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Historic homecoming open to public

Midway historic area to be on display

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POSTED: April 21, 2010 10:24 a.m.
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The hub of activity will be at the Midway Church on Highway 17.

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In the mid 1700s, a group of English Puritans moved their families and church from Dorchester, S.C., and established a new Dorchester in Georgia. That group, along with nearby settlers established a church, an agricultural economy and a sense of political pride for independence. The area thrived and eventually became known as Midway.
This weekend, some of the descendants of those settlers will come together to celebrate and the public is welcome to share in the experience at the Midway Homecoming on Friday and Saturday
“It’s the original 38 families,” said Dianne Behrens, who is the curator at the Midway Museum. The reunion will be on the grounds of the museum and the historic Midway Church.
Behrens said she is excited about the reunion because the museum will unveil a portion of its newest exhibit, The Jones Collection.
“The homecoming is where everybody that is a descendant from Midway comes back and meets, and we thought that would be a perfect time to show a few pieces of the Jones collection,” she said. “And basically it will be on display from here on out.”
Charles Colcock Jones was the son of a colonial merchant and planter and was deeply rooted in coastal Georgia. Jones was born at Liberty Hall, his father’s plantation, which once stood in Liberty County. At the age of 17, he committed his life to God and became a Presbyterian minister. While in Liberty County, Jones evangelized slaves and taught them to read.
In 1972, author Robert Manson Myers chronicled the Jones’ struggle through the Civil War in an award- winning book, “The Children of Pride: A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War.”
The book consists of thousands of letters written by Jones’ family members detailing their plight.
Last June, a descendant of Jones, Robert Seago, of New Orleans, and the executive director of the family’s trust, donated original artifacts that belonged to the Joneses to the Midway Museum.
This weekend’s homecoming will offer the community a chance to see Jones’ original Bible, his books, quilts, family silver, pictures and other items.
“The collection is valued at over $1 million,” Behrens said.
“Usually we get about 300-400 people,” the curator said about the homecoming. “It varies from year to year. They have dinners on the grounds and have a cemetery service, as well, just like they used to have in the old days.”
On Saturday, Midway Gallery will host the fifth Annual Midway Art Festival to coincide with the festivities.
Behrens said folks will also have the opportunity to sing inside the historic Midway Church. They also plan to screen a documentary video that details the early settlement of Midway.
Behrens said, “So if you really want to see something phenomenal, we really encourage you to come. It is one of the oldest reunions that is still ongoing.”
For more information call 884-5837 or e-mail: midwaymuseum@coastalnow.net.

 

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