Meriwether County is home to 7 incorporated cities filled with historic buildings over 100 years old. 500 square miles of beautiful rural countryside, a population of only 22,000 people and fewer than a dozen traffic lights make Meriwether and ideal getaway from hectic city life. The west central location is 60 miles from Atlanta and Columbus and less than 30 miles from LaGrange, Newnan, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, and Thomaston.
In December 1824 President Monroe appointed two Georgians, James Meriwether and Duncan Campbell, to meet with Creeks at their capitol at Indian Springs and secure the final cession. The Creeks were divided on this issue, but Chief William McIntosh finalized the Treaty of Indian Springs and Govenor Troup ordered an immediate survey of the land. This treaty was contested, however, and McIntosh was assasinated, but after further negotiations the terms of the Indian Springs Treaty were ratified.
On February 11, 1828 residents of the newly formed Meriwether County met at the home of Hugh W. Ector and elected officers. Justices of the Inferior Court were selected an authorized to purchase a land lot for a county town, to lay out the town and construct the neccessary buildings. A site near the county was agreed upon and the town was named Greenville in honor of General Nathaniel Greene. Before town lots were sold to residents, the Justices, as required by law, reserved lots for a courthouse, a jail, an academy, three churches and a graveyard.
Through the years, the county has also changed from an agricultural economy, to a manufacturing economy, to a largely consumer based economy, with 48% of the working population holding jobs outside the county. Today, Meriwether County is classified as part of the Metropolitan Atlanta area.
The history of Greenville begins with the creation of the county in 1828. The town was named after General Nathaniel Greene, commander of the Southern Forces in the Revolutionary War. The town was planned around a square for the business section with in the center for a courthouse. "Lots" for residents were laid out on streets extending from four sides of the square and the first lots were sold in May of 1828.
George White, writing in 1849, describes Greenville as a "pretty little village, well shaded. It has a fine brick courthouse, a jail of wood, and a beautiful church belonging to the Methodists, a neat Baptist Church, one academy for males and two for females, and a number of stores." The population was about 500.
In March of 1893 a cyclone devastated Greenville. It was a dark and stormy night as roots of trees came up, roofs blew off, chimneys fell, walls and windows blew out. The folks of Greenville took shelter whereever they could until the cyclone passed. The courthouse and jail were beyond repair, 14 businesses were damaged, and goods lost. Of the 175 residences, only 5 were undamaged. Amazingly, however, only one life was lost. Rebuilding got immediately underway.
Until the coming of electricity in 1910, folks taking evening strolls to see the 1906 courthouse with its massive columns and dome, walked in the glow of of kerosene lamps faithfully lighted by George Lovejoy. About that same time came the first automobile. Dr. R.B. Gilbert, who had built a 3-bed clinic on Talbotton Street, owned it.
The prosperity of the town continued as long as the farms around prospered. For despite its location, good roads, and the railroad-industry never came to Greenville. However, its people and its homes still remain its greatest assets. The town has the distinction of being the home of a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hiram Warner, Associate Justice Warner Hill; and Govenors Joseph M. Terrell, John M. Slaton, and William Yates Atinkson. It has many beautiful homes of historic significance. One can see fine examples of antebellum and Victorian architecture. Today, most of these homes are included in Greenville's "National Historic Distric."