May 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm (Clements Family, Knight Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: Anne Donald Clements, Beaver Dam Creek, Buffalo Swamp, Elizabeth Knight, Elizabeth Patten, Isben Giddens, James Patten, John Tucker, Jonathan Knight, Josiah Sirmans, Matthew Albritton, Old Post Road, Ray City GA, Rays Mill Georgia, Samuel Knight, Sarah Knight, Tuckersville GA, Waynesville GA, William A. Knight, William Anderson Knight, William Clements
In the winter of 1824-25 a group of Revolutionary War “Baby Boomers” came west from Wayne County, Georgia to settle in what was then Irwin County, near the area that would one day become known as Ray City, Georgia. They were politically connected and probably had full knowledge that the huge area of Irwin county, occupying the central third of the southern Georgia, was about to be divided into smaller counties.
Among the leaders of this small band of settlers were William Anderson Knight and wife Sarah Knight, his brother Samuel Knight, and his son-in-law Isben Giddens. They brought with them their families, children, livestock, and their possessions to make a new home in the new county of Lowndes, which was created from parts of Irwin County in 1826. These pioneers were experienced at opening up a new county. They were frontiersmen with militia experience, and also experienced at carving farms and plantations from the wilderness of the Wiregrass. In a sense, they were the first ‘Americans’, born between the time of the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. They were raised in a time of war; their fathers served as Revolutionary Soldiers. Like the baby boomers of later wars, they grew up in a sort of post-war boom period, where Americans were celebrating their new-found independence and freedom.
The Knights were true Wiregrass pioneers. They came to this section from Wayne County, where William A. Knight had been among the very first settlers, arriving there about 1803. The Knight’s Wayne County place was situated near the Old Post Road, one of the earliest roads in Georgia. On the land adjacent to Knight’s, another Wiregrass pioneer, William Clements, had settled his family.
Old Post Road Historic Marker, Glynn County, GA
The Old Post Road…was originally an Indian trail extending from St. Augustine, Florida, northward through south Georgia into the rolling country known as the Sand Hill section. Mitchell’s map of 1756, now in the Library of Congress in Washington, shows this trail. During the Revolutionary War the American forces marched along it on their way to attack a British contingent at Fort Tonyn, which was somewhere south of [U.S. Hwy 84]. Historians have not been able to determine the exact site. The road continued to be used as a stagecoach route and post road between Savannah and Florida until the War between the States.
When Wayne County had been created in 1803, William A. Knight was one of five commissioners empowered by the Georgia Legislature to determine the site of the county seat in the new county, and “when it was done it was located on lands owned by Mr. Knight and by William Clements.” The Wayne county seat became known as Tuckersville, after resident John Tucker who served as the first postmaster there. (Waynesville was not officially designated as the county seat until 1829.) William A. Knight served as a post master after John Tucker, and William Clements served as a Wayne County road commissioner. Tuckersville was located somewhere north of Waynesville on the Post Road near the Buffalo Swamp, once the home and feeding grounds of herds of Georgia buffalo. The town disappeared from maps after 1850 and its exact location remains a mystery. In its first twenty years, Wayne County was slow in developing. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia ”The area contained hundreds of acres of pine barrens and wiregrass country. Much of the land was undesirable for settlement… Many of the early white settlers were families who, having lost their bids to win richer land in Baldwin or Wilkinson counties in the 1805 land lottery, settled for the isolation and less desirable land offered by Wayne County.” Perhaps the lack of economic development in Wayne County finally discouraged the Knights. For whatever reason, it appears they decided there were better opportunities in opening up a new county than remaining behind in Wayne County.
As a member of the state Legislature, William A. Knight undoubtedly knew of the impending division of the vast Irwin County into smaller counties. The military road constructed by John Coffee and Thomas Swain in 1823 had opened up the south central Georgia territory to pioneer settlers (see Daniel McCranie). Coffee’s road, as it was soon known, passed from Jacksonville, GA through the site of present day Nashville, GA and on southward to the Florida line.
Coffee Road Historic Marker, Nashville GA
When the Knights left their farms and came to south central Georgia to build their “log cabin in the wilds of the Wiregrass”, this area of Georgia was all part of the huge Irwin county. Lowndes was created from 2080 square miles carved out of Irwin, which had been plotted into Land Districts. Located on the center of Georgia’s southern border with Florida, Lowndes was still a quite large county. It would later be further divided into six present day counties; Lowndes, Brooks, Cook, Tift, Clinch, Lanier, and Berrien counties.
