That may be because Campbellton, established in 1828 and located at the intersection of Cascade Palmetto and Campbellton Fairburn highways, had very little documentation of the town ever existing.
But historians Jeff Champion and Sid Brown are working to recover, preserve and piece together artifacts, like photos and maps, of the town that served as the county seat for much of where south Fulton and Douglas counties are today.
Champion said his interest in the history of the town was first piqued when he was child.
“I remember when I was 9, I was playing in the woods behind our family’s business and I tripped on something that turned out to be the old grave of a girl who was buried in 1889,” he said. “I wondered why it was out in the middle of the woods, unkempt and overgrown, and that really began my interest in the history of where I lived.”
Champion said over the years, he read books or found photos that briefly mentioned the town but told little about its history and what happened to the once sprawling city.
After posting what little information he was able to find online, Champion was contacted by Brown.
Together, they were able to use the artifacts to locate key points, including mills, a town square and a city hall building, proving that Campbellton was once an active city in the south Fulton area.
“We’re aware of two different theories as to why the town didn’t survive,” said Brown. “Many early historians state or gather from opinions that the railroad bypassed Campbellton because the residents were against the railroad marring or interrupting their tranquil town or that engineers simply found the land around Fairburn better for construction.”
Brown and Champion speculate that many Campbellton residents literally rolled their houses and buildings, including the city hall building now located in Fairburn, down streets beside the Chattahoochee River.