Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia is the home of former Georgia Governor Joe Frank Harris (1981-1989) and Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Benham. Leadership and vision is a tradition. Former Cartersville Mayor John W. Dent, while serving as President of the Georgia Marble Company and President of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, started the first Georgia Red Carpet Tour.
The leadership ranks at both state and federal levels have been filled by Bartow Countians. In 1922, at age eighty seven (87), women’s sufferage advocate and newspaper publisher Rebecca Latemer Felton became the first female to serve in the United States Senate. Her husband, Dr. William H. Felton had served in the United States Congress (1875-80).
Cartersville resident Amos T. Akerman served as United States Attorney General (1870-71) in the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, was the first head of the Department of Justice upon its inception, and organized the investigative department that became the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He tried the first court case to enforce the Civil Rights Act in 1871.
Bartow County produced two (2) Confederate generals. General P.M.B. Young was an 1861 West Point graduate, best friend and roommate of General George Armstrong Custer. General Young later served in the United States Congress (1868- 1874). President Grover Cleveland appointed him Consul-general to St. Petersburg, Russia, and in 1893 as minister to Guatemala and Honduras.
Confederate General William T. Wofford had opposed secession as a delegate to the Georgia Secession Convention in 1861, but later served with distinction under General Robert E. Lee. In 1865 he was elected to the United States Congress, but not seated because of Reconstruction laws. He was defeated in an election for Georgia Governor in 1871.
Attorney Warren Akin argued the first case before the Georgia Supreme Court. Although he too had opposed secession, he served as Speaker of the House of the Georgia legislature (1861-1863) and was elected to the Confederate Congress in 1863, serving until the end.
English born resident Godfrey Barnsley had served by appointment of President Andrew Jackson in 1829 as vice-consul of the Netherlands and Sicily. He had served as President of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. Sproull Fouche was appointed to the Consular service in Romania in 1920; and, in 1924 was appointed commercial attache to the American Legation at Bucharest, Romania.
William H. Stiles served in the United States Congress (1843-45), and in 1845 President James K. Polk appointed him charg’e d’ affairs to Austria. He was elected to the Georgia Legislature (1855-57), served as Speaker of the House, and elected to the Georgia Senate in 1858.
Mark A. Cooper, lawyer and businessman, developed mining and industrial interests in Bartow County after serving in the United States Congress (1842-43). He was defeated in a bid for the Georgia Governorship in 1842, and later served in the Georgia Senate (1876).
Accomplishments of Bartow County citizens has not been limited to governmental service. Artist E.D.B. Julio (1843-79) was most recognized for his famous painting “The Lasgt Meeting of Lee and Jackson”, but received national acclaim for other paintings as well. Jessica Daves was editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine and author of “Ready-made Miracle”, a history of the female fashion industry published in 1963.
Author Corra Harris (1869-1935) wrote twenty-eight (28) novels, including “Circuit Rider’s Wife”, upon which the movie “I’d Climb The Highest Mountain”, starring Susan Hayward was based. During World War I she was the first female war correspondent, for The Saturday Evening Post. She regularly wrote articles for the Ladies Home Journal, The Country Gentleman and the Atlanta Journal. She was a nationally acclaimed southern writer.
Charles “Bill Arp” Smith (1826-1903) was also a southern writer of national fame. A humorist in the Will Rogers vein, he wrote several books, and wrote articles for the Atlanta Journal that were syndicated in hundreds of newspapers nationally. “Bill Arp” became a household word.
Sam P. Jones (1847-1906) was the most famous evangelist of his day and conducted revivals all over the country. Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Grand Old Opre, was built for him to hold revivals.
Rudy York (1913-1970) played major league baseball for thirteen years. From 1934 to 1937 he was with the Detroit Tigers and hit 18 home runs in August, 1937, a record that still stands. He also played with the Philadelphia Atheletics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Red Sox, hitting 277 home runs and compiling a .275 lifetime batting average. He played in 3 World Series and 3 All-Star games.
David G. Archer
City of Cartersville
Sesquicentennial Celebration Chairman