The City of Atalanta

    No this is not a typo. Have you heard of Martha Lumpkin and the City of Marthasville. Atlanta was first founded in 1847 but do we know how its name came about.

The Dublin Post Wednesday September 25 1878 Miss Martha Atalanta Lumpkin, daughter of the ex- Governor Lumpkin is at present visiting Atlanta, Georgia, which the city was named for her being first called ” Marthasville” and then Atalanta” The second “a” being dropped after a while. New York World.

Digital Library of Georgia

This would only make sense because of the previous name was to honor Governor Lumpkin’s daughter. but the city of Atlanta has this to say.

“1845:  “Marthasville” was renamed “Atlanta,” a feminine form of Atlantic, probably created by Steven Harriman Long, a Western & Atlantic Railroad engineer.”

Other sources say John Edgar Thompson(Thomson) christened the city with the name Atlanta. Steven Long is more associated with the name “Terminus ‘ , the cities name prior to Marthasville. The name Atlanta was supposed to be a more feminine name for “Atlantica-Pacifica” i.e. the Western-Atlantic Railroad.  Still some maps still showed the city named Atalanta. Colonel Richard Peters gives credit to J. Edgar Thompson in 1871 and was published in W. R. Hanlieter’s city directories.

Note: Cornelius R. Hanleiter was editor of the Southern Confederacy newspaper and Pioneer Citizen of Atlanta.

In 1907, Mrs. Martha Atlanta Lumpkin Compton maintains that the city was named Atlanta but had no documented evidence to prove it. Lets see if we can help Martha. In 1846 The Federal Union a Milledgeville paper form the period  says “

Railroads in Carolina and Georgia

Central Railroad from Savannah to Macon 190 Miles

Macon and Western from Macon to Atalanta 104 Miles

So unless the newspaper has made a grave error someone recognized Atalanta.

In the Georgia Journal, Sept. 16, 1845  we have the following from the Georgia Railroad. 

The Georgia Railroad (Says the Augusta Chronicle Sentinel of Monday last) will be ready for the transportation of passengers and freight from Augusta to Atlanta, its western terminus, on Monday next, 15th inst. Distance 172 miles fare $7.00

So the corporate entity, the Georgia Railroad  named their western terminus Atlanta. The real question would be what the did the Georgia Assembly recognize during that period of time specifically 1847 the year of Atlanta’s creation. We find this from Mr. Franklin Garrett


And thus even though other people recognized Mrs Martha Atalanta Lumpkin Compton the city went with its corporate entity.  Colonel Peters said that the newspapers of the time were fanatics about mythology and that he discussed with J. Edgar Thompson(Thomson) about the name. At any rate no one told the modest Mrs Lumpkin about the decision who could assume nothing more or less about the cities name. Atlanta is my home town being born there on June 14, 1969 at Grady Memorial Hospital. I would hope that cities could be named for women like Martha  rather than in some corporate office somewhere. At least in this blog we can remember the contribution and the heart of Mrs Martha Atalanta Lumpkin Compton. One statement from Mrs. Martha’s Scrapbook says “Like all newspaper pieces their (sic) are a good many mistakes in Miss Olivers.”

       It has been said that Atlantans wanted to live in their mythology and rightfully so. The new town was to become the, “City on a Hill”  so to speak with thriving business, railroads, and iconic columns of Greek and Roman revival architecture, beautiful parks and cemeteries with ties to the cities history. While corporate railroads did indeed make Atlanta a hub along with today’s interstate and airport traffic. Many old newspapers always depicted the city in pictures as the goddess Atalanta.  I would rather see Atlanta as Atalanta than this..

1. Dublin Post Wednesday September 25 1878



4. Atlanta Georgian and News, Apr. 20, 1911 — page 7

5. Weekly Constitution, Jun. 2, 1874 — page 1

6. Atlanta Georgian and News, Jul. 21, 1911 — page 9

7. Atlanta Georgian and News, Apr. 06, 1907 — page 3

8. Federal Union, Sept. 8, 1846 — page 3

9. Georgia Journal, Sept. 16, 1845 — page 2

10. Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events, 1820s-1870s   By Franklin M. Garrett Page 226



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