Churches of Marion County
Click thumbnail above to go to church page with additional photos and history
Here is some early Marion County history. Marion County, in west central Georgia, was established by an act of the state legislature in 1827, two years after the Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Indian Springs (1825). Marion,the state’s seventy-second county, was created from a large tract of land ceded from Lee and Muscogee counties, both established in 1826. Named for the Revolutionary War hero General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion of South Carolina, Marion County originally contained almost all the land that now makes up Schley and Chattahoochee counties and part of Macon and Taylor counties. Local citizens designated the town of Horry as the county seat, but Horry eventually lost the distinction to the township of Tazewell, in 1838. After years of political intrigue, the county seat was wrested from Tazewell and bestowed on Pea Ridge in 1849. Local residents felt that the name Pea Ridge did not elicit the respect befitting its new standing and decided to change its name to Buena Vista, in honor of U.S. president Zachary Taylor’s recent victory in the Mexican War (1846-48).
Many of the earliest white settlers of the county were enticed by the combination of the 1827 land lottery and the rich soil that yielded profitable cotton crops. Marion County would see its greatest growth during the 1840s and 1850s. By 1850 the population climaxed at 10,280, of which 3,604 were slaves. Although ready market access by river or railway was nonexistent, the county’s farms prospered by sending their commodities westward thirty-three miles to Columbus. There are no rivers in the county, but it is crossed by a number of creeks, chiefly tributaries of the Chattahoochee and the Flint. The soil is productive. Farming in the southern part of the country was originally the best, but owing to lack of care in its cultivation, has been greatly reduced. The pine lands are now attracting much attention and this section is being rapidly settled. Cotton, corn, wheat, sweet and Irish potatoes, sugar-cane, sorghum, fruits and vegetables are raised. There is still some pine and hardwood timber along the streams, but the lumber trade is very small.
The end of the Civil War (1861-65) was a period of adjustment for Marion County. Reconstruction involved the reordering of political, social, and economic life, which led to fundamental changes in agriculture. Finding itself economically surpassed by more diversified counties, Marion tried to modernize by completing the Buena Vista and Ellaville Railroad in 1884. The county’s vision of a “New South” was never realized, however. Heavily dependent upon agriculture, the county suffered through bank panics, the boll weevil crisis, and the Great Depression, and many residents were forced to start life anew in other, more urban locales.