Category Archives: Historic Midway Cemetery


Five Thousand Persons in Midway April 1915

The following is a news item published in the Savannah Morning News, April 27, 1915, telling of the large crowd that attended the unveiling of the General Steward and Screven monument.
Scattered over an area of several acres, there were fully five thousand people on the grounds surrounding old Midway Church at noon yesterday when a recess of an hour was taken between the two ceremonies for a basket picnic. Newly 3,500 of that number traveled to Midway by automobiles from Liberty, Bryan, Tattnall, and other South Georgia Counties. Many more came from that section and from South Carolina and Florida by rail. The seaboard Air Line Railroad operated two special trains from Savannah in the morning, carrying 1,300 from this city to the event, and handled the crowds well.
In spite of the numbers, however, the crowd was in every way orderly and regardful of the sacred respect in which the spot is held by those to whom it is most dear. Not a case of intoxication or disorderly act was observed or reported to the marshal of the day, Col.A. Gordon Cassels, who probable was the busiest man of any who had anything to do with the arrangements, Troop B, First Georgia Cavalry, better known as Liberty Independent Troop of Liberty, under the direct command of Maj. W.P. Waite, did special police duty but had no calls for exercising their authority.
Here and there mingling with the crowds of grey uniforms and whiskers of veterans of the Confederacy were to be seen, proudly bearing their scars and years. Everywhere they accorded respectful attention, for the numerous flags of the Confederacy which decorated graves in the cemetery could not fail to remind one that the occasions was also Memorial Day.
Old Midway church was the center of interest before the ceremonies began. Thousands climbed the winding stairs into the old fashioned balcony and looked down upon the colonial pulpit from which so many ministers of the Gospel of National fame have in by gone days propounded the Presbyterian doctrine. Notably among these was Rev.I.S.K. Axson, the great-grandfather of the late Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, wife of the president. More than 2,000 people entered their names on the pages of the book placed in the church yesterday for that purpose.
Probably for the first time in the history of commercial telegraphy, a telegraph station was operated yesterday within the walls of such an historic cemetery. All day long the Western union Telegraph Company sent out messages over the special Midway wire direct to friends of the senders as souvenirs of the event. Two messages to President Wilson went over the wires direct from Midway to Washington.
Scores of automobiles and other conveyances met the special trains from Savannah at Dorchester in the morning, but few were on hand to transport passengers back to the station after the ceremonies. Hundreds tramped the distance of one and one-half miles behind the troops on foot. In numerous spots along the road the sand lay four inches deep and it was a hot and fatiguing walk. The returning “specials” reached the city at 6:30 o’clock at night.
Troop A, First Georgia Cavalry, which rode to Midway last Saturday, broke camp late in the afternoon and started on the home march under the command of Capt. Frank P. McIntire. Adj. Gen. J. Van Holt Nash is with them. They are due to reach the city early this morning. The other troops returned by train, (A report of the unveiling ceremonies was contained in another article.)
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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in Historic Midway Cemetery


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Stewart-Screven Monument / Dedication 1915

The unveiling of the Stewart-Screven Monument in 1915 — at Historic Midway Cemetery, Midway GA

The unveiling of the Stewart-Screven Monument in 1915
— at Historic Midway Cemetery, Midway GA

Stewart-Screven Monument / Dedication 1915


An event of state-wide interest is that of the unveiling, on April 26, of the handsome monument erected by the United States government at old Midway church, in Liberty county to those two gallant generals of the war of the revolution, General Daniel Stewart and General James Screven, who lie buried in this historic churchyard.

The monument, which was erected at a cost of more than $10,000, stands in the main walk which runs through the center of the graveyard, with General Stewart’s grave lying to the left and General Screven’s to the right.

Extensive preparations have been made for the unveiling. Governor Slaton and his staff have been invited; the two United States senators from Georgia, the Georgia congressmen, the members of the Georgia legislature and the statehouse officers. Adjutant General J. Van Holt Nash will accompany the Georgia Hussars of Savannah, who will attend in a body; also the Savannah Volunteer guards and other militia organizations.

Colonel W.C. Langfill, United States engineer, will formally turn the monument over to Chairman N.J. Norman, who will preside at the unveiling. Colonel A.S. Way, of Liberty county, has been selected to speak for the descendants of the old Midway society. He will be followed by Congressman Charles G. Edwards, who after a short address will introduce the national speaker. This will be some one chosen by President Wilson to represent him upon this occasion.

