Glennville is in the southern part of Tattnall County, which was formed from a portion of Montgomery County by Act of December 5, 1801. The first settlements in this section seem to date back to the beginning of the 19th century. One of the earliest settlers was Gideon Poppell, who received a grant for 900 acres of land from the state of Georgia in November 1832. In January 1833, 300 acres of this tract were transferred to John Stanfield, and later this land was divided and one part given to a Mr. Barnard and the other to a Mr. DeLoach. The eastern and southern part of the city of Glennville was built on that portion of the grant to Mr. Barnard.
This dense area of woodlands was abundant with deer, turkeys and other animals. A favorite “deer stand” once stood where the Glennwanis Hotel now stands. Many of the earlier settlers migrated from the Carolinas and Virginia.
It is evident in reviewing the history of Glennville that the nucleus around which this town was founded may well date back to the laying of three strong pillars, viz the church, the school, and the Masonic Lodge. The community at that time was known as Philadelphia Cross Roads. These three institutions were not organized at the same time, but as they all came into being, they held the inhabitants together. In the church, which was constituted June 28, 1857, and known as Philadelphia Baptist Church, the Christian faith and hope were manifested; in the Masonic Lodge, the bond of brotherly love was established; and in the little rural schoolhouse, the desire for advancement along educational lines and for the upbuilding of the community is evident.