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Local history items make unique gifts
Liberty lore
1219 Civic center chairs
The Dorchester Village Civic Center is selling old auditorium chairs for $25 each. - photo by Photo provided.

It is that time of year when we frantically search for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Why not consider a book or item depicting Liberty County’s history? To my knowledge, there are several available. And if you go that route, I think you will be pleased with whatever you select.
Last week I was at the Dorchester Village Civic Center and saw the old auditorium chairs they are selling for $25 each. The chairs, which have iron legs, are in excellent condition. Anyone interested in owning a piece of history can buy individual chairs or rows of chairs. All you’d need to do is refinish the wood and paint the iron pieces and the seats would look great. One chair would look nice in a home or a row of them would be perfect for an office. E-mail Julie Martin at if you are interested.
Last year, Meredith R. Devendorf provided us with a great treasure book, “Images of America—Liberty County.” Her 128-page book is full of great pictures of Liberty County’s past and short briefs containing historic information and descriptions accompany the photos.
Meredith captured the spirit of our county from the beginning. “This book is not about the famous, the infamous, or the unknown but everyone. Together, their individual threads weave the tapestry of Liberty County,” she said.
This is a book you will want to pick up and enjoy time after time. There are pictures of the devastation caused by the hurricane of 1893, lawmen pouring moonshine down the drain in front of the courthouse, early photos of Camp Stewart, John F. Kennedy’s visit and many more. Anyone who is from Liberty County or lives here now would appreciate receiving this gift. This book is available in book stores and at the Midway Museum. Buy one for yourself and several for your friends. Thank you, Meredith, for taking time to preserve this history for us.
The book “Children of Pride” also is still available. It is the historic collection of letters the C.C. Jones family wrote to each other and friends for many years before the Civil War and for years after. The letters paint a nice, personal picture of Liberty County during that era. They also describe the family’s heartaches and happy times.
Nine years of Liberty County research went into Erskine Clarke’s book, “Dwelling Place.” It is also about the C.C. Jones family, their many coastal plantations and the slaves who worked for them. The author traces four generations of plantation owners and the slave families from 1805 through 1869. You can read about the tragedies that struck and killed so many young children. You will learn about the food they ate and how it was prepared. The book makes readers see how humiliating it was for slaves to be sold on the auction block at the Riceborough Courthouse. You will see how the Civil War changed much of Liberty County. There is so much history in this book about our county and it’s all supported by legal documents researched by Clarke. If you buy only one book about plantation life in Liberty County, make it this one. It is easy to read.
“Recollections of a Southern Daughter” is a memoir by Cornelia Jones Pond of Liberty County. The 208-page, unbound, handwritten manuscript was found in the attic of an old home many years ago. The great-nephew of the writer presented it to the Midway Museum. Josephine Martin edited it and it was printed in 1983 as “Life on a Southern Plantation.” In 1998, it was published in its entirety by Lucinda H. MacKethan from the University of Georgia Press. She did much research and added several pages of history and biographical information.
Cornelia grew up on Tekoah Plantation, which was next to the LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation. Tekoah was one of the largest and most profitable plantations in Liberty County. Cornelia was blind in 1899 when she began dictating her memories from 1834-1874 for her children and grandchildren. She never believed her memoirs would be printed.
According to Cornelia, the first 30 years of her life were filled with every luxury one could imagine, but things changed in a hurry when Sherman’s army marched through Liberty County. She never expected she would one day hide a jar of lard, a little cornmeal and a piece of bacon in a box under her bed to keep from starving. Her “treasure,” however, was found by the Yankees and she said they whooped with joy. Cornelia went from ordering herself the finest hats from Savannah to fashioning her own headwear from palmettos. This Liberty County woman was blessed with the ability to vividly recall minute details of her life’s events.
Some of the other books available at the Midway Museum include “Native Flora”, “Plantation Life After Emancipation,” “Daughters of the Revolutionary” and “Sunbury on the Medway.”
“Sweet Land of Liberty” by Robert Groover is an excellent historic account of Liberty County with many pictures. It is available at the museum and in the Liberty County Commission office in the courthouse.
“Liberty County A Pictorial History” is a beautiful book compiled by Virginia Fraser Evans. Many of the photographs were made by Van Jones Martin and produced by the Liberty County Commission in 1979. The dust jacket bears a lovely picture of the historic Midway Church and Cemetery. This book is available at the museum and the courthouse.
Check with local churches to see if they have cookbooks for sale. These make great gifts and offer a taste of the local cuisine. Hinesville’s First Baptist Church recently produced one with fantastic recipes in it.
Betty Grugin’s prints of Liberty County are still available at The Frame Gallery on Main Street and possibly at Victory Trophies.
Hinesville City Hall has Hinesville and Liberty County afghans, bell pulls, wall hangings, tote bags and glass coffee mugs.
I am sure there are other Liberty County items available for purchase that I don’t even know about. Look around and choose something unique — a slice of Liberty County history.

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