alabama, after being forced out of Baltimore by Union control of the city. While living in Alabama, in the cities of Selma and Columbiana, Charlotte gave birth to three more children:
  • Charles Andrew "Davis", born May 2, 1865, in Selma, Alabama;
  • Joseph William "Joe", born January 28, 1867, in Brierfield, Alabama;
  • James Michael "Jim", born February 13, 1876, in Columbiana, Alabama.
 They arrived in Rome in 1872, prior to the birth of baby number nine in December of that year. Five of their children were born in their new hometown:
  • Margaret Loretta "Maggie", born December 18, 1872;
  • Charlotte Teresa "Lottie", born April 5, 1875;
  • William George "Will", born May 31, 1877;
  • Agnes Gertrude, born September 26, 1879; and
  • Marie, born June 21, 1882; she died one month later, on July 18, 1882.
Thomas continued to work as a moulder in Rome, and assisted in the development of the city's water works. Thomas died on May 21, 1896. After his death Charlotte moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to live with daughter Agnes, her husband Edward Joseph O'Brien (1867-1922) and their five children. Charlotte died in Birmingham on June 12, 1917. Thomas and Charlotte are buried at Myrtle Hill Cemetery. They were survived by thirty grandchildren, 17 who called Rome their birthplace.

 The Charles C. Flemming Family in Rome
Charles Clinton, "Charlie" Flemming, oldest son of James & Sarah Flemming, met and married Elizabeth Agnes "Lizzie" McCaffrey, oldest daughter of Thomas & Charlotte McCaffrey, in Rome on April 9, 1877 at the newly built St. Mary's Catholic Church. They are my great-great-grandparents. While in Rome they had five of their ten children:
  • Harry Clinton, born January 12, 1878 - my great-grandfather;
  • Susie Elizabeth, born November 17, 1879;
  • Minnie Agnes "Mamie", born August 12, 1880 (she died October 24, 1881, just 14 months old);
  • Charles Clinton, born September 30, 1884; and
  • Elizabeth Imogene "Imo", born September 28, 1886.
After the birth of Imo, Charles and Lizzie moved to Birmingham, following the railroad as it was being built in the new city. Here they had the last of their family:
  • James Benjamin, born September 27, 1889;
  • Charlotte Teresa "Lottie", born September 3, 1891;
  • Sarah Marie, born December 17, 1893;
  • Thomas Joseph, born January 3, 1896; and
  • Willie May, born January 25, 1898 (she died less than 6 months later, on June 19, 1898).
Charlie and Lizzie died in Birmingham and are buried there at Elmwood Cemetery. Daughters Mamie and Willie May are buried in the family plots at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome.

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