Electric Lights and Running Water for Ray City, GA

Ray City Water and Light

Ray City Light Plant - September 18, 1923

Ray City Light Plant – September 18, 1923.  Bruner Shaw was among those present at the start-up of the power plant.

In the 1920’s the cities and towns of south Georgia were all working to bring electricity to homes and businesses. In fact, in the first six months of 1922, Georgia ranked 4th among all states east of the Mississippi in hydroelectric power production. At that time, 87% of all electricity generated in Georgia came from hydroelectric power.  In Ray City, though, the people still relied on kerosene lamps or gas light.

In 1922, Milltown, GA (now known as Lakeland, GA,)  began work on a one-thousand horsepower hydroelectric plant. The plant was expected to supply enough electric current for Milltown, Valdosta, and for other area towns including Ray City,  GA.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution; March 12, 1922

Work Soon to Begin on Hydro-Electric Plant at Milltown

Milltown, Ga., March 12. –(Special.) — The town council has purchased water meters and light meters and as soon as they arrive they will be installed.

F.E. Hatch, of Albany, will begin work in a few weeks on the hydroelectric plant. He has been delayed by not securing right of way from some parties. The plant is to be located on Lake Irma with water piped from Burk’s Pond, a mile away. The plant will cost about $350,000.  A thousand horsepower will be generated by the plant, current enough to supply cheap power for Milltown, Valdosta, Ray City, Adel, Sparks, Nashville, Ocilla and other towns.

Ray City wasn’t waiting for power to be run from another town, though.  Funds were appropriated in sufficient amount, it was thought,  to complete the construction of a municipal waterworks and  power plant in Ray City, and a contract was let.

 The Atlanta Journal Constitution; July 21, 1922

Ray City to Install Electric Light Plant

Milltown, Ga., July 21. –(Special.)  Ray City is soon to have electric lights and waterworks.

Mayor L. F. Giddens has closed the contract with McGraw & Co., of Thomasville, to put in the plant. All material is bought and expected any day. Work has begun on wiring the homes, and this part of the work will be completed by August 1.

The contract also has been let for boring a well near the dam, and the city will be piped as soon as possible, to give the people both electric lights and waterworks. They will own their own hydro-electric plant.

Bonds have been sold to take care of the expense. 

But the construction of the plant at Ray City didn’t progress well. The water quality from the deep well was bad, and the dam for the hydroelectric plant needed repairs before it was even completed. By the end of October there was still no power or water service in the city.

 

 The Atlanta Journal Constitution; October 28, 1922

Ray City Will Get Water and Lights

Ray City, Ga., October 27. –(Special.) — The deep well at Ray City has struck a vein of sulphur water.

The pipes have been laid and are being connected. Citizens expect to have water in their homes in a few more days. The dam at Beaverdam Pond is being repaired and in the course of a few weeks, the wiring having already been done, Ray City will be equipped with electric lights.

 

Things got worse instead of better.  Attempts to repair the dam failed, and when the dam finally broke the project was off schedule and hopelessly over budget. A year later the dream of cheap hydroelectric power in Ray City was running out.  In the meantime the city was running a kerosene fueled motor to drive the electric generator. It would take another bond issue to continue the project, and the people of Ray City put it to the vote. The election at Ray City to float additional bonds, $5000 for school purposes and $7000 for water and lights, was carried 64 for and 4 against.

 

 The Atlanta Journal Constitution; November 11, 1923

$12,000 Bonds Voted For Use in Ray City

Milltown, Ga., November 10 –(Special.) — The election at Ray City to float additional bonds, $5,000 for school purposes, and $7,000 for water and lights was carried 64 for and 4 against. Several years ago Ray City floated bonds sufficient, it was thought, to build a new school building, but building expenses exhausted the funds and left the building incomplete. As soon as the new bonds are sold, the work on the building will be completed and Ray City will have one of the best modern school buildings in the state.

It was also thought that sufficient funds were appropriated to put in a waterworks and electric light plant. But these funds gave out before the work was what they wanted. There is a hydroelectric plant. The dam was broken some time ago and the light is furnished now by a powerful kerosene engine. The funds to be raised by these additional bonds is for the completion of this work.

 On January 5, 1928 the Georgia Power & Light Company purchased the Ray City Electric plant, for the sum of $3,816.

