Friends of Historic Woolsey

Preserving Our Yesterdays for Tomorrow 

 Help Save Historic Woolsey Church!

"The two highest points in Woolsey are occupied by her church and school house.
Each is complete in every particular, and as they hold the highest places in point
of position, so they have the warmest places in the hearts of all her citizens."

– The Fayetteville News, "Something about This Town," January 12, 1894

“We do not honor the historic buildings in our midst, nor those who
once inhabited them, by trapping these structures in amber or sequestering
them away behind velvet ropes. We do it by working to see that they
continue to play a vibrant role at the heart of the community.”

– Stephanie Meeks, Author of The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation is Reviving America's Communities

We are very excited to learn the heirs of the Reverend, Doctor I. G. Woolsey have decided to bring back to life one of the most notable and historic structures in our town. Our citizens have made it clear that preserving our remaining historical structures is a major priority in our long term planning efforts. The restoration of the Historic Woolsey Baptist Church will be another great step forward in accomplishing this goal in addition to preserving Woolsey’s small town heritage that so many have come to appreciate. We look forward to assisting the family in this effort in any way we can and appreciate their commitment to our town. 
                 – Gary Laggis, Mayor of Woolsey and Board Member 


It warms my heart to see a community come together to preserve a part of its history and heritage. Historic Woolsey Baptist Church is the centerpiece of a small and beautiful town in South Fayette County. The building is most worthy of being saved, not only for its historic significance but also for the legacy of its namesake, Dr. (and Reverend) Isaac G. Woolsey. Reverend I. G. Woolsey did so much to make the community into what it is today. He provided spiritual leadership, doctored the sick and infirm, provided a mercantile business, rallied for the railroad, donated land for a post office, school, and this church as well as aiding in chartering a Masonic Lodge. Greatly beloved by the community his remains are interred in the church grounds among other notables from the area. With the recent loss of Dr. Woolsey's former home and one of the most historic structures in this part of the county, it is even more important to preserve the remaining buildings that define a town's identity. Historic Woolsey Baptist Church is to enter ranks with other historically significant structures in Fayette County and deservedly so. The Friends of Historic Woolsey are to be commended for making that happen.

              – John W. Lynch, Fayette County Historian

The old Woolsey Church and Cemetery are historic landmarks in our village center, in many ways the heart of the community. Neither is any longer connected to a church congregation formally, and the cemetery is no longer selling lots, although burials still happen on occasion in already-committed lots. The classic old country church building stands empty and forlorn, and might last ten or fifteen more years, in ever deteriorating state, without restoration. The historic and picturesque cemetery, once active burials cease, risks becoming overgrown and unattended as generations pass. The efforts of Friends of Historic Woolsey to underpin both these projects with permanent financing and folks committed to preserving this heart of the community for future generations to enjoy are critical for the community and deserving of support.

               – Dan Langford, Mayor of Brooks and Ex-Officio Board Member 

On behalf of the members of Woolsey Baptist Church, we are grateful beyond words for the vision and forethought of Dr. I. G. Woolsey when he decided to dedicate a portion of his property towards a church. Along with other ways, his legacy lives through Woolsey Baptist Church. We are also honored to have returned the property to Friends of Historic Woolsey. As the church has moved on to a different meeting location just down the road, we are excited to see what lies ahead for the historic church building and cemetery. While restoring and preserving our heritage comes with its share of challenges, the steps taken by Friends of Historic Woolsey today will allow our generation and future generations the privilege of seeing Dr. I. G. Woolsey’s vision for a holistic community become a reality! 

                  – Steven Chambers, Staff Pastor, Woolsey Baptist Church

A community comes to life when it preserves its past. A wise elder once told me that if a community knows its past, it will have a better chance to plan a positive future and live in a thriving present. The built environment tells the story of social and economic growth of each individual area. It is not all mansions but the entire broad spectrum that makes the fabric of a community. It needs to document the growth, the disrepair, and the reconstruction to tell the whole story. The quilt of a community extends to the cemeteries. These gardens where those who came before us rest tell us the story of how a community came to be what it is right now. The preservation of the stories, the buildings, residential, commercial, spiritual, and playful, brings visitors who want to learn more. These also help local citizens value what is uniquely theirs. So please take time and put in the effort to keep your community’s past in the present and build your own future.

