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A history of the earliest members of these families most properly is a part of South Carolina history. But they had descendents who migrated to the Georgia coast during the colonial period, and some of them became a part of Liberty County history. According to genealogists, these families were commenced in South Carolina by John and William Ladson, brothers, who emi­grated from England. William Ladson married Anne Gibbs, and at least one of their children was James Ladson, who married Judith Smith, migrated to McIntosh County, Geor­gia, established more than one plantation, had a business affiliation with Pierce Butler, and at one time owned But­ler's Island.

 

John Ladson married Mary Stanyarne , his second wife, in 1683. He died in 1698, leaving behind his wife and their children, Phoebe, John, William, Thomas, and Samuel Ladson. There was another James Ladson who migrated to Georgia and died around 1775. He had a son, James Ladson Jr., who most likely was the James Ladson whose death in 1818 is listed in Midway Church records. There seems little doubt but that this James Ladson was the husband of Mary Ann Dean (1744-1835) of South Carolina, who is buried in the Midway Church cemetery. Their children were Joseph Ladson, who married Catherine Rockenbaugh; William Ladson, who married Margaret Brant­ley, and Esther Dean Ladson, who married (1) Jonathan Fabian, and (2) Henry Harford. Mary Ann Dean Ladson had a sister named Esther Dean (1746-1812) who married (1) Edward Splatt (1747-1774), who is buried in Midway Church cemetery, and (2) James Dunwody (1751-1809), the physi­cian. James Dunwody and his wife are both buried in Mid­way Church cemetery.

 

A descendent of James and Mary Ann Dean Ladson Jr. was William Ladson, who married Cynthia Wingate. They had a child named George Whitefield Ladson, who was born at Bethesda, Savannah, Georgia, on June 10, 1830, and was named for George Whitefield, founder of Bethesda Orphanage, at the request of his father, who died two months before he was born. His mother died when he was four years of age, and, according to Reverend James L. Stacy, the Liberty County historian, " ... he was taken into the family of his uncle, John Dunwody of Liberty County, who was a deacon of Midway Church, and to whose care and family he owed everything. He removed with his uncle to Roswell, Georgia, on June 29, 1851."

 

The wife of John Dunwody was Jane Bulloch, sister of James Stephen Bulloch, grandfather of President Theodore Roosevent. George White­field Ladson became a minister of the gospel, and worked among the black people of Columbia, South Carolina, during the Civil War. When he died his congregation bore the ex­penses of his funeral and erected "Ladson Chapel" in his honor.

 

There was, when this history was published, a "Lad­son Genealogical Library" in Vidalia, Georgia, maintained by John ("Jack") E. Ladson Jr., who married Margaret Brice of Vidalia, Georgia. It was her father, in affiliation with the Lucas-Jenkins Theaters, who established the first motion picture theater in Liberty County at Hinesville in 1941.

 


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Appendix Number 39, Page(s) 222-223; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office