Epilogue:

On Beaverdam Creek, just east of the Pauline Street bridge, are the concrete remains of the Ray City hydroelectric dam.  Nearby, the remnants of a mechanical shed remain.  The old Ray City water tower was torn down and sold for scrap a few years ago.

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1922 Ray City Elections

January 10, 1922 was Election Day in Ray City, GA

Lyman Franklin Giddens and Essie Parrish Giddens.  L. F. Giddens was elected Mayor of Ray City, GA in 1922.

Lyman Franklin Giddens and Essie Parrish Giddens. L. F. Giddens was elected Mayor of Ray City, GA in 1922. Image courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Atlanta Constitution
Jan 11, 1922, pg 6

Ray City Officials

Milltown, Ga.,  January 10. – (Special.) – At the election for the town officers at Ray City.  Tuesday, the following were elected: Mayor, L.F. Giddens: councilmen. J.T. Phillips, A.W. Turner, J.S. Clements, Jr., and J.A. Griffin.  They were installed immediately

Lyman Franklin Giddens, Mayor of Ray City

Mr. Lyman F. Giddens (1876 – 1963) – better known as “Judge” – served the town as mayor, city clerk and justice-of-the-peace. As mayor he was involve in the effort to bring a power plant and electric lights to Ray City, GA. He was also probably Ray City’s longest standing barber.

Lyman Franklin Giddens was born in July 7, 1876 in Berrien County. His father, Hardeman Giddens, was a soldier in the C.S.A. His mother was Martha J. Gaskins. In 1900, Lyman F. Giddens, age 23, was still living in his mother and father’s household on the family farm, along with his brother William Giddens. His father owned the farm, free and clear, and the two sons worked as farm labor. He married Essie Daisy Parrish on Jan 29, 1902 in Berrien County, Georgia. On September 12, 1918 Lyman Franklin Giddens registered for the draft.  He was 42 years old, a self-employed barber working in Ray City, GA. The Registrar’s  report described him as medium height, stout, gray eyes and black hair. In 1920  Lyman F. Giddens owned outright a house on Park Street, where the Giddens family lived.  Lyman was 43 years old, his wife Essie was 34.  Living with the couple were their three children, Inez, age 15, Homer, 10, and Ida Lou, age 7.   At this time Lyman was already working on his own account as a barber.

Also elected that day:

James Thomas Phillips, City Councilman
James Thomas “Jim” Phillips, (1880-1963) was 42 at the time of election.  He was born and grew to manhood in Dodge County, GA., coming to Ray City some time before 1920, where he worked as a salesman.  His wife died prior to the 1920 census, after which he boarded in the home of Ray City merchant J. Fred Hinely.  About 1921 he married Maggie Lou Dugger. Elected councilman, Ray City, GA, 1922.  By 1930, the Phillips had moved to Nashville, GA where Jim continued work in sales in the hardware line, and later worked as a commercial carpenter.

Andrew Washington Turner, City Councilman
Andrew Washington Turner came to the Rays Mill district as a young man with his widowed mother, some time before 1880. In 1892 Turner married Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans and the couple made a home and raised their children in Rays Mill, GA. They were civic minded, helping to found the Methodist church, and constructing some of the first brick buildings in town. The Turners made Ray City, GA their home through the 1920s.  The Census of 1920 gives Andrew’s occupation as “Cotton buyer” working on his own account.  His son, Jesse Turner, was working as a drayman, for public work. The family residence was located on North Street in Ray City, next to the homes of Levi J. Clements and Lucius J. Clements, operators of the Clements Sawmill.  Andrew Turner was also engaged in the in naval stores and the mercantile business. The Turners later moved to Valdosta, GA.  (see Andrew Washington Turner and Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans, More on Andrew Washington Turner and Phoebe Isabelle Sirmans.)

J. S. Clements, Jr., City Councilman
Joseph S. Clements was a native son of Ray City. Born August 14, 1886, his parents were Levi J. Clements and Rowena Patten. His family founded the Clements Lumber Company, the big sawmill which operated on the north side of town.  On June 29, 1916 Joseph S. Clements married Effie Mae O’Quinn.  She was born April 19, 1893 in Wayne County, Georgia. When Joe registered for the draft on June 5th, 1917, Joseph gave as a reason for exemption from the draft, “on account of wife.” His draft card information shows that in 1917 he and Effie were living in Ray City. Joseph described himself as married, and self-employed as a lumber manufacturer and farmer. He was medium build, medium height with blue eyes and light hair.  In the 1920s, J. S. Clements was Treasurer of the company. Elected to the City Council in 1922, he was a neighbor of fellow councilman Andrew W. Turner. Joseph S. Clements later served as Mayor. (see WWI Boom for Clements Lumber Company at Ray City, GA).