               – Deborah Riddle, President, Fayette County Historical Society   

Locust Ridge, TN; Sinking Springs, KY; Atlanta, TX; Basking Ridge, NJ; Plains, GA; Stonewall, TX; or maybe French Lick, IN: these are small places that dot the map across this great country of ours. Similar in their obscurity, each represents the early years of presidents and celebrities who were born and bred there. As well as the many unknown folks blessed to be born there. For me, Woolsey, Georgia is such a place, because of the rich heritage left to me inherent in the many substantial homes and smallest shacks that housed and bore the beginnings of many like me. I cannot say enough about those who have embraced the history of Woolsey and the surrounding area by “Preserving our Yesterdays for Tomorrow.” 
– Richard McLean, Author and Fayette County Native

My wife, Donna, and I moved to Woolsey after about a year of looking for just the right place to buy land and build our dream home. We had not looked at anything in the Woolsey area but were told of a tract of land recently placed on the market. Driving into the Town of Woolsey, we were already in love with the area and upon seeing the land, we were certain, Woolsey was the place for us. What intrigued us the most about this Town was the history and “small town feel” we felt.  We are so excited that Friends of Historic Woolsey is undertaking a project to restore “The Old Woolsey Church” and make certain that small town feel remains in our Town. The enthusiasm that this group has brought thus far is great to see. We look forward to seeing all the wonderful things they have in store for our Town.

               – Kenneth N. Wright, Town Councilman  

Fayette County is an area rich in cultural heritage. The literary arts, in particular, are the paramount artistic contribution of Fayette to Southern and American culture. Noted children’s Book Author Robert Burch – three-time winner of the Georgia Children's Book Award – is from Fayette. The great Ferrol Sams hails from Fayette. Sams, who is buried in the cemetery behind the Historic Woolsey Church, wrote many novels, including the best-selling Run with the Horsemen which takes place in Woolsey and Fayette. And there are many others including longtime newspaper columnist Jim Minter and Margaret Mitchell’s many connections to the county in her work. 

However, as rich as the culture is in Fayette, we have lacked a central cultural arts center, a hub to honor and celebrate our rich past and to inspire others for our future. There is a glaring gap in our shared culture and heritage. The Historic Woolsey Church Cultural Center will fill that gap and fill it magnificently. The rapid early vision from a strong board and leadership has already borne fruit. With a community buy-in, a need in the county, and an enthusiastic response, the potential is extraordinary. 
                 – Mark Wallace Maguire, Author and Fayette County Resident

Residents and visitors often love to see new development and construction with the latest technology, bells, and whistles. Yet, As a career economic development professional, I know that you can tell a lot about a community not just by new growth but rather how it cares for historic structures and districts. Historic buildings represent charm, community, and times of an often-forgotten era. Most importantly, when we show respect for historic figures and objects, we honor the people that worked to make a way for the accoutrements we have today. Our communities are built on the backs of those who exhibited true faith in that they built places they might not live to see finish, pave roads they would not drive, and dig wells for water they might not drink. The Fayette Chamber commends you and your team of volunteers on this project and wish you much success. 

                   – Leonardo McClarty, CCE, President/CEO, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce

Having spent the last 27 years working with friends and neighbors to preserve and promote the history and heritage of my home community through our Inman Farm Heritage Days shows, it’s exciting to see a similar effort under way by our neighbors in Woolsey. Both Inman and Woolsey have long histories with much to be celebrated. The old Woolsey Baptist Church building and the adjacent cemetery certainly deserve to be preserved for generations to come. Even newcomers without connections to Woolsey can appreciate the role the church has played over the years and can continue to play. It is my hope that our Inman Farm Heritage Days 501c3 corporation can work with the non-profit group in Woolsey, and other similar organizations in Fayette County to preserve and celebrate our history while also hosting events that current and future generations will find memorable.
– Rick Minter, Co-founder of Inman Farm Heritage Days