The first communities in the area that would become Lyerly were actually Creek and Cherokee Indian villages. The entire county was originally inhabited by Creek Indians and then Cherokees; the first white men in the area were fur traders, hunters, and traveling missionaries, followed by Revolutionary War soldiers (1775-83) . The whites lived in fairly peaceful coexistence with the Indian population until 1829, when gold was discovered in north Georgia. In one of the saddest chapters in America's history, the newcomers, backed by federal and state authorities, used force to dispossess the Cherokees of their land and then distribute it to white settlers in the 1832 Cherokee land lottery. In 1838 the remaining Cherokee in Chattooga County were gathered by the Georgia Guard and housed in deplorable conditions at the Cherokee Removal Fort in LaFayette (Fort Cumming) before being moved north to Rattlesnake Springs in Tennessee. These programs, part of President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Acts, culminated in the American Government’s removal of Native Americans from the American South in what became known as "The Trail of Tears.” Cherokees joined Native Americans from the Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, and other tribes in Oklahoma. Sparsely populated by white settlers before 1832, settlers began to pour into the area after the sixth Georgia Land Lottery, mostly moving from the eastern part of Georgia.
Glenwood and Melville were the first communities established in the Lyerly area by white settlers. There is some confusion about exactly when and where Lyerly began, and what the correlation is between Glenwood, Melville, and Lyerly. All three were in the southern portion of Chattooga County, each of the three within a short distance of each other, and all three were eventually consolidated into Lyerly.
Glenwood was located approximately 1 mile northwest of what is now Lyerly around what is now the intersection of Smallen Road, Oak Hill, and Back Valley Road. We could not locate Glenwood on any historic maps. Glenwood also had the Glenwood Academy, the second school in Chattooga County.
Melville had it's beginning in the 1850's and was originally located due south of Summerville on what is now Georgia Highway 100 at the intersection of Holland Road and the old Silver Hill Road at Clark Creek (Taliaferro Creek) and appears on an 1856 map in Georgia's Virtual Vault. Some time during the 1870's the Melville post office was moved across the Chattooga River to just southeast of the present Lyerly and the rest of Melville was soon to follow. When the Chattanooga, Rome & Colombus Railway was built in 1888 it was decided to build the depot 3/4 of a mile north of Melville in what is now the center of Lyerly. When this happened Melville declined quickly as Lyerly grew. The Town of Melville went bankrupt and was sold at auction on the Summerville courthouse steps on July 2, 1889. Some would say that the Glenwood community was the beginning of Lyerly, while others might say that Melville became Lyerly. Actually neither is true. Lyerly came into being on its own because of the railroad and both those things that had originally been at Glenwood, and those things at Melville all moved to Lyerly.
On May 30th and 31st 1889 an auction was held to sell the newly formed Town of
Lyerly, Georgia. Lyerly was incorporated in 1891 and is thought to be named after Tennessee bank president Charles Abner Lyerly, who had invested in real estate in the county. Lyerly developed its first school in 1889. The Post Office which had been in Melville later relocated near the Lyerly train depot. Lyerly was the first town in northwest Georgia to ship poultry to markets in other states. Lyerly's population was 322 in 1910 and one year later in 1911 A.J. Lee installed Lyerly's first water system. In 1912 Lyerly was the only town in chattooga county to have two telephone exchanges. In 1914 the old Lyerly School (built in 1889) was torn down and a modern brick school building was built in its place. In 1920 Captain Charles A. Lyerly donated a fire bell to the town and it was put up behind the Bank of Lyerly. Today the fire bell sits atop a monument erected and donated to the town by Bob Kimbell in 1988. Perhaps one of the best known landmarks of Lyerly is the Lyerly Dam. The Lyerly Dam was built by Mr. James S. Owings when he started the Chattooga River Power Company. The dam was used to generate hydroelectric power and was built in 1919 and first generated power in 1920. One month after electricity production began the dam was severely damaged by a flood but was repaired and back online in two weeks. In 1923 Mr. Owings built a concrete dam across the river of which some portions still exist and can be seen from the Lyerly Dam bridge.
Well known defense attorney Bobby Lee Cook was born in Lyerly in 1927.
(This information was obtained from several online sources, and the books, "Chattooga County" by Robert S. Baker, and "The Heritage of Chattooga County, Georgia 1838-2006"