John Albert Griffin, City Councilman
John Albert Griffin  was a son of Micajah and Mary Griffin, born October 22, 1889 in Ocilla, GA. As a boy, he helped his father with the family farm in Rays Mill, GA. In 1909, his parents hosted traveling evangelist Rebecca J. Fox in their home when her gospel tent was burned at Rays Mill. About 1911 J. A. Griffin married Beulah Griner and the couple rented a home on Pauline Street where they raised their children. J. A. Griffin became a merchant of Ray City. When he registered for the draft for WWI in 1917, he was described as medium height and build, with blue eyes and light hair. In 1922 he was elected to the City Council.  Beulah Griner Griffin died May 15, 1928; John Albert Griffin followed her in death just six weeks later on July 1, 1928. They were buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery.

Lyman F. Giddens’ Barbershop

Lyman Franklin Giddens 1876-1963 in his barber shop in Ray City. He served in many capacities for the Ray City community including Justice of the Peace and Mayor. Image and caption courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Lyman Franklin Giddens 1876-1963 in his barber shop in Ray City. He served in many capacities for the Ray City community including Justice of the Peace and Mayor. Image and caption courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Lyman Giddens’ barbershop was one of the historic businesses of Ray City, GA.

The barbershop was in a small one-story wooden building located on the south side of Main Street, about where the present day Post Office is located.  Next door, on the west of Franklin’s barbershop was the first gasoline station ever built in Ray City, GA.  The gas station was in a brick building constructed around 1925 by Gordon V. Hardie. The gas station was set back further off the street than the other businesses, but a shelter extended out from the building to cover the gas pumps.  Next in line was the grocery store owned by Marvin and Arlie Purvis. Between the grocery store and the tracks of  Georgia & Florida railroad  was Leon Bradford’s barbershop. These buildings were located on the south side of Main Street just east of the tracks.

In addition to operating the barbershop, Lyman F. Giddens was Justice of the Peace. He conducted his official business out of the barbershop. He kept a desk in the corner of the shop that was always piled high with papers.

Fletch and Mac’s Garage Opens at Ray City

Although cars had been on the roads in Berrien County, GA shortly after the turn of the century, it was not until about 1925 that Gordon V. Hardie opened the first gasoline station in Ray City, the Hardie Filling Station.  Hardie’s  garage was situated on the south side of Main Street just east of the tracks of the Georgia & Florida railroad and  southeast of the corner of  Main and Paralleled Streets.  Within a few years Moses L. Giddens opened a competing garage and filling station and other Ray City automotive entrepreneurs hit the road running.

In 1945, Mac McSwain went into partnership with D.L. Fletcher to open Fletch and Mac’s Garage in Ray City, GA.  Among the products featured at the new service station were Woco Pep gasoline and Tiolene Motor Oil.

Joshua Brooks “Mac” McSwain, born April 15, 1902,  was a son of Mary Frances Gray and William Angus McSwain. He was born and raised near Cedar Crossing, GA in Militia District 43, Toombs County, GA. In 1910, his father was a sawyer and also an employer, but by 1920 he was back at farming.

By 1940, Mac McSwain had relocated to Ray City, GA. He was married to Lelia Vaugh. The McSwains lived with Lelia’s widowed mother, in a house on Pauline Street. Mac was employed as an automobile mechanic.

In 1945, the Nashville Herald announced the new Ray City business venture:

The Nashville Herald
October 25, 1945,  front page

New Garage to Open at Ray City

During the approaching week-end a new garage will be opened in Ray City according to an announcement appearing elsewhere in this issue, under the name of Fletch and Mac’s Garage.  The owners and operators are D.L. Fletcher and J.B. (Mac) Swain, both well known garage men.

The managers stated that they had erected a new building to house the garage and had bought new equipment to carry on auto repair work, electric and acetylene welding.  They will also handle auto accessories and Woco Pep gas and Tiolene oils.

It is understood that this is a muchly needed service in the Ray City area and no doubt the concern will do a flourishing business and serve the area well.

transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

Fletch and Mac's ad from the 1952 Beaver, the Ray City School yearbook.

