On Saturday, plenty of area residents will enter the graveyard across the street from the Historic Midway Church. Yes, it is again time for the Midway Museum-sponsored cemetery tour.
Attendees will watch the stories of the graveyard come to life. As tour guides lead groups through the graveyard and darkness descends on the burial site, costumed characters will re-enact tales of adventure and history.
Anyone interested is encouraged to learn more about the famous and infamous people buried in the cemetery by attending one of the cemetery tours, which begin at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Oct. 26. Reservations, which are required, can be made by calling 884-5837. This event is not to be missed. Tour participants will hear about Gen. Daniel Stewart, John Elliott, Gen. James Screven, Dr. Abner Porter and the Robarts family.
Don’t be surprised to see a shadow float across a tombstone. It likely would be Chloe, holding her little vial. Let’s go back to 1804. As the story goes, the owner of a rice plantation, William Robarts, purchased a young, mixed-race girl, Chloe, whom he made a house servant. However, Chloe displeased Mary, the planter’s wife, and was sent to the rice fields. Not long after, the mistress became ill and died. She is buried in the center of the graveyard. What happens next will be told at the Midway Museum Cemetery Tour. Does Mr. Robarts marry again? Does Chloe leave the fields? Are more graves filled? Come and listen to the rest of this amazing story.
The deadly yellow-fever epidemic of 1854 killed more than 30 children, who were laid to rest in the graveyard. Supposedly, during a full moon, mysterious little eyes play hide-and-seek with graveyard visitors. Will you be the next one to see the glowing eyes of the ghostly children playing among the headstones?
Can a tree act on its own? Perhaps. Over the years, the powerful roots of a large, old oak tree have dislodged the coffin of Dr. Abner Porter from its resting place. Legend has it that the uprooting is the cemetery’s way of rejecting the doctor. Why? Take the tour and hear doctor’s tale of woe and sorrow.
Can evidence of a violent act that allegedly happened in 1813 still be seen? During the construction of the cemetery’s brick wall, two slaves who helped build it reportedly got into an argument, preventing them from finishing their portion of the wall during the work day. The overseer sent all of the slaves home at the end of the day except the two who had fought; they were told to finish.
Instead, the two argued and began to fight. One of the men struck the other in the head with a brick, killing him. Afraid of the consequences of his actions, he allegedly buried the body within the wall of bricks. The next day, the surviving slave told his peers the other man had run away.
Later, as soon as the wall was finished, it started to shift, crack and crumble. Years later, the dead slave’s bones were found in the wall. The bones were removed and the wall was repaired, but to this day, the crack remains. What or whom still causes the wall to crack in this location?
The stories don’t end here, but you’ll have to attend the Midway Museum’s Cemetery Tour to find out what happened in each of these mysteries.
The museum graveyard is full of local history, starting with the founding of our country. Fort Stewart was named after Daniel Stewart, who joined the militia at age 15. He eventually made brigadier general, served in the Legislature and was the great-grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt and great-great grandfather of Eleanor Roosevelt. The monument in the center of the graveyard was erected by Congress in memory of Gen. Stewart and Gen. James Screven. Screven was a member of the Provincial Congress in 1775. He was killed in 1778 in a skirmish with the British under Gen. Prevost about a mile south of the Midway Church.
Be sure to call the Midway Museum for tour information and reservations at 884-5837.
Visit the Midway Museum, which was designed to look like the rice plantations that stood at Sunbury and Riceboro in the 18th century. See how the early settlers lived and learn about Midway’s part in the founding of this great country. The Midway Church is next to the museum. Both are just north of Highway 84 on the oldest road in Georgia, Highway 17, in the heart of historic Midway.