Madison County residents stepped into the old county courthouse Sept. 6 in Danielsville — and “back in time.”
Local historian Linda Fortson, decked in 1901 attire, greeted Danielsville Fall Festival attendees at the historic county building and took them on a tour of the old structure, sharing history in the process.
“You have just arrived in the year 1901,” Fortson told those on hand. “Before we get started, I would like to let you know that President William McKinley was shot today. He was greeting a group of people at the Pan-American Expo in Buffalo, NY. He was shot by a man standing in line to meet the President. Our prayers go to him and the family.”
Fortson then led a tour of the courthouse, which was constructed in 1901. She told those on hand that the county was formed in 1811 from Franklin, Jackson, Clarke, Oglethorpe and Elbert counties with a population of just over 13,000. She told them that the county was previously occupied by Creek and Cherokee Indians, that Paoli was the first part of the county to be settled and that early Madison County residents came from Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. They were farmers and grew corn, beans and pumpkins. She said some of the first settlers were the Gholston family, who fought the Creek Indians at one point.
“This was the last battle of the Creeks in the county,” said Fortson. “If they had not taken a stand and fought them off, a lot of people could have been killed that day.”
Fortson told the crowd that on July 1, 1812, 50 acres of land was purchased from Henry Mitchell and John Crowder of Hancock County for $200. This land was set in 54 lots and offered for sale at auction that year. It became the county seat. Danielsville was the name chosen for the town, in honor of Gen. Alan Daniel.
“At the time he was the most well known and prominent person in the county,” said Fortson. “He served as general in the War of 1812 and owned hundreds of acres of land and the Daniel Ferry on the Broad River.”
Fortson said the Madison County town of Carlton was also known as Berkley. Comer was also known as Honey Pond and Colbert was also called Five Forks. The first doctor on record in Madison County was George Phillips in 1812. In 1901, the county didn’t have a dentist, but one visited once a month.
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Madison County historian Linda Fortson, dressed in 1901 attire, led citizens through the old county courthouse and “back in time” Sept. 6 during the Danielsville Fall Festival. John Hopkins, dressed as Gen. Alan Daniel, gave locals an overview of the life of Gen. Daniel, for whom Danielsville was named. Zach Mitcham/staff
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