The Legacy of a Congregational Church in Georgia

One of the most important churches for Presbyterians in the South wasn’t Presbyterian but rather was Congregational, and its history was recorded by Rev. James Stacy (1830-1912). The Midway Congregational Church in Liberty County, Georgia was founded by a group of Puritan settlers from New England on August 28, 1754, who at first came to South Carolina, found conditions there undesirable and then headed down to Liberty County, GA. They founded a Congregational church, and from this church would come six Congressman, and of ministers, fifty Presbyterians, seventeen Baptists, thirteen Methodists, and one Episcopalians. The Presbyterian ministers were some of the most distinguished in the Southern United States, among them being the great Old School Presbyterian revivalist Daniel Baker, the first professor at Columbia Theological Seminary Dr. Thomas Goulding, and the famous missionary among the slaves, Dr. Charles Colcock Jones. The Midway Church would eventually close, but its legacy of faithfulness did not. Dr. Stacy, who wrote the book on the church, made the remark that the Midway Church’s reasons for success was “the good pleasure of God, who, in his sovereign exercise of Providence putteth down one, and setteth up another.” He goes on to talk about some of the secondary causes and miraculous things that made Midway successful, but you will have to read the book for that! The Midway Congregational Church never fully closed, but ceased having Session Meetings in October, 1867, and slowly faded away, but its legacy endures today.  

William Sprague wrote in his Annals concerning the aforementioned Thomas Goulding: "It might be profitable to inquire why the one Church of Midway, Liberty County, has furnished more Presbyterian ministers for the State of Georgia, than all the other ninety-two counties united. The influence of one little colony of Puritans that made its way thither through a scene of trials and disasters, from Dorchester, Mass., who can describe? Heaven's register will unfold many a page which Earth's historians fail to write. What the Christian Church does for the State, the world will never fully know."