Good Shepherd Honors Founder Ellie Wilson

Good Shepherd Sunday School “reunion” 60 years later: Sarah Atwood (daughter of former member), Tommy Ledford, Becky Ledford Van Gorder, Florence Wilson Atwood, Pam Roberts Owenby, Danny Wilson, Pat Roberts Payne.

Good Shepherd Honors Founder Ellie Wilson


            On May 19 Good Shepherd Episcopal Church celebrated its Founders Day on what would have been Eleanor Lambert Wilson’s 100th Birthday. The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Hayesville was begun by four couples: Ellie and Monroe Wilson, Dorothy and Rufus Vick, Ruth and Quentin Moore, and Evan and James Ledford. They met in one another’s homes, then in the Masonic Hall, until they built a small concrete block church on Myers Chapel Road near the high school in 1959. The church moved to its current location on Hwy 64 in 1981.

            A capacity crowd showed up for picnic fare, including some of Ellie’s recipes. On display were wooden candlesticks, offering plates, and other gifts turned on the lathe or built for the church by Monroe. Many of these treasures, as well as items gifted to the church at its founding, are still in use today. A plaque commemorating the founding of Good Shepherd by the four original couples was unveiled for display in the church.

            Ellie died in 2010 at the age of 91. Present for the 100th anniversary of her birth were her son Danny Wilson, currently residing in Clay County Care Center, and youngest daughter Florence Atwood and her family. Daughter Ann Harper and son John Wilson sent greetings and remembrances.

            Local residents Becky Ledford Van Gorder and her brother Tommy Ledford were present to honor their parents as well. The Roberts sisters, Pam and Patty, came to share memories of attending Sunday School when their mother Francis Roberts played the organ.

            Ellie’s book about the founding of Good Shepherd and its first 50 years can be downloaded in PDF format from the church website at Two autobiographical books by Eleanor Wilson, My Journey to Appalachia and My Life in Brasstown, can be purchased on line or from the JC Campbell Folk School. To learn more about the dynamic church she and Monroe helped to found, visit the church website or “Come and See.” The church is located one mile east of Hayesville on Hwy. 64.

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church honors Eleanor Lambert Wilson, a founder of the church, who was born 100 years ago and died in 2010.

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