Historical Markers

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Skirmish at Hinesville

On Dec. 16, 1864, a detachment of the 7th Illinois Infantry (mounted) foraging near the right flank of Gen. Sherman's army (US) which was then closing in on Savannah, met here in Hinesville a detachment of cavalry from Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson's brigade of Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler's cavalry corps of the Army of Tennessee (CS). Wheeler's corps and units of the Georgia Militia had offered steady resistance to Gen. Sherman's "March to the Sea" from Atlanta to Savannah.

After a sharp skirmish through the town, the Confederate detachment withdrew toward the Canoochee River to rejoin Iverson.

Hinesville Hwy 84 W @ Ryon Ave 1958 Free Standing
Athletic Programs at Dorchester Academy 1926-1940

Founding the athletic programs was considered one of Principal Elizabeth Moore's greatest achievements. School teams came to be known as the Dorchester Academy Tigers and Tigerettes, with "Shag" the tiger as their mascot. Dorchester Academy participated in it's first athletic event in 1926, a Savannah public school track meet. Basketball teams were organized that same year.

The academy began to develop a football team in 1927 and a baseball team soon after. Boys' and girls' basketball teams both dominated the Southeast Georgia High School Athletic Conference during the 1932-1933 inaugural season. By 1935, both teams had won their third consecutive annual titles. In 1935 and 1936, the boys' team won the state basketball championship and was invited to play in the annual Southern Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament at the Tuskegee Institute. The girls' team was also invited to play in this tournament in 1936.

Tennis was introduced in 1931 and a tennis club was founded in 1933. The tennis program was so successful that Dorchester Academy became a charter member of the Georgia State Tennis Association (GSTA) and by 1936 Dorchester Academy students were competing in international tennis tournaments.

The school's tennis program was honored in 1938 when several nationally ranked tennis professionals played an exhibition match on campus. Most of the other stops were at colleges. The athletic programs at Dorchester Academy gave the students a feeling of pride in themselves and in what they could accomplish

 

Midway Dorchester Academy (Midway) Plaque Free Standing
Button Gwinnett

In this, Saint John's Parish, (now Liberty County), lived Button Gwinnett, signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, Speaker of the Assembly, and President of the Executive Council. He also was a member of the Convention that met in Savannah in October, 1776, in which he played a prominent part in drafting the first Constitution of the State of Georgia.

Born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1735, son of a Church of England vicar, Button Gwinnett came to Georgia in 1765 and acquired a store in Savannah. He shortly purchased St. Catherines Island in this parish. He moved to the island at once and engaged in farming and cattle raising. His business was transacted in Sunbury, then a thriving port.

On May 16, 1777, Mr. Gwinnett was mortally wounded in a duel fought on the outskirts of Savannah with Gen. Lachlan McIntosh, dying on May 19. Mr. Gwinnett's grave is supposedly in Savannah, but its exact location is unknown and unmarked. One of his rare autographs sold for over $50,000.
 
Erected 1954 by Georgia Historical Commission. (Marker Number 089-2)

Mike Stroud Midway US 17 @ the Midway Church 1954 Free Standing
Civil Liberties at Dorchester Cooperative Center

In an effort to involve Liberty County African Americans in politics, the Dorchester Cooperative Center (DCC) began to help organize African American Voters. The DCC taught local African Americans the United States and Georgia constitutions, followed the activities of state and national representatives, charted how legislators voted on issues, interviewed candidates for office, and discussed issues and community goals.

They also instructed citizens on how to mark ballots and general behavior at the polls. In 1953, the DCC formed a branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1961, they gained national attention when the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), in cooperation with the American Missionary Association (AMA), established " Leadership Training Programs and Citizenship Schools" at Dorchester Academy to train grass roots leaders from throughout the South. These leaders would go back to their communities to organize and train others.

Some of the influential SCLC leaders who frequented the DCC were SCLC Educational Director Dorothy Cotton, supervisor of teacher training Septima Clark, and Citizenship Program Administrator Andrew Young. Notable civil rights leaders who attended DCC programs included Ralph Abernathy, Wyatt Walker, and Dr.Kartin Luther King Jr. King's biographer David L. Lewis contends that King planned his 1963 Birmingham campaign while staying at Dorchester Academy in Elizabeth B. Moore Hall. Although DCC membership has steadily declined, the organization now known as the Dorchester Improvement Association (DIA), still exists and continues to educate and support African Americans in Liberty County.

The Power of Cooperation

The people of the Dorchester Cooperative Center understood that in order to make even the smallest difference everyone had to do their part. When the Farmers Co-op at the Center wanted to buy a tractor, twenty families pooled their resources and purchased their own cooperatively owned tractor. The debt on the tractor was completely repaid within the next three years.

Midway Dorchester Academy (Midway) Plaque Free Standing
Dorchester Academy

Formal education of blacks started with the Freedmen's Bureau in Liberty County. The Homestead School was continued with the aid of the American Missionary Association (AMA) and support of Reconstruction legislator William A. Golding. The AMA started with one acre of land and 77 students in 1870. In 1874, the Reverend Floyd Snelson succeeded Golding at the school.

