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Annual cemetery tour mixes fun, history

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POSTED: November 4, 2010 11:05 a.m.
Offering a historical look at the Midway Cemetery, Liberty County High School students Adrienne Andrews and Emily Carrier led visitors on unique tours of the site Friday, giving attendees the scoop on some of the cemetery’s legendary “residents.”
Tina Eberlein, interim chairwoman of the Midway Museum’s Board of Governors, said they wanted to add a historic component to the tour to showcase the important, notable figures buried at the cemetery who once contributed to the establishment of Liberty County.
“We felt it would be a great opportunity for students to learn about the history,” said Eberlein, who has a background in teaching. “The idea of students learning about the history and being a part of providing the tours … Hopefully it will grow every year.”
The girls shared with visitors the stories of Gen. James Screven and Gen. Daniel Stewart while showcasing the marble monument that sits in the center of the historic cemetery. Stewart, who Fort Stewart is named for, fought in the Revolutionary War at the tender age of 15 and was the great-grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Folks saw where Louis LeConte, the famous scientist and botanist who founded LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation, was laid to rest.
Visitors heard about the cemetery’s famed cracked wall. Legend has it, two slaves fought one another using as weapons the bricks later used to build the wall. One man died. The survivor buried the dead man in the wall, but the area cracked and part of the wall started to crumble. Several repairs were made and years later, the dead man’s bones were discovered and given a proper burial. To this day, however, the wall continues to crack in the same spot.
Guests toured the gravesites of Charlton Hines, for whom Hinesville is named, and Roswell King Jr., who once owned a plantation on what is now Colonel’s island. King also managed the Butler Plantation in Darien after his father resigned. He was known for treating slaves harshly.
Eberlein said around 30 people took tours and Liberty County High school students were offered extra credit for their participation.
“We didn’t want to stop it,” Eberlein said of the Tales and Legends tour. She said the Midway Cemetery board members felt it was important to keep the tour going despite the recent retirement of former Midway Museum curators Dianne Clark Behrens and Joann Clark.
Behrens and her family used to dress in authentic period attire and lead the annual tours.
The Midway Museum is temporarily closed while Eberlein and the board search for a new curator. She said they hope to open by December, just in time for their annual Christmas tea. In the meantime, Eberlein and the board members say they are thankful for the support from the surrounding community.
“That is really what we need … community support,” she said.

 

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