This tardy recognition by the United States government of the heroic reviee rendered their country in the struggle for independance by these two generals (service in which General Screven lost his life) encourages the Daugthers of the American Revolution to hope that some day, with the help of the government, all of Georgia’s important revolutionary battlefields and all of the graves of our revolutionary heroes may be splendidly marked. It is a duty we owe to those who won for us liberty and independence.

Source: The Atlanta Constitition, April 18, 1915, page 5

To be unveiled at Midway, Liberty County, Monday, April 26

Savannah, Ga., April 21. — [Special] — Every detail has been prepared for the unveiling tomorrow of an imposing granite memorial to two of her heroes of Liberty county, “the cradle of liberty” and historic old Midway. Today the monument is shrouded within the Stars and Stripes. Tomorrow, released by the fair hands of Miss Helen Quarterman and Miss Eliza Maxwell Stevens, two of the thirteen sponsors, the folds of Old Glory will fall away and reveal fitting testimony of the reincarnation of the spirit of the patriots in those which have been instrumental in erecting the memorial to two famous Georgians, that their names and deeds might be prepetuated to posterity.

The first ceremonies of the day will begin at 11 o’clock. Judge Newton J. Norman, president of the Stewart-Screven monument commission will be master of ceremonies and introduce the several speakers. With him on the platform, besides the speakers, will be seated the thirteen sponsors, practically all of whom are direct descendants of either General James Screven or General Daniel Stewart; twenty members of the monument commission; Mrs. W.L. Wilson and four others officers of the Georgia Society, Colonial Dames of America; Judge Richard B. Russell of the state court of appeals; Adjutant General J. Van Holt Nash, and Major General Walter harris, of the state military department; William harden, secretary of the Sons of the Revolution; Colonel G. Noble Jones, president of the Society of the Colonial Wars; Miss Margaret A. cosens, regent of the Lachlan McIntosh chapter, and Mrs. J.S. Wood, regent of the Savannah chapter, D.A.R., George F. Tennille, representing the Society of the Cincinnati; Captain George W. Drummond, representing the Sons of the American Revolution, and a few others guests.

The ceremonies will open with the presentation of the tablet commemorating the restormation of a portion of the wall surrounding the Midway cemetery, by General Peter W. Meldrim, president of the American Bar association for the Georgia Society of Colonial Dames.

colonel J.B. Way, of Hinesville, will make the speech of acceptance for the Midway society. At the conclution of this feature, an hour or more will be devoted to a basket picnic on the grounds. Thirteen fair young sponsors will participate in theunveiling of the Stewart-Screven monument at 1 o’clock.

Source: The Atlanta Constitution, April 25, 1915, page B8


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Dr. Abner Poter, Riceborough, Ga

Dr. Abner Porter was born in Orange County, Virginia  in 1774, about the time of the Revolution. He studied for the medical profession and then migrated to Riceboro in Liberty County where he established his practice and also became a partner in the mercantile business with R.N. Grove.

At the age of 34, the successful bachelor was enjoying a nice medical practice  successful business venture and was well like in the community. We now have two versions of his troubles which arose and will give both.One says that he cast his affections upon one of the fair damsels of the Community and was repulsed in his attentions. The other story says he was in love with two fair maidens at the same time. One was so good, so clever, the other so beautiful. Which he loved the better he could not decide; his poor heart was torn and bleeding.

On February 7, 1807, Dr. Abner Porter sat at his desk and wrote his will leaving most of his business ventures to his partner; one third of his estate to his friend, Ms. Sarah M. Foster, probable his landlady, and the remainder to his brothers and sisters in Virginia. The will was witnessed by John and William Baker. He returned to his office and with the skill of the surgical training he neatly severed his femoral artery and was soon dead.

The Puritans of Midway Church looked with horror upon such an atrocious deed and refused to allow him to be buried within the confines of the Church Cemetery. The members of the church did allow his body to be buried just north of the boundary at the foot of a large oak tree. A few years later the present brick wall was constructed, at which time the cemetery was enlarged to include his grave and the aged oak tree at his headstone. Today the ever increasing roots of the oak tree are slowly pushing the vault from the ground as if the spirits of those Puritans are attempting to exclude Porter from their midst.


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Stewart-Screven Monument

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Historic Midway Cemetery, Photos