Putnal Family of Ray City, GA
The farm place of Wayne and Ellen Gaskins Putnal was located on the south side of Ray City, on Park Street. Wayne Putnal worked the farm during the week and on Saturdays he could be found in town at Leon Bradford’s barbershop. The barbershop was located on the south side of Main Street just opposite the Victory Soda Shop. Mr. Putnal worked many years there, cutting hair and giving shaves. In his later years he had a noticeable tremble, but his customers could always be confident that he would apply scissors to locks or straight razor to whiskers with the steadiest hand.
There were seven children in the Putnal household, and they attended the Ray City School. They would walk up the dirt road that was Park Street to Johnson Street, then east to the school, joining the other farm children who lived along the way.
Children of Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal:
- Leston L. Putnal
- Grace Marguerite Putnal
- Clifford Earl Putnal
- Cary W. Putnal
- Nelda E. Putnal
- Dorthy E Putnal
- Glen H Putnal
Leston Putnal married Louise Cooper after graduating from Ray City High School. During WWII, he joined the Air Force, and it became a 30 year career. While he was away during the war his wife and son rented an apartment in Effie Guthrie Knight ’s house on Park Street. The large old house had once served as a hotel for tourists visiting the Mayhaw Lake Amusement Park. Later, Leston Putnal and his family lived in Adel, GA.
After high school, the sisters Grace and Nelda Putnal went to Jacksonville, Florida. Nelda got a job as an operator for the Standard Oil Company and in 1947 she married Charles J. Vance. Grace Putnal found work as a bookkeeper. She married Bobby Earnest in Duval County, Fl in 1953.
Cary W. Putnal moved to Macon, GA.
Earl Putnal was known to other Ray City students by the nickname, “Guinea.” Like his older brother, Earl fought in WWII. He served in the Navy and was wounded in action. After the war, he returned to Ray City and married Helen Marie Lee. She was the daughter of Letha Brantley and Loren Lafayette Lee. Earl and Helen moved to Jacksonville, where Earl took a job as a clerk with Spencer Electric company. Later, they moved to Galveston, TX where Helen’s parents had already relocated.
Dorothy Putnal married Payne Webb, a successful merchant of Ray City. He owned a liquor store located on the south side of Main Street, opposite the present day location of the Dollar General store. The couple spent their honeymoon in Atlanta, and returned to Ray City to make their home. After marriage, Dorothy went on to attend Georgia State Womans College at Valdosta, GA (now Valdosta State University.) After Payne died of cancer she relocated to Atlanta and remarried.
Glen Putnal became a dentist.
When Wayne and Ellen Putnal were ‘senior citizens,’ they moved from their home on Park Street to a place in town. Annie Mae Clements sold the Putnals a lot on the west side of her house, the Clements house being located on the southwest corner of Jones and Ward streets. Using the same building plans from which their farm home had been constructed, the Putnals had a house built on the town lot. In their new home the Putnals were known as “nice people and good neighbors.”
The Putnal house on Park Street is long gone, but the town home still stands on Jones Street in Ray City, GA.