William Anderson Knight chose a home site on the northwest edge of Grand Bay in what was soon to be Lowndes County. This area, in the 10th land district of Irwin County, had good water and better soil than the typical pine barrens of Wayne County. It was situated between the Alapaha River to the east and the Withlacoochee and its tributaries to the west. William A. Knight’s place was near the route, such as it was, from Waynesville to Thomasville, GA. About nine miles to the west was Coffee’s Road; equidistant to the east was the site of Union Church, the Primitive Baptist church organized in 1825 by the Knights, Pattens, Lees and Sirmans and led by Reverend Matthew Albritton.
Historic Marker – Union Church, organized 1825. Sarah and William A. Knight were founding members.
The Knight’s were influential in the development of Lowndes county from the very beginning, from the formation of the first church in this section to the convening of the first superior court. William A. Knight became the first state senator elected from Lowndes county to serve in the Georgia Assembly, and his son Jonathan Knight became the first state representative.
Following his parents , Levi J. Knight brought his new bride, Ann Clements Herrin Knight, to homestead in Lowndes County in 1827. Anne was the daughter of the Knights’ Wayne County neighbors, William and Elizabeth Clements. L. J. Knight chose a spot not far from Grand Bay, on Beaverdam Creek, where he established his home site. Perhaps even then he saw that the headwaters of Beaverdam Creek could some day be impounded to provide water power for a settlement. Levi J. Knight’s homestead became the nucleus of a community, first known simply as Knight, GA, that later grew into present day Ray City, GA.
March 27, 2012 at 1:11 am (Troupville of Old Lowndes County, Uncategorized)
Tags: Allen Paige, Archibald McCranie, Battle of Brushy Creek, Catherine Shaw, Christiana Morrison, Coffee Road, Cumberland County Militia, Cunningham's Ford, Daniel 'Big Thumb' McCranie, Daniel McCranie, Daniel McCranie R.S., Duncan McCranie, Elijah Beasley, Elizabeth McCranie, Elizabeth Parrish, Franklinville GA, General Levi J. Knight, Hamilton Sharpe's Company, Henry Parrish, Isham Jordan, James Mathis, James Paige, John E. Coffee, John Lindsey, John Mathis, John McCranie, John Morrison, Joshua Lee, Kenneth Swain, Kittie Holmes, Lowndesville Georgia, Malcolm McMillan, Martin Shaw, Mary McCranie, Melvina Beasley, Nancy McCranie, Nancy McMillan, Neil E. McCranie, New Salem Church, Ochlocknee River, Pleasant Church, Ray City GA, Rebecca Monroe, Robert N. Parrish, S. B. Godwin, Sampson G. William, Sarah McMillan, Silas Godwin, Thomas Lindsey, Thomas Swain, Troupville GA, Wilkes Cemetery, William A. Knight, William Anderson Knight, William McCranie, William Smith, Winnie Lindsey, Withlacoochee River
On this date, one hundred and eighty-five years ago, March 27, 1827, the first post office in Lowndes County was established at the home of Daniel McCranie on the Coffee Road. The post office, situated on the only real “road” in the county, was perhaps a fifty mile round trip from the point to the east where Levi J. Knight settled, at present day Ray City, GA.
Daniel ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie had come to this area of south Georgia in the winter of 1824 or 1825. This was before Lowndes County was created out of parts of Irwin County, and about the same time that William Anderson Knight brought his family from Wayne County. Daniel ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie, ‘of full Scottish blood and fiery temper,’ was known to still wear a kilt on certain occasions.
|Did Daniel McCranie have Brachydactyly?His nickname, ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie, might indicate that Daniel McCranie had brachydactyly type D, a genetic condition that affects 1 out of a 1000 people, commonly known as clubbed thumb or toe thumb. Brachdactyly captivated the attention of the entertainment media in 2009-10, when movie star and superbowl headliner Megan Fox was identified with this condition.The word brachydactyly comes from the Greek terms brachy and daktylos. “Literally, what it means is short finger,” says Dr. Steven Beldner, a hand surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center.
“The nail of the thumb in this condition is often very short and wide.”