Puritans to Midway, Georgia
Puritans, Michael and Joanna Bacon, born ca 1670, migrated from England to Pennsylvania, then to Dorchester, South Carolina, and were the founders of the movement in Liberty County. Their minister had acquired large land grants for his congregation in Liberty County at Midway. The South Carolina Governor was a factor in encouragine Puritans to move into Georgia, because he said that there was a great opportunity in the Colony and fertile lands. The first minister in Midway was Rev. Osgood and the old Puritan Church at Midway, Georgia still stands. Midway is half way between Darien and Savannah.
The cemetery is across the street from the church building, and contains the graves of its original settlers who were emigrants from Dorchester, South Carolina. The Bacon lineage is traced and available to members of Georgia Pioneers (In the Library, click on "Colonial ". Puritans were industrious persons as well as religious and built a thriving community in Midway after 1752, when the Trustees surrendered the Charter to King George. The homeplace was situated on the Midway River. A son, Thomas, petitioned for 500 acres of land on Little Mortar, stating that he had a wife and eleven slaves.
There was a grand plan for the invasion from the south by an army operating out of East Florida under Lieutenant Colonel Mark Prevost. The army was to be joined by a fleet coming down from New York under the command of Colonel Archibald Campbell. But the army of Colonel Prevost was turned back in its first attempt before he could reach Savannah. However, in his southward retreat he caused destruction along the coast by burning and pillaging. The Congregational Church at Midway had suffered British vengeance and was burned to the ground. Colonel Campbell's mission, however, was more successful. He arrived in Savannah in December with an army of 2,000 aboard his vessels and landed near the mouth of the river to prepare to infest Savannah. The city was defended by General Robert Howe with an army of 600 men. Though outnumbered, he should have been able to hold the city, as it had excellent defenses in the swamps, however, he left one entrance open and the British were told about this by an old Negro with the name of Quamino Dolly. The slave acted as a guide for the British army and led them through the one unguarded passage in the swamps to the rear of the American army. The garrison was caught by surprise and the English chased the American soldiers through the city in a shameless route. It was an easy victory. Over half of the American army was killed, drowned or captured while the British lost six dead, with nine wounded. General Howe washed his hands of Georgia and ordered the garrisons at Sunbury and at Augusta, up the Savannah River, to join him in South Carolina. They refused. Georgians resented the General, but he was acquitted by a court-martial and relieved of his command of the Southern Department.
Liberty County Families
The Lost Town of Sunbury
Deep in the entrals of Liberty County lies the old town of Sunbury. After General Oglethorpe left Georgia, one of his officers Colonel Mark Carr who was granted lots of acreage, donated over 500 acres of land to a town in 1757. Carr maintained a substantial plantation and was a prominent force towards wealth and prosperity. Before the Revolutionary War, Sunbury thrived as a popular seaport town which attracted residents of New England who built homes for their winter residence and supported as many as five wharves along the Medway River. Around 1800 the town was struck by a hurricane and afterwards, fevers. During the War of 1812 the port was occupied by American soldiers to protect Georgia against an attack by the British. Thereafter, the area seemed to have vanished. When I visited the region in 1966, only a portion of the arch into the port was still standing. The property was privately owned and being used as a farm. The pier and cottages were gone. The old cemetery was sunken into the dirt and tombstones difficult to read. The Colonial Deed Records of Georgia reveal a thriving port whereby goods were received and shipped, contracts made with merchant ships detailing cargoes provide information as to its residents. In 1758 the town plat showed 496 lots arranged around three large squares.
The Flemings of Sunbury
ELizabeth and Helen Fleming, the young daughters of the late David Fleming of Sunbury, Georgia, who formerly resided in Edinburgh, Scotland, chose Dr. John Irvine of Sunbury and John Wallace, a Savannah merchant, as guardians. They were entitled to the estate, along with their sisters, Jean and Beatrix Fleming as the nearest of kin to the proceeds of the estate of their deceased uncle, Lieutenant Boswell, late of Edinburgh, as well as to that of their father. This information came from the Chatham County Deeds and these connections would have remained unknown had those deeds not been read.