The AMA and Snelson built a new school and named it Dorchester Academy in honor of its Puritan lineage. In 1890, Dorchester Academy started a boarding school. By 1917, the school had eight frame buildings on 103 acres, 300 students, and become a fully accredited high school.

The academic program ceased in 1940, with the construction of a consolidated public school for black youth at Riceboro. All academic equipment plus $8,000 were transferrred toward that consolidation. Since, the facilities have served the community under the title Dorchester Cooperative Center, Inc. AMA continues financial support.

Midway Dorchester Academy (Midway) 1983 Free Standing
Dorchester Academy Boy's

This Georgian Revival building, built in 1934 to replace an earlier structure destroyed by fire, was once part of an extensive school campus begun in 1871 by the American Missionary Association. The school, founded to serve the educational needs of black children of Liberty County and coastal Georgia, closed in 1940 after public education became available to black children.

In 1948 the American Missionary Association, with the assistance of the local community, expanded the dormitory into a community center, which by 1961 would become the focus for many Southern Christian Leadership Conference sponsored Citizen Education Workshops here (1962- 1964), training over 1,000 teachers and leaders, who in turn educated over 10,000 in the basics of voter registration and non-violent social change.

Dr. M.L. King, Jr. held a planning retreat here in 1962 to prepare for the 1963 Birmingham Campaign, one of the first major victories of the Civil Rights Movement.
 
Erected 1990 by Georgia Historic Marker. (Marker Number 089-27)

Mike Stroud Midway Dorchester Academy (Midway) 1990 Free Standing
Dorchester Presbyterian Church

This church, built in 1854 on a lot of four acres donated by B.A. Busbee, was first used for summer services only. On January 6, 1871, it was admitted into the Savannah Presbytery as an organized church of 14 members. The Rev. J. W. Montgomery was the first pastor. L.J. Mallard was the first ruling elder. The bell, from old Sunbury, was once used for church, school, market and town.

The font and communion service are from Midway Church. The font was a gift from Dr. William McWhir, the tankard from John Lambert, the communion service from Simon Monroe, Esq. Elders contributing most in later years - Preston Waite and Charles B. Jones.
 
Erected 1957 by Georgia Historical Commission. (Marker Number 089-11.) 

Midway South 0.3 miles from Ga 38, 5.8 miles east of Midw 1957 Free Standing Excellent Refurbished 2015
Dr Lyman Hall

Dr. Lyman Hall was a Georgia signer of The Declaration Of Independence. He represented Saint John's Parish in the Continental Congress, and was a delegate from Georgia to the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia.

He was a founder of Sunbury and as Governor of Georgia (1783-1784) he gave strong support to education and religion. He was instrumental in obtaining the grant of land which led to the establishment of the University of Georgia.

Born in Wallingford, Connecticut, April 12, 1724, Dr. Hall moved to Saint John's Parish where he purchased the plantation now known as Hall's Knoll. He became a leading physician, planter, patriot, and was active in mercantile and shipping circles in Sunbury.

Dr. Hall died in 1790 and was buried on his plantation at Shell Bluff Landing in Burke County. In 1848, his remains were re-interred in Augusta, beneath the granite obelisk, 'The Signers' Monument.'

Midway Hwy 17 at the Midway Church Free Standing
Elizabeth B. Moore

In 1925, Elizabeth B. Moore began her six-year tenure as Dorchester Academy's only female, African American principal. She insisted that both parents and community accept responsibility for supporting the school. She believed that charity and tuition breaks should be given only when absolutely necessary.

Due to Moore's efforts, many parents began to recognize the importance of paying tuition and how it would benefit their children. Principal Moore expanded the school's curriculum to include art appreciation lessons and during her administration the music department greatly improved. She encouraged the children to take pride in their accomplishments by increasing the number of student presentations given to the public.

In 1927, Moore added fifteen minutes of physical education to the children's daily routine. With the addition of a science department in 1930, Dorchester Academy achieved accreditation. The growing success of the students under Moore's administration was so great that neighboring schools and colleges began to visit Dorchester Academy to recruit students for further education. Moore created the Dorchester Academy Alumni Association.

 

Mike Stroud Midway Hwy 84 2004 Plaque Free Standing
General James Screven Killed in Battle Here

On November 24, 1778, General James Screven was mortally wounded in a battle fought near this spot.

With General Screven in the action were Major James Jackson, Colonel John White, Capt. Celerine Brusard and Capt. Edward Young, with 100 Continentals and 20 Mounted Miltia, against a force of 400 British Regulars, Refugees and Indians under Col. James Mark Prevost and Col. Daniel McGirth. General Screven died from his wounds the following day.
 
Erected 1957 by Georgia Historical Commission. (Marker Number 89-17)

Mike Stroud Midway Hwy 17 South 1957 Free Standing Poor Needs Refurbishing