The Roswell area was part of Cobb County, Georgia when first settled, and the county seat of Marietta was a four-hour (one-way) horseback ride to the west. Since Roswell residents desired a local government, they submitted a city charter for incorporation to the Georgia General Assembly. The charter was approved on February 16, 1854. By the time of the Civil War, the cotton mills employed more than 400 people, mostly women. Given settlement patterns in the Piedmont, they were likely of Scots-Irish descent. As the mill increased in production, so did the number of people living in the area.
During the American Civil War, the city was captured by Union forcesunder the leadership of General Garrard. Under orders of General Sherman, General Garrard shipped the mill workers north to prevent them from returning to work if the mills were rebuilt. This was a common tactic of Sherman's plans of economic disruption of the South. The mill was burned, but the houses were left standing. The ruins of the mill and the 30-foot (9.1 m) dam that was built for power still remain. Most of the town's property was confiscated by Union forces. The leading families had left the town to go to safer places well before the Federal invasion. Most slaves were sent away from advancing Federal troops, as was often the practice. Some slaves may have escaped to Union lines.
After the war, Barrington King rebuilt the mills and resumed production. While many freed African-Americans stayed in the area to work as paid labor on plantations or in town, others migrated to Fulton County and Atlanta for new opportunities. The South suffered an agricultural depression resulting from the effects of the war and labor changes.
According to the census, the population of Cobb County decreased slightly from 14,242 in 1860, to 13,814 in 1870. The proportion of African-Americans decreased more, from 27% to 23%. During those years, nearby Fulton County more than doubled in population, from 14,427 to 33,336. The effects of dramatic African-American migration can be seen by the increase in Fulton County from 20.5% slave in 1860 to 45.7% colored (African-American) in 1870.
At the end of 1931, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. The difficult economic conditions drove Milton County, Roswell's neighboring county to the north (note: much of what is now Roswell was part of Milton county already), to merge in its entirety with Fulton County, Roswell's neighboring county to the south. To facilitate the merger, Roswell was ceded by Cobb County to Fulton. Sections of neighboring Cherokee and Gwinnett Counties were also ceded to Fulton at this time to define the expanded and contiguous northern section of Fulton County.
Roswell is now one of the largest cities in the state; its population has increased most steadily in the last 15 years.
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North Druid Hills