After both the Methodist and Baptist churches in Irwinton burned in 1854, congregants came together to form a common house of worship. The result is the wonderful structure you see here, first known as the Irwinton Free Church. Though Sherman’s forces burned the courthouse, the church was somehow spared. Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians shared Union well into the 20th century but by 1960, the Presbyterians were gone and the Methodists and Baptists were settled into their own churches. During that decade, Joseph T. Maddox came forward to restore the building and prevent its deterioration. Perched on a hill on the edge of Irwinton, it stands today as an enduring symbol of cooperation and common faith.
Beautiful building and location. Remarkable history. May it long stand and continue to be a worship center.
My parents were married in this church in 1946. I have a few photos of the event including some of the interior. Many of my mother’s and grand mother’s family lived in Irwinton.
Maybe they just couldn’t as Union forces bring themselves to destroy anything with the name Union? Remember this well as a youngster…my hometown and a grandmothers funeral there in 1958.
I believe the Union forces were Stoneman’s cavalry’s raid, the story of which is written in a history of Wilkinson County. Stoneman and his troops were soon after defeated (And I believe captured) in a ruse by a Confederate general.
That is correct about General Stoneman. He was defeated at Sunshine Church – halfway between the communities of Wayside and Round Oak, Ga (Jones County) – by CSA General Iverson’s troops – Stoneman was captured and sent to a prison. This was the only Cavalry battle that the Southern troops won during the Atlanta campaign!
What a lovely story. We need more of this spirit now.
I totally agree. It was spared by Sherman which was a miracle. The true miracle was they did all come together as “one”!