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Treasures of Midway
Citizen journalist report
Matt Norsworthy
Editor’s note: Matt Norsworthy is the first person to respond to the Courier’s call for first “citizen journalists.” He will contribute columns and articles from the Midway area. The Courier is still seeking CJ’s to provide news and feature stories from the other municipalities in Liberty and Long Counties.

As travelers turn onto Highway 17 in Midway from Highway 84 and pass over the Cay Creek Bridge, they enter Midway’s historic district.
This quaint stretch of highway seemingly begs travels to slow down and take a look at the beautiful scenery. Magnificent oak trees shade businesses sprinkled in the downtown area, but one structure stands above all others — the Midway Church.
The church, a picturesque building, has been photographed and used to represent Liberty County’s history more than any other structure in the county.  
The church and its cemetery are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  
The church’s tall, slender steeple towers above the trees and is easily visible to motorists who cruise into the historic district. It’s a grand, white structure with many windows uniformly trimmed by black shutters.
According to historical accounts, the city of Midway was built along Oglethorpe’s road from Savannah to Darien and served as a midpoint between the two cities, thus the name Midway.  
The Midway Congregational Church and Society built the first church in 1754, and the fourth and final church building that stands today was built in 1792.
The first pastor of the Midway Church was the Rev. John Osgood, who is buried in the cemetery across the street.
The church began in the Puritan faith but later became a member of the Presbyterian denomination.
Joann Clark, curator of the Midway Museum, confirmed the church is reported to be the first in the state with a paid secretary and director of music. It is also said to have one of the first Sunday school libraries.
Financial support for the Midway Church and the museum is very minimal in relation to the amount of important history, artifacts and genealogy both provide. Public donations and sponsorship are important to maintaining them.
Clark also pointed out there are several key events at the church, including a homecoming service in April for all of the descendants of the Midway Congregational Church and Society, an Easter sunrise service, Symphony in the Church in the fall, and Colonial Christmas Tea and Open House on the second Saturday in December.
The city of Midway has a history that dates back to the beginnings of both Liberty County and the state of Georgia.
Links to this past can be found in the treasures of Midway and its historic landmarks.  
Mayor Don Emmons recently referenced the city’s efforts to protect these treasures during the July 9 city council meeting.
He said, “We can all take comfort in knowing that these historic structures are protected as landmarks thanks to the measures provided for them in the city’s master plan.”
Liberty County residents and visitors should tour the church and the rest of Midway to experience the vast amount of history in our own backyard.

Norsworthy is an English college professor, a Liberty County Historical and Cultural Committee member and serves as the Midway representative on the Coastal Regional Development Center’s Historic Preservation Advisory Council.
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