from the "History of Sumter County"
by Jack Cox
Danville is 16 miles east of Americus, Ga. on the Flint River, population 200. (Statistics of the State of Ga., p. 525, Year 1849.)
Writing in the American Press Dec. 24, 1902, and March 13, 1904, Jno. A. Cobb, of Americus gave his recollections of these "towns that live only in story." In the year 1835 Martin Miller settled on Flint River on a high limestone bluff and laid off a little town known as Old Danville. He built a steamboat to ply on Flint River and made several trips to Applachiola, carrying such stuff as hides, and tallow. He returned with salt, sugar, coffee, and dry goods, tobacco and such other things as are usually kept in a country store. A town of some importance was established, lots were sold, store houses and dwelling houses were built and also a hotel.
As this place was considered the head of navigation on the Flint River, Miller built a warehouse on the bank of the river to store cotton and goods.
It was there that Royal Jenkins put up the first brick house in the county. The brick were made in the river swamp nearby and were laid in clay mortar, as there was no lime in this country. The people did not understand burning lime at this time, although there was plenty of limestone at the place.
Amongst the early settlers of Old Danville were Louis Joiner, Shade Joiner, Daniel Strickey, Eli and Reuben Tucker, Benton Bird, W.J. Ronalson, Robert London and others. As there was a good market others were soon induced to move into the country and they brought considerable wealth. There were Dr. Jared Tomlinson, Mrs. Mary Jackson, Jesse, John and Thomas Jackson, Alexander Daniel, Zack Daniel, Jno. Dobbins, the Methvins, Rhifords, Hooks, Zach. ariah, Robinson. All of them were men of means.
Americus had to go to Danville for supplies and goods and the little town was a flourishing place until the railroad came to Americus. Then it began to go down and there is not a mark left of the town, it being all in a plantation now owned by C.S.S. Home, one of the best plantars in the country.
A story of "old forgotten Danville," a Flint River town that once rivaled Americus was written by Capt. T.C. Furlow in the Americus, Ga. Recorder of March 13, 1891.
"When we moved to Sumter Co. in 1849," said he, "the principal town in the county was Danville. Circuses would skip Americus to go to Danville, and in the number of inhabitants and amount of business done it overshadowed Amencus. It never was the county seat however, and probably thats what saved Americus. Sumter was created by an act of the legislature in '31 and Americus was laid out in '32.
"Danville promised to be a big place. It had 300A00 inhabitants and that was something notable in that section of the state at that time. Americus, at seventeen years old, had less than 200.
"Danville boomed. A.G. Butts, now living in Macon, and his brother JR. Butts, who is dead now, back in the '40's built a river steamer called the Magnolia and everybody thought that settled Americus. JR. Butts, I remember, published a big map of Georgia. Danville was on the Flint River, and it put on big airs when the Magnolia was built.
"Of course the railroad made Americus.
"Danville reached its zenith about 1850 and then it steadily declined, while
Americus forged ahead. Danville continued a post office however until '60 or
'61 and even after the war there were a few people living there. About the last
thing to go was a barroom, but that went in time. Today it would be hard for
a stranger to find the site of this old town. Not a single house is left and very
few and very dim landmarks of any sort.
"In 1849 when Danville was about its best, there wasn't a single brick house in Sumter County, and very few brick chimneys. My father, T.M. Furlow, built the first brick house in the county, and it would be hard for this younger generation to understand what a curiosity it was. It was a one story brick store in Americus.
"In another forty years, Americus will have forgotten that she ever had a rival in Sumter, or near there, and even the name of Danville will be forgotton."
Old Danville was once the proud possessor of a masonic hall, church, warehouse and several stores, carriage shop, blacksmith shop. One store was kept by W.J. JACKSON MORRIS, and a bakery was kept by John and Clare Newson, both free colored, but of considerable means, who kept boarders.