Ships Lost at Sea
For 169 years vessels crossed the Atlantic into the American colonies. The adventure cost numerous lives and property and vessels went down in storms
and were caught on sand bars. Some vessels bound for Virginia, for example, found it necessary to unload their cargo in the ports of New England. When General Oglethorpe
engaged the first vessel to the Colony of Georgia, the captain refused to go any further south than Port Royal. Hence, its passengers had to
travel by foot into Georgia. Only today through the use of sonar equipment are we realizing that thousands of vessels sank in the shipping lanes
traveling their routes from Europe and the West Indies to the American ports. An examination of the deed records of Sunbury, Georgia in Liberty
County reveals contracts between ship captains and colonists. The content usually specifies that if the goods do not arrive by a date
certain, or if the cargo is spoilt, that the captain will not be paid. There is good reason, because the seas were frought with storms, hurricanes
and sandbars. As one studies these deeds, it is quite obvious that deliveries were not always made in a timely fashion which prompted the captain
to bring an offical complaint. Ultimately, the resort town of Sunbury was destroyed by a hurricane about 1800. A visit to the site is laughable. It is
privately owned today and one cannot help but wonder how this remotely situated site between Charleston and Savannah housed more than 400 homes
and a thriving economy. Yet the records reflect that it did. The loss of thousands of vessels during the colonial years means that the ships
manifest and passenger lists also sank. This means that the collection of Immigration records at the National Archives is but a small
percentage of a truer picture and it serves to emphasize the need to examine more closely "all surviving" county records from the earliest
times. All of Charleston, South Carolina records are in tact, including affidavits and deeds pertaining to the affairs of the colonists.
Although it is difficult to read 17th and 18th century documents, it is quite necessary, if ever we are to get to comprehend the whole picture and
trace further back on the ancestors. The growing collection of Pioneer Families affords the genealogist images of actual documents, such as
wills, estates, marriages, deeds, etc. A subscription is offered under 8 Genealogy Websites and includes:
Liberty County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Cemeteries, Maps
Many colonials who settled in Savannah also owned large rice plantations in Liberty County. Also, after General Oglethorpe removed the regiment to England in 1744, residents of Frederica began moving into Liberty. Liberty County, located in the southeastern portion of the state on the Georgia coast, was one of the seven Georgia counties created from the original colonial parishes on February 5, 1777. The Guale Indians inhabited that area from prehistoric times, and in the eighteenth century the tribe became a part of the Muskogee or Creek Confederation. The Spanish placed a mission on St. Catherines Island in the late sixteenth century among the Guale Indians. After General Oglethorpe left St. Simons Island, some of the settlers to Frederica removed into Liberty County, settling on large tracts of land grants. In 1752 after the Charter was surrendered, land was opened up to large parties and congregations for settlement. A group of Puritans from Dorchester, South Carolina (originally from Dorchester, Massachusetts) took up large land grants and developed communities such as Midway and Sunbury, a thriving Colonial port. In 1777, Liberty County was officially created.
Liberty County Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
- Midway Cemetery, a List of all burials.
Indexes to Probate Records
- Images of Liberty County 1870 Residents, Physical Descriptions of Persons
Digital Images of Wills 1779 to 1823, Book A
- Estate Index 1784-1791 (Digital Image).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames A (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames B (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames C (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames D (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames E (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames F (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames G (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames H (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames J(Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames K (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames L (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames M (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames N (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames O (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames P (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames Q (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames R (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames S (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames T (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames V (Digital Images).
- Estates 1784-1791, Surnames W (Digital Images).
- Index to Wills and Appraisements,Book A, 1789-1823.
- Index to Wills and Appraisements, Bk B, 1824-1850.
- Index to Liberty Wills and Appraisements, Bk C, 1863-1873.
- Index to Wills 1863-1942.
