Macon was founded in 1832, although the area had been inhabited since at least the sixteenth century. American Indian residents included those of the Okmulgee, Cherokee, and Creek tribes. The first white settlers were Spanish, following the exploration of Ponce de Leon.
English settlers, expanding south from the Carolina Lowcountry by 1810, established Fort Hawkins to serve as their outpost in the newly ceded Creek territory. The town was chartered in 1832, and already had a newspaper, a military camp, taverns, grist and saw mills, banks, hotels, public schools, a court house, and post office.
Just prior to the beginning of the Civil War, several New Englanders had settled in Macon. These families endured the War and all its difficulties along with the native population. Many of the men even fought for their adopted state, against their former residences.
The original plan for the town of Macon provided space in the town square for the Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists to erect houses of worship. While none of these located on the square, the Methodists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians located and have remained near the original square. (132)
Schools included: Wesleyan College and the Academy for the Blind. (61-62)
Following the War, improvements to the city included:
1868--Appleton Church Home founded
1869--Central Bank of Georgia opened
1872--Board of Education and Orphanage estb.; Mercer University moved to Macon; Exchange Bank of Macon converted
1874--Pio Nono College estb.; Macon Public Library and Historical Society organized; Macon Savings Bank begins
1876--Mt. De Sales Academy founded; YMCA organized; Bibb Manufacturing Co. founded
1879-- free delivery of mail granted to city
1882-- first train arrives from Atlanta, over the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad.
1889--South Macon Baptist Church dedicated; Goss printing press, first of kind in South, arrives
1891--first water mains and fire hydrants replace wells
1892-- Georgia's peach crop becomes popular agricultural focus
1894-- Synagogue Beth Israel built (congregation founded 1856)