A brigadier general in the Georgia militia and the great-grandfather of U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, Daniel Stewart distinguished himself in both the American Revolution (1775-83) and the War of 1812 (1812-15). Fort Stewart and Stewart County are named after him.
Daniel Stewart was born to Susannah Bacon and John Stewart on December 20, 1761, at Tranquil Plantation in what is now Liberty County. His mother died, probably of malaria, when he was five years old, and his father married Sarah Nickols in 1769. His father, who was a militia officer, died in 1776. In the same year fifteen-year-old Stewart enlisted in the militia. Under the command of Colonel John Baker of Liberty County, for two years Stewart’s unit attempted unsuccessfully to rout the British from Florida.
In 1778 Stewart was wounded and captured by the British near Charleston, South Carolina. He was placed aboard a British prisoner-of-war ship in Charleston Harbor but escaped with other prisoners of war and swam to shore. While in hiding with South Carolina relatives, he met his first wife, Martha Pender. She died in childbirth a year after their wedding, but their child, John, survived. Promoted to colonel, Stewart established a cavalry brigade and then served as the commander of the Minutemen of Georgia.
After the war Stewart established Cedar Hill plantation in Liberty County near the home of his stepmother. In 1785 he married Sarah Susannah Oswald and sent for his son, who had been living with South Carolina relatives. This marriage produced two surviving children, Daniel McLachlan in 1791 and Martha in 1799. During these years Stewart was involved in resolving the Creek Indian wars. He served as a state representative from 1785 to 1787, Liberty County sheriff from 1795 to 1797, and state senator for three terms between 1802 and 1811. He was also instrumental in constructing the brick wall, which still stands today, around the Midway Church cemetery.
Stewart’s second wife died in 1807, and in 1810 he married Sarah Hines Lewis. His third marriage produced two daughters. In 1809 Stewart was promoted to brigadier general in the Georgia Militia and commanded a cavalry brigade during the War of 1812. After the war he was involved in Masonic rites and in veterans’ meetings and affairs. He died at Cedar Hill on May 27, 1829, and is buried in the Midway Church cemetery. In 1915 the U.S. Congress erected a monument in the cemetery in honor of Generals Daniel Stewart and James Screven.