Our History

How did Pickens get its name?

Andrew Pickens

Andrew Pickens (September 13, 1739 – August 11, 1817) was a militia leader in the American Revolution.

Pickens also led a campaign in north Georgia against the Cherokee late in the war; they had allied with the British in an effort to expel European Americans from their territory. His victorious campaign resulted in the Cherokee ceding significant portions of land between the Savannah and Chattahoochee rivers in the Long Swamp Treaty, signed in what is currently Pickens County, Georgia.

The History of Pickens County

Pickens County lies at the southern end of the Appalachians in North Georgia. The Cherokee Indians called this area home after they were forced from the Carolinas in the 1770’s. In 1805, the Federal Government forced the Cherokees to accept a road through their lands to Nashville. Portions of the Old Federal Road are still visible in the County today. The Cherokee lands were distributed to white men by Georgia in 1832 Land Lottery. The thirst for gold discovered in these lands forced the Cherokees to move westward in the now infamous Cherokee Removal or Trail Of Tears of 1838.

The County was formed from portions of the southern part of Cherokee and the northern part of Gilmer Counties in 1853. During the Civil War, some Pickens Countians were pro-Union. For almost a month after Georgia seceded, the Union flag flew from the Court House, but Pickens County sent six companies to the Confederate Army. There were no major battles fought in the County, though some guerilla warfare did occur.

Pure Marble

Pickens County is renowned for its exceptionally pure marble. The deposit is five to seven miles long, one/half wide and as deep as 2,000 feet. This marble was known and used by the Indians as early as 800 AD. Henry Fitzsimmons, came to America from Ireland c1819. He was the first man to introduce the sale of Georgia Marble on the present site of the Southern Company(Now Georgia Marble) and established the first marble quarries and the first marble mill in the 1830’s. The Georgia Marble Company was organized in 1884 and leased all of the Tate Marble lands. The coming of Marietta & North Georgia Railroad into Pickens County in 1883 opened outside markets for Georgia marble.

Colonel Sam Tate

Col Sam Tate became President and General Manager of Georgia Marble Company in 1905. The firm grew rapidly until concrete replaced stone as building material. Georgia marble was used in the construction of many notable buildings, including the Lincoln Memorial, House Office Building, East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, National Air and Space Museum, New York Stock Exchange Annex, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain, and Bok Sing Tower in Florida.

Georgia Marble
Preservation Marble Works