Family Papers Documenting The Lives Of Enslaved People In Liberty County, Georgia, Dating Back To The 1700s, Are Now Available Online.

Black and white photograph of a young African American boy standing next to a cow in a fenced pasture.
Julia King Collection – boy with cow



In partnership with the Midway Museum, the Digital Library of Georgia has just made the Julia R. King Collection available online.

King (1863–1952) was a descendant of the Roswell King (1765–1844) family of Georgia plantation owners and managers who owned land, property, and enslaved people across Georgia dating back to the 1700s. 

The collection includes essential documents related to slavery, including estate appraisals and inventories that include the first names of enslaved African Americans. It will be of particular interest to those doing family research on people enslaved in Liberty County, Georgia.

Stacy Ashmore Cole, the creator of “ African Americans in Early Liberty County Records, secretary of the Midway Museum Board of Governors, and president of the Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society, describes the importance of these records.

“The Midway Museum’s Julia R. King Collection contains essential references to enslaved people unavailable elsewhere. 

These documents will interest them and others who have not yet discovered their ancestry. 

The study of these enslaver families, including the Kings, is critical to Liberty County African American genealogical and historical research. 

They had a long tradition of keeping enslaved people within their families through inheritance, lending, and gifting, including down the white female lines. Because of this, the only way to trace a particular enslaved person is often through probate and enslaving family documents. 

The small size of the collection and its relative geographical remoteness have made it difficult for academic researchers to prioritize. The Midway Museum is also in an area vulnerable to hurricanes. 

Digitization ensures that we preserve these materials and make them easily accessible for future generations.”

View the entire collection online


About the Midway Museum

Since its founding, the Midway Museum has been supported by the descendants of the Midway Church members, who have provided 18th- and 19th-century family heirlooms, documents, books, genealogical lineages, and heirloom furnishings, paintings, and artifacts. Many Midway Church descendants still live in Liberty County and coastal Georgia, serve on the Board of Governors, and visit during the Midway Church’s annual Homecoming. Visit 

About the Digital Library of Georgia

The Digital Library of Georgia is an award-winning GALILEO initiative housed at the University of Georgia Libraries. With the state’s cultural heritage organizations, the DLG shares Georgia’s history online for free through its websites. The project supports its partner organizations by offering free and low-cost services. The DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper preservation project. 

Visit our website at
Twitter: @DigLibGA
Instagram: @diglibga 
Subscribe to our listserv

Selected images from the collection: 

Image courtesy of Midway Museum

Title : Julia King Collection – Man with Hands. 


Image courtesy of Midway Museum

Title : Exchange of Slaves between Mary Maxwell and Julia R. King, 1842.


Issues of the Mission Messenger Now Available Freely Online

19th and 20th-century issues from the journal of the largest group of Protestant women in the world have just been digitized. Mercer University Special Collections and Archives have partnered with the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) to digitize Mercer’s run of the Mission Messenger from 1895-1921, published monthly by the Woman’s Baptist Missionary Union of Georgia (WBMU), more commonly known today as simply the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU)

The Mission Messenger was digitized and described as part of the DLG’s competitive digitization subgrant program, broadening partner participation amongst nonprofit cultural heritage institutions across the state.  The collection was transferred to Mercer directly by the WMU, making it likely the most complete run of the Mission Messenger for the period. 

Starting from a handful of women in 1888 as the WBMU, the organization became the largest Protestant group for women in the world, with a membership of approximately 1 million. It was also the first and remains the largest body of organized laity in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Women’s organizations like the WBMU played a significant role in American life during the 19th and early 20th centuries, mobilizing women to raise money for Southern Baptist missions worldwide. 

Written contributions to the Mission Messenger came from a broad variety of WBMU members across the state. 

One of its most famous contributors was Mary Emily Wright Wilbur, a notable female leader of fin de siècle Georgia and the first member of WBMU leadership, who served as one of the publication’s early editors from 1899-1906. 

Although consigned to the private sphere of the home by law and custom, women influenced the public sphere of policy and society through organizations dedicated to causes such as temperance, poverty relief, anti-slavery, and suffrage, among others. 

Reports from local church chapters, adult and children’s programming suggestions, letters to the editor, financial reports, fundraising drives, Bible studies, and reports from Southern Baptist missionaries worldwide were regular features of the magazine and described how Georgia women viewed the world and demonstrated Georgia’s influence across the globe.

Issues of the Mission Messenger show how Georgians responded to significant historical events, including:

  • the Spanish-American War
  • World War I
  • the flu pandemic of 1918
  • the Women’s Suffrage Movement

These issues are also a valued resource for scholars interested in:

  • 19th and early-20th century women’s history
  • Baptist history
  • Georgia history
  • the history of 19th-century international Baptists missions

Genealogists will also find this collection valuable because of the articles and entries documenting individual members and contributors. 

Beth Ann Williams, the current executive director of the WMU, emphasizes the importance of the Mission Messenger’s digitization: 

“What began as a small number of missionary societies in Georgia Baptist churches has grown into women’s ministries and missions discipleship for all ages for 3,600 churches. A digitized Mission Messenger provides widespread and easy access to state and church women’s leadership. [They] would be able to read first-hand about the successes, struggles, challenges, and accomplishments of the WBMU. What a valuable and interesting source to help highlight the early years of missionary giving and serving that was done by and through Georgia Baptist women.”

About Mercer University Archives and Special Collections

Housed in the Jack Tarver Library on Mercer University’s Macon campus, Special Collections is located on the Library’s 3rd floor and preserves the University’s archives and records from all Baptist traditions. Special Collections staff assist with University faculty, students, and staff as well as patrons from national and international scholarly communities. Visit for more information.

Selected images from the collection:

July 1895 issue of the Mission Messenter (front cover)

Image courtesy of Mercer University Archives and Special Collections

Title: The Mission Messenger Volume 1, Number 7: July 1895 (Atlanta, Georgia). 

January 1921 issue of the Mercer Messenger (cover page)

Image courtesy of Mercer University Archives and Special Collections

Title: The Mission Messenger: January 1921 (Atlanta, Georgia).