- Abstracts of Wills 1772-1887
Testators: Austin, Henry;Austin, Sarah Ann;Bacon, Martha;Bacon, Thomas; Baker, Artemas;Baker, Benjamin;Baker, Elijah;Baker, John Ichabod; Baker, Nathaniel;Baker, Susanna;Baker, Thomas, Jr.; Baker, William; Ball, Edward;Bennet, Elizabeth;Bell, William F.;Bennett, Hugh; Bennett, Rebecca;Bon, Richard;Brown, Francis;Brown, Mary;Burnby, Samuel;Burnley, Thomas;Butler, Shadrach;Cantey, James;Carter, Hepworth; Carter, James;Carter, Martha;Christopher, Spencer;Cochran, James; Cole, James A.;Cooper, Richard;Crews, Isham;Cubbedge, Ann;Cuthbert, Alexander;Cuthbert, Isaac;Douse, Gideon;Dunham, Margaret;Elliott, Daniel Robert;Feaster, Catharine;Fickling, Elizabeth;Fleming, William; Foster, John;Fraser, John E.;Fraser, Mary Ann;Fraser, Simon;Fraser, William;Girardeau, Ann;Girardeau, John Bohun;Girardeau, Rebecca; Girardeau, Sarah;Goulding, Thomas;Graham, James;Graham, William; Graves, John;Greene, Samuel T.;Harrell, Isaac;Hastings, Archibald; Hastings, Catherine;Hay, M.;Hext, John;Hinson, Clayborn;Jeffries, Nancy;Jones, Samuel;Jones, Susannah H.;King, Thomas;Ladson, Margaret; Lambert, John;Lambright, John;Lambright, Margaret;Lanchester, Thomas; Law, Mary E.;Lawson, John, Sr.;Lewis, Elijah;Lewis, Joseph;Lines, Samuel;Lockerman, Persiana;Lowe, John;Mallard, Lazarus;Mallard, Sarah; Mansell, Josiah;Martin, Alexander;Martin, Martin;Maxwell, Sarah; McCollough, Hugh;McCollough, James;McLair, Lewis;Munroe, Elizabeth; Myers, Daniel;Norman, Ann;Osgood, John;Osgood, Josiah;Peacock, John; Porter, A.;Powell, Elizabeth;Powell, James;Quarterman, Joseph;Quarterman, Rebecca;Quarterman, Richard;Quarterman, Thomas; Robarts, ThomasSallett, Robert;Salters, Samuel;Sapelo, Elias; Sandifer, William Case;Schmidt, Egideas Henry;Shave, Richard; Shepard, Edward;Shepard, Mary;Shepard, Thomas;Simpson, James; Singleton, Thomas;Smith, James;Spalding, John; Spears, John; Spencer, Rebecca;Spencer, Samuel;Stevens, Joseph;Stevens, Thomas; Stone, Elizabeth;Sumner, Edward;Walker, Charles;Walker, Joel; Way, Ann;Way, Susannah;Way, William;Webb, John;Wilkins, Hampden; Winn, Joseph;Winn, Sarah;Wood, John;Wood, Joseph;Woodward, William
Digital Images of Estates 1823 to 1829
Testators: Bacon, Thomas F.; Elden, James; Hughes, Elizabeth; Lambright, James; Ross, Fannie; Winn, Peter
Digital Images of Wills and Estates 1789 to 1823
Bacon, Martha, Baker, Artemus, Baker, John, Baker, Nathaniel, Baker, Susanna, Baker, Thomas, Baker, William, Ball, Edward, Bennet, Rebecca, Bennett, Elizabeth, Bennett, Hugh, Box, Richard, Brown, Francis, Bunnley, Samuel, Cantey, James, Carter, James, Cole, James, Cooper, Richard , Crews, Isham, Cuthbert, Daniel, Dollar, John, Dowse, Gideon, Dunham, Margaret ,Fickling, Elizabeth, Foster, John, Girardeau, John, Graves, John, Hastings, Archibald, Hext, John, Jeffries, Nancy, King, Thomas, Lambert, John, Lanchaster, Thomas , Law, Mary, Lawson, John ,Lewis, Elijah , Limbough, John,Lines, Samuel, Lockerman, Persiana, Mallard, Elizabeth, Maxwell, Isaiah, Mill, John, Minson, Clayton, Myers, Daniel, Newman, Ann, Osgood, John, Osgood, Josiah, Planter, William, Porter, A., Powell, Elizabeth, Quarterman, Joseph, Quarterman, Rebecca , Quarterman, Thomas, Quarterman, William, Robart, John, Sallers, Samuel , Sallett, Robert , Schmidt, Henry, Shepard, Mary , Shepard, Thomas , Simpson, Jerome, Singleton, Thomas , Spears, John , Stevens, Joseph, Stevens, Thomas, Summer, Edward , Summer, Thomas , Van Youesck, Wendell , Walker, Charles , Walker, Joel , Way, Ann , Winn, Isaiah , Winn, Joseph ,Wood, John, Wood, Joseph ,Woodward, William
