Midway Church and Cemetery DeedIn addition to this transcription, see also the scans of the preserved pages, and the obituaries for Mary Amarintha Norman Beckett and Isaac Beckett.
The following copy of the deed conveying the land on which the church and cemetery are located will be perused with interest by many of our readers. It is one of the oldest documents pertaining to the colonial period of Georgia's history. We are indebted to Isaac Beckett Esq. Of Savannah for a copy of this ancient paper, as well as the introductory remarks preceding it.
The Medway (original spelling) colony, which is synonymous with the Congregation of the same name, was the offspring of a body of Puritans from New England, who settled on the banks of the Ashley, about eighteen miles above the present city of Charlestown (then known as Charles Town) in the year 1697. The town which they formed was named Dorchester, after their former home in Massachusetts. In the year 1752, having secured a grant to 22,400 acres of land in the province of Georgia, within the limits of the present county of Liberty, they commenced moving into this newly acquired territory. This grant was afterwards enlarged by the further gift of 9,950 acres.
The pioneers of the new settlement were Benjamin Barker and Samuel Bacon who came thither in 1752, and were followed by other members of the old society until 1771, when Jonathan Bacon, William Norman (Amarintha's great-grandfather) and Isham Andrews closed the list.
For some inexplicable reason the colonists located their residences at the low malarial section between Mount Hope swamp, the fountain-head of Medway river, and Bull Town swamp. The disasterous (sic) results of this injudicious selection are sadly attested by the records of the old Medway church, which show that while the number of births in the society during the first twenty years of its existence amounted to 193, the deaths during the same period attained the terrible total of 134.
To avert, if possible, this wholesale sacrifice of human life, the town of Sudbury was laid cut in 1758. This is now numbered among the dead towns of Georgia, all traces of the original plan having been obliterated by fences and farms, although numerous old deeds on record in Atlanta show that it had a bright period in its history, when lots were much in demand, and commanded a good price.
In March 1754 the pastor of the old South Carolina society, Rev. John Osgood followed the major part of his congregation to Georgia, and on the 7th of June the first sermon was preached in a log house on Medway Neck. The same year measures were inaugurated for the erection of a permanent place of worship, which occupied the site of the present church. It was destroyed in 1778 by a body of English soldiers under command of Col. Prevost – the present building was erected in 1798.
The deed following conveyed the land covered by the cemetery and church.
Know ye that the said John Stevens for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings Sterling to him in hand paid at or before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, will and truly paid by the persons hereinafter motioned, being a Congregational society settled chiefly on Midway and Newport, in the said province, the receipt thereof doth acquit, discharge and exonerate them and their heirs, executors and administrators forever. Hath given, granted, bargained and sold alienated, enfeeoffed (sic) and confirmed, and by these presents doth hereby clearly and absolutely give, grant, bargain, sell, alien enfeoff and confirm to John Osgood.
Of the aforesaid society to them, their heirs and assigns forever a tract or piece of land containing two acres, situate in the District of Midway aforesaid, butting and bounding South by lands of the Rev. Mr. John Osgood and on all other sides by land of said John Stevens, with a public road running through, to be appropriated for a Meeting and house or place of publick (sic) worship for the use of a Congregational Church or Dissenting Society.
Together with all the privileges, easements, immunities and commodities thereunto belonging, with all the buildings, fences, hedges, trees and wood, and all things standing, growing or being, or thereunto by any means appertaining. To have and to hold the above mentioned premises with all the appertenances (sic), to them, the above mentioned persons, their heirs and assigns forever, for the sole and proper use, benefit and behoof of the said above mentioned Society forevermore. And the said John Stevens for himself, his heirs, executors and administrators doth covenant and promise to and with the above mentioned persons, their heirs and assigns, in manner and form following (that is to say) that until the sealing and delivery of these presents, and at the time of this bargain and sale, he the said John Stevens is the true, sole and lawful owner of all the above granted premises, and hath in himself good right, full power and lawful authority to grant, sell, convey and assure the same in manner and form as aforesaid. And that the said above mentioned persons, their heirs and assigns, shall and may from henceforth and forevermore hereafter, by force and virture (sic) of these presentes, (sic) lawfully, peaceably and quietly have, hold, use, occupy, possess and enjoy all the above granted premises, and their appertenances, without any let, molestation, denial, trouble or contradiction from him the said John Stevens, or his heirs, executors or administrators, or from any other person or persons claiming or having any lawful right, title without or property therein, by, from or under him, or by any other lawful means or ways whatsoever. And lastly that the said John Stevens or his executors or administrators at any time hereafter at the reasonable requests, and at the costs and charges in law of the above mentioned society or persons, their heirs or assigns, make, do and execute any and every other and further thing or things, device or devices as shall be by the said Society or persons, or their heirs of their Councel (sic) learned in the law devised or required for the further, better and more perfect conveying, confirming and assuring the premises as aforesaid.
In witness thereof the said John Stevens and Mary his wife, in token of her free consent to this act and deed of her husband have hereunto set their hands and seals the nineteenth day of April in the twenty-ninth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second, King, and Anno Domini 1766.
John Stevens, L.S.
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of
Memorandum: that on the 19th day of April, 1766 the within named John Stevens did take quiet possession, and livery and seisin (sic) of the within granted premises, and the like quiet and peaceable possession did yield and deliver unto William Baker & Benjamin Baker, two of the within named grantees, in behalf of the whole number of antees (sic) within mentioned.
In the presence of
Submitted by: Tom Weiss who transcribed it from the newspaper clipping pasted in the notebook of his great-grandmother, Mary Amarintha Norman Beckett. The article was written by her husband, Isaac Beckett, and includes the deed for the land for the original church and cemetery.
Last changed: $Date: 2007/10/17 19:54:38 $