Fletch and Mac’s ad from the 1952 Beaver, the Ray City School yearbook.

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Portrait of Hardeman Giddens and Martha Gaskins

Several previous posts have related events in the life of Hardeman Giddens (Hardeman Giddens and the Big Fishing Frolic,   Georgia Gossip about Hardeman Giddens, Civil War Bullet Dodger Hardeman Giddens Finally Catches One in 1887) Here is a portrait of Hardeman Giddens and Martha Jane Gaskins.

Portrait of Martha Jane Gaskins and Hardeman Giddens.

Portrait of Martha Jane Gaskins and Hardeman Giddens.

Hardeman Giddens was born in 1844 in that part of Lowndes County which was later cut in Berrien County, GA. He was a son of Jacob Giddens and Sarah Ann “Annie” Sirmans. Giddens served with the Berrien Minutemen during the Civil War. After the war Hardeman Giddens married the twice-widowed Martha J. Gaskins. She was a daughter of Harmon Gaskins and Malissa Rowland Rouse, born February 16,  1838 in Lowdnes Co, GA.  Martha, married first to Thomas Connell who was killed in the civil war; second to William Parker who died three months later; third husband, Hardeman Giddens, was a first cousin on her mother’s side.

In the 1900s the Giddens lived and farmed near Ray City, GA

Children of Martha Jane Gaskins and Hardeman Giddens:

  1. James Monroe Giddens, (1871-1951)
  2. Infant Son Giddens, (1874)
  3. Lyman Franklin Giddens, (1877-1963)
  4. Infant Son Giddens (1878)
  5. William Silas Giddens (1881-1943)

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Boys Lost in the Swamp

In 1906 two young men, William Franklin “Frank” Shaw and Ben Giddens, wandered into the South Georgia swamp. When it got late and the skies turned stormy the Shaw family, many of whom lived and worked in the Ray City vicinity, mobilized to search for the boys.  (Bryan Shaw, of the Berrien Historical Foundation, has written about his family history in the newsletter, Family of Francis Marion Shaw.)

The Valdosta Times
June 23, 1906

BOYS LOST IN THE SWAMP.

Cat Creek Lads Go Hunting and Failed to Return.

Frank Shaw and Ben Giddens Followed a Rabbit Into a Swamp and Were Unable to Find Their Way Out

Cat Creek, Ga., June 20 – Last Tuesday afternoon Frank Shaw, aged 15, son of Mr. B. F. Shaw, and Ben Giddens, another boy about the same age left their homes to go to the swamp nearby to gather huckleberries. The dogs that followed the boys treed a rabbit in the swamps, which is a bad place and the boys decided to go in the swamp and get the rabbit, when to their great surprise they found themselves lost.     The night was a dark and stormy one and the trees and limbs were falling in every direction.  The boy’s parents became alarmed by the boys failing to show up and they decided to go in search of them.     Messrs. B. F. Shaw and two sons, F. M. Shaw, Bobbie Taylor, John Shaw, W. B. Parrish, Frank Allen, J. S. Shaw, Brodie and Bruner Shaw, all went in search of the missing boys, some going in every direction.  The dogs that accompanied the boys did not come home, which brought great relief to the boy’s parents who realized that if the boys were either drowned or killed the dogs would have returned home.    The boys managed to find their way out of the swamps and got back to their homes about 11 o’clock, completely tired out.

Fortunately, on this day everyone returned safely to their homes.  Both Frank Shaw and Ben Giddens  would later call Ray City home.

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Jasper Giddens Caught

Jasper Giddens, who killed Calvin Hightower at Cat Creek,GA  was finally captured at Brookfield, FL in 1887.   The story of the killing was told in previous posts Cat Creek Knife & Gun Club and Jasper Giddens ‘Settles’ Knife Fight.

He was born as Isaac Jasper Giddens in 1844 at Cat Creek, Lowndes County, a son of Duncan Giddens.  The Giddens’ place was just a little southwest of the homestead of  Levi J. Knight, original settler of Ray City, GA. His father, Duncan Giddens, had served with Levi J. Knight in the Indian Wars of 1838, and a brother, John Mathis Giddens,  served during the Civil War with the 50th Georgia Infantry, Company B and died about 1862 in a military hospital. (See Marrying Cousins: Letitia Giddens and John Mathis Giddens.)

