Mt. Airy Baptist

Union County
Org 1850
Photography by Tom Reed

Mt. Airy Baptist is another one of those jewels tucked away in the North Georgia mountains.  The location is very remote, and it is a perfect setting for this historic structure built in the mid 1800’s before the Civil War.  It has been lovingly restored and the interior is just stunning.  We think it is the oldest log church in Georgia that is still in use. The exterior is a plain structure that has been covered with vinyl siding for maintenance reasons, and it leaves you unprepared for what you see when you enter the sanctuary……truly a visual treat, as you will see in the gallery photos below.

The story of Mt. Airy is really the story of the Gooch family. The church was built on land donated by Jim Gooch (b. 1829 d. 1913).  He and his wife, Elvira, were some of the original settlers in Union County. The Church has been restored recently and most of its original support logs and other features were kept in place. For many years it has been the site for the annual Gooch Family Reunion that is held each year on the fourth Sunday in July.  The church is still active and meets on the first and third Sundays.  Many of the descendants still live in the area and keep up the church, which is located on the north slope of Gooch Gap on the banks of Mt. Airy Creek. 

According to family history Jim’s father, Tillman Gooch, participated in the forced removal of the Cherokees known as the Trail of Tears.  “During the winter of 1838-1839, Tillman Gooch, a Captain in the State Militia, took part in the Indian drive, later known as the “Trail of Tears”, Tillman never returned nor was ever heard of again….. Jim and Elvira had their first child in 1846.  They lived in a five foot high log cabin about 18 FT by 20 FT, where he and his wife raised their family of 11 children, 6 boys & 5 girls.”  Jim was older when the Civil War broke out but he served in Company E, 11th Georgia Cavalry during the civil war. He enlisted at Mossy Creek, Georgia on May 4, 1864 as a private.  It was highly likely that he was conscripted at that late stage of the war.  There is a great photo of Mr. Gooch in the gallery photos below.

Thanks to the Gooch family and the Mt. Airy congregation that have been such good stewards for this historic property and the history that goes with it.  Be sure to click and scroll the photos below for more Mt. Airy history.


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