Jay Sirmans (1864 – 1916)
Jay Sirmans was born during the Civil War, April 16, 1864 in the vicinity of present day Ray City, GA . His father was Hardiman Sirmans, well known Confederate veteran and planter of Berrien County.
On 22 March 1893 Jay Sirmans married Rachel Allifar Smith (born July 30, 1869) daughter of Mary Jane Whitehurst and John Woods Smith.
The couple made their home near Rays Mill (nka Ray City), GA next door to Jay’s father, and Jay engaged in farming.
In February 1899 a son arrived in the Sirmans household. Perhaps it was fatherhood that encouraged Jay Sirmans to seek enterprising opportunities for supplemental income, or perhaps it was the renowned exploits of his father.
What ever the reason, in the summer of 1899, it might be said that Jay Sirmans was up to his armpits in alligators. The Valdosta Times reported the story.
Tuesday, July 25, 1899
A Big ‘Gator
Nashville. – A monster Alligator nine feet and nine inches in length was brought to town the first of the week by Mr. Jay Sirmans who with others captured him in Ray’s Pond after a hard fight during which his gatorship was severely gigged in the side. Mr. Carson, the cattle buyer, had offered a good round sum for a large one to ship West alive, and it was for this purpose the ‘gator was brought here, but the wound in his side was of such a serious nature that he died from its effect soon after reaching here. No doubt he would have been a genuine curiosity in the land of the Rancheros. – Berrien County News.