As a young man, Jasper Giddens had lived in Ware and Clinch counties,  but eventually returned to the general region of Cat Creek and present day Ray City, GA. He took a job as a farm laborer at a plantation on the Lowndes/Berrien county line owned by William Roberts, who at that time was also part owner of the land now occupied by the city of Ray City. (See Ray City Land Passed Through Many Hands

After the 1879 killing, Giddens had eluded authorities for seven years.  But The Atlanta Constitution reported his capture in 1887:

The Atlanta Constitution
March 14, 1887, Pg 2

Jasper Giddens, who killed Calvin Hightower in the fall of 1880, in the upper part of Lowndes county, was captured several days ago at Brooksfield, Florida and is now awaiting his trial.   The account of the killing was published in the Valdosta Times soon after it occurred.  Giddens and Hightower met a a country frolic.  There were several of the Hightowers, male and female, and they were all at enmity with Giddens for some cause, and they warned him not to enter the house where the dancing was progressing. He hesitated some time, but backed by some friends, finally entered when a row at once occurred in which Giddens was severely cut. At first he did not know that he was cut, and he left the house, but returned immediately when he discovered his bleeding wounds and drew a pistol and fired the fatal shot which took the life of Calvin Hightower – the bullet taking effect in the abdomen.  He dodged the sheriff for some weeks and finally arrange a $500 bond, on which were the names of about fifteen of the best men in that portion of Lowndes and the lower part of Berrien.  But before court, when he was to have been tried, he jumped his bond, and his bondsmen were forced to pay the amount. Since that time, those injured gentlemen have been busying themselves to find him, and they have at last succeeded. A detective was employed ans several days ago he landed Jasper Giddens in the Brookfield jail, and Sheriff Harrell, of Lowndes county, went after him. His trial will likely take place at the May term of Lowndes Superior court. There is also a bill against Giddens for bigamy.

Isbin S. Giddens Visited Old Berrien Friends in 1905

Isbin Sylvester Giddens was born in Berrien county, Ga. in 1858,  a son of Elizabeth Edmondson and William Giddens.  “His family is Southern, his paternal grandfather having been a native of North Carolina, and his maternal grandfather of Virginia.  His father, William Giddens, was a planter in Georgia, a county judge and a soldier in the Confederate army. His mother, Elizabeth, was also a Georgian by birth. ” Isbin S. Giddens was the youngest of nine sons.

Isbin S. Giddens grew up on his father’s farm, near Ray City, GA in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, where he and his brothers helped work the farm.

By 1880, Isbin S. Giddens had moved to Manatee County, Florida where he was working as a grocer and living in the household of his brother, Matthew Giddens.

Some time before 1890, Isbin S. Giddens moved to Hillsborough County, FL where he served as county treasurer.  He enjoyed great success as a grocery merchant forming his own company,  I. S. Giddens & Co., wholesale grocers, of Tampa.  In 1900, the Giddens’  home was located on Seventh Avenue in Tampa, FL.  By 1905 Isbin S. Giddens had all but retired and, by 1910,  moved to the flourishing Hyde Park district of  Tampa, where he was engaged as a self-employed real estate broker.  Three  of his brothers also settled in Tampa, where they were among the prominent  citizens of the city: County Commissioner Marcus F. GiddensDr. John A. Giddens, a well known dentist, and Henry Clay Giddens, a successful business man.

In 1905, Isbin Giddens made a trip back to the old neighborhood in Berrien County.  His visit was reported in The Valdosta Times.

The Valdosta Times
December 16, 1905 pg 7

An Old Berrien County Boy.

Mr. I. S. Giddens, a retired capitalist of Tampa, Fla., was in Adel Monday, a guest of his niece Mrs. W.B. Wilkes.  Mr. Giddens was reared in Berrien County and went to Tampa when it was hardly as large as Adel.  He was treasurer of the county there for fourteen years and made a fortune in the wholesale grocery business.  He has a summer home in Monteagle, Tenn., and spends a good deal of the time there. His wife is visiting in Valdosta.  Her health has not been good for some time but is now much improved.  Mr. Giddens has many friend in Berrien who were glad to see him.  -Adel News.
Mr. Giddens is a brother of Mrs. J. B. Carter, of Valdosta, and Mrs.  Giddens has been a guest of Mr. and Mrs. Carter for a few days.

Grave of Isbin Sylvester Giddens (1858-1916), Woodlawn Cemetery, Tampa, FL.

