Memories of the Goosepond Area

Scott Smith
Tradition and local lore states that the Goosepond Community of Oglethorpe County, Georgia was named for a 50 acre pond located near Goosepond Creek. The Tradition also claims that the Pond was named for the wild Geese that gathered during the winter. The Goosepond Community has always had occupants but in its heyday it was a prosperous plantation community during the 1800’s. It’s decline began in the early 1900’s.
A few immigrants settled in the area before 1780 including Revolutionary war hero Elijah Clarke, George Mathews, the 21st governor of Georgia and George R. Gilmer, the 34th Governor of Georgia, who was born in Goosepond. That’s where I come in, my Father was born on the Brooks farm in the area and my family lived in the Goosepond community up until the mid 1900’s , my Great Grandfather bought Governor Gilmers home and lands after Gilmers death. I fondly remember as a youngster traveling down that old dirt road as my father and Grandmother would take me and my brother to visit the place where he spent his days as a child. When I went to Gilmers former home it was old and dilapidated and no one was living there anymore, as most all of the residents of Goosepond had long since moved away. Today the Gilmer home has been moved and semi restored at the Calloway Plantation in Wilkes County.
One unique fact about the Goosepond area is that Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition did actually live in the area. Lewis spent his early years in the Millstone part of the area. Lewis lived there as a child with his step-father John Marks. As a young boy, Lewis hunted on this land, The John Marks house, built on a ridge overlooking Millstone Creek which feeds into the Broad River. A granite plaque now marks the site where the home of John Marks stood.
Goose Pond was also known as the first Methodist settlement in Georgia. The first Methodist conference was said to be held here in the forks of the Broad River on April 9, 1788. Preachers such as Bishop Francis Asbury spoke in the community and stayed as a guest of the Marks family.
There are many legends that my now long deceased family members would tell me over my childhood, for example there’s the legend of the Lindsey Smith Lake where the story goes that the confederate soldiers carrying a load of confederate gold were being chased by union soldiers and dumped their stash of gold into this “bottomless” lake near Long Creek never to be seen again. As a teenager my cousins and I actually did find what we believe to be the lake and even went so far as to carry a small boat miles into the woods just to drop a line into the lake and see if it truly was “bottomless” . A hundred feet of rope later we actually never hit a bottom and found no gold, the legend is this natural lake is fed through and underground aquifer coming from Long Creek. The only other thing I remember about this expedition was the large rattlesnake that I stumbled upon and quickly let him have my excursion time in the area.
It’s funny the things that bring to mind childhood memories of places and people long ago passed. I happened to be flying home to Athens the other day from one of many trips for work and as I looked out of the window of the Cessna I noticed that I was directly over the Goosepond area. The fond memories of my childhood flooded into my mind like a river and I thought maybe I should write some of this down before I too am gone like the hard working, god loving settlers of a place called Goosepond. As the control tower at the Athens airport told me “cleared to land” I looked back one more time at the place that had a big part in molding the character of a now middle aged man, a place rich in history and legend, a place called Goosepond Georgia. 

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