Digital Images of Unbound Wills and Estates 1824 to 1833. Note: This will book has no index and this is the first indexed record
Testators:Anderson, William, estate; Austin, Henry, estate; Austin, Joseph; Axson, Sam, et al ;Bacon, Francis F., estate ;
Bacon, Joseph ;
Bacon, Thomas F. ;
Bacon, Thomas W.;
Baker, Richard Jr. ;
Baker, Thomas Jr., estate ;
Baker, William, estate;
Bennett, Matthew, estate;
Bradford, Ann, estate ;
Bradford, John ;
Butler, Henry N.;
Butler, Shem, orphans of ;
Campbell, John ;
DeLoach, Hardy ;
Dregnors, John M. ;
Elders, James, estate ;
Elliott, John, estate ;
Footman, Richard ;
Goulding, Palmer, estate ;
Gowen, John W. ;
Hargroves, Joseph ;
Holmes, James, estate;
Hughes, Elizabeth ;
Laing, Robert ;
Law, Benjamin ;
Law, Joseph ;
Lewis orphans et al ;
Mall, William T. ;
Mallard, Amarintha, orphan et al ;
Maxwell, James A., estate ;
McConnell, Robert C. ;
Mell, Benjamin, Sr. ;
Mills, Mary Ann ;
Mills, Mary Jane, estate;
Norman, William, estate ;
Ross, Francis, estate ;
Screven, John Odinsells ;
Smith, John W., estate ;
Smith, William Jr. (bond), guardian of John Madison Smith, orphan of John W. Smith, deceased ;
Stacy, James ;
Stacy, James, et al ;
Stewart, Daniel (General) ;
Stewart, Sarah ;
Stewart orphans ;
Taliaferro, Lydia ;
Tanner, William ;
Walthour, Andrew, estate;
Walthour, Elizabeth ;
Ward, William ;
Way, John ;
Webb, Thomas J., estate ;
Wilkins, Mary ;
Wilson, Josiah ;
Wilson guardians ;
Wilson orphans ;
Unbound Wills and Estates 1834 to 1856. Note: This will book has no index and this is the first indexed record
Andrews, Micajah, Ashmore, John, Austin, Mary, Bacon, Augustus O., Bacon, Thomas , Baker, Edmund, Baker, Elijah, Bacon, Jonathan, Broughton, John C., Butler, Henry, Currie, John, Hart, C. T., Hendley, Sarah , Hendry, Ann , Hendry, Robert , Hines, Lewis, Howard, Christian , Jones, Joseph , Jones, Mary , Jones, Samuel, Ladson, Mary Ann, Lanford, Joshua, Lanford, Susannah, Law, Joseph, Law, Sanuel S. , Lee, Elizabeth, Lines, Dorcas, Mallard, Elizabeth Quarterman, Martin, John, Martin, Lanetta , Maxwell, Audley, Maybank, Andrew, McGowen, Joseph, McDonald, Randle, orphan , McGowen, Sarah, Mell, Elizabeth , Mell, John S. , Mell, John S., estate, Miller, James B. , Miller, John, Moody, James Sr. , Morgan, Levender , Nelmes, Elizabeth, Osgood, Rebecca, Parker, Solomon, Powers, Anne , Quarterman, Elizabeth, Quarterman, John L. , Quarterman, Robert, Quarterman, Sarah, Russell, Mary, Screven, Charles O., Smith, William Jr., guardian of John Madison Smith, Stevens, Mary , Way, Moses W. , Wilkins, Paul Hamilton , Wilson, Josiah, estate , Winn, Ann , Woods, orphans
Miscellaneous Wills, deeds and estates (transcripts and digital images)
Edward Ball, John Goulding, Thomas King, General Washington Smith deeds to Henry Strum, White, William Smith deed to Brown, Dunwoody, William Smith deed to William Dyess Jr., Baxter Smith deed to Matthews.
See how easy it is to view Wills, Estates, Inventories, Returns, Sales online