Grave of Isbin Sylvester Giddens (1858-1916), Woodlawn Cemetery, Tampa, FL.

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Geraldine Giddens

Geraldine Giddens, 1944, G.S.W.C. Sophomore

Geraldine Giddens, 1944, G.S.W.C. Sophomore

 

Geraldine Giddens was a resident of Ray City, GA in the 1940s while she attended Georgia State Womens College in Valdosta, GA (now Valdosta State University).

http://www.valdosta.edu/library/find/arch/pinecone/1944/1944pg78.html

Born Geraldine Hester Fletcher on February 2, 1924, she was a daughter of Eliza Carter and Zachariah Fletcher. She spent her childhood in Dasher, GA just south of Valdosta.

Geraldine Fletcher married Norvell “Joe” Giddens, and the young couple made their home at Ray City, GA.  He was a son of Emma Ward and Albert Sidney Giddens, of Cook County.

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens was a resident of Ray City, GA while attending Georgia State Women's College during the 1940s.

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens, 1943 freshman class photo, Georgia State Womens College. She was a resident of Ray City, GA while attending G.S.W.C. during the 1940s.

In 1944, Geraldine Giddens was a member of the Sociology Club at G.S.W.C.

SOCIOLOGY CLUB

The Sociology Club, composed of the majors and minors in this field, has carried on a variety of activities during the 1943-44 year.
    One meeting in each quarter was devoted to the rolling of bandages at the Red Cross room.
    A dance was sponsored for the benefit of the War Bond Scholarship Fund, and a War Savings Stamp was brought to each meeting by all members.  A donation to the Chapel Fund was made from the club treasury.
    The club became foster parent s to a refugee child in a colony in England by a $50 contribution which provides a bed for the child for a year.
    An agency membership was taken out in the Georgia COnference on Social Welfare for 1944, and the issues of the  bulletin “Georgia Welfare” received from the Conference were donated to the  library.
    Programs during the year were related to various concerns in the field of social work.  Outside speakers were brought in whenever possible.

“LANCASTER, Calif. — Geraldine Hester Fletcher Giddens, 87, of Lancaster, Calif., formerly of Valdosta, Ga., passed away Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Arrangements are handled by Halley Olsen Murphy Funeral Home, Lancaster, Calif. — Halley Olsen Murphy Funeral Home”

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens

Geraldine Fletcher Giddens

“Granny Giddens was born on February 2, 1924. She went home to be with the Lord on April 19, 2011. She grew up in Valdosta, Georgia with a large happy family of 10 siblings. Moved to California in 1955. Lancaster became her home in 1968. Granny had 3 children. Jerry and Joey Giddens that she missed very much and her daughter Shirley Griffiths of Lancaster. She had several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her happiest memories were taking care of them. Work of any kind made Grannys day, she needed to be busy. Over the years she had worked at Howard Johnsons, Mayflower Gardens and Whole Wheatery. Later in life she kept busy having garage sales and making sure Panache Salon was clean and orderly. Her daily visits to the senior center for lunch and their bus trips were a blessing. Her down home strength and life lessons will take us through, this sad time and will help us to continue to grow. Granny was loved and will be missed by all that knew her.

 

Hardeman Giddens and the Big Fishing Frolic

Another note about Hardeman Giddens, Civil War veteran and extraordinary citizen of Berrien County.  Giddens, a son of Jacob Giddens and Sarah Ann “Annie” Sirmans, had a farm near Rays Mill.  He was born in March of 1844 in Lowndes (nka Berrien) County, Georgia, and lived to see the town incorporated as the city of Ray City, GA.

In the winter of 1891 the talk of the town was all about Giddens’ great fishing expedition:

Atlanta Constitution
December 17, 1891

A Big Fishing Frolic

TIFTON, Ga., December 16. -(Special.)- There was a big fishing frolic in Berrien county a few days ago, and thousands of the finest bream and trout were caught and carried away by all who attended. Mr. Hard Giddens and others were compelled to send home after an extra team to carry away the fish, the amount caught by them being estimated at not less than 800 pounds.  Many others loaded their carts and filled their buggies in like manner.  Those who were in a position to know say that there was not less than 3,000 pounds of fish caught there on that day, and as many more perhaps left in the water.

A Big Fishing Frolic. Dec 17, 1891.

A Big Fishing Frolic. Dec 17, 1891.

 

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