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. 

In 1866, Macon's business district contained the following: 

  • agents, insurance, 8; 
  • agents, real estate, 4; 
  • artists, ambrotype and photograph, 3; 
  • auctioneers, 3; 
  • bakers, 2; 
  • banks, 1; 
  • bankers, 4; 
  • carriage dealers, 2; 
  • confectioneries, 9; 
  • cigarmakers, 1;
  • clothiers, 8;
  • commission merchants, 7; 
  • cotton buyers, 8; 
  • cotton warehouses, 4; 
  • crockery stores, 2; 
  • dentists, 5; 
  • dressmakers, 2; 
  • druggists, 5; 
  • dry goods stores, 25; 
  • flour mill, 1; 
  • furniture stores, 2; 
  • gas fitters, 2; 
  • grocers, 42; 
  • gunsmiths, 3; 
  • hardware dealers, 5; 
  • hats and caps, 2; 
  • house furnishing goods, 1; 
  • hotels, 5; 
  • ice dealers, 2;
  • jewelers, 8; 
  • livery stables, 2; 
  • machine shops, 3; 
  • marble works, 1; 
  • merchant tailors, 4; 
  • milliners, 8; 
  • painters, 2; 
  • restaurants, 3; 
  • saddles and harness, 3; 
  • soda bottlers, 2; 
  • tin shops, 4; 
  • watchmakers, 5; 
  • wines and liquors, 3.
  • Justices of the Peace, 3; 
  • attorneys, 20; 
  • physicians, 22.
 

Macon's largest industy, in 1866, included the Macon Manufacturing Co., Macon & Western RR, Macon & Brunswick, Southwestern, Muscogee RR, Georgia RR, Central RR, and the Schofield Iron Works.

Established congregations were: First Baptist Church, Christ Church (Episcopal), First Street Methodist Church, Mulberry Street Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church, and St. Joseph's Catholic. 

Schools included: Wesleyan College and the Academy for the Blind.

Following the War, improvements to the city included:

1868--Appleton Church Home founded 

1869--Central Bank of Georgia opened 

1871-- $300,000.00 spent to beautify Central City Park

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.

1883-- electricity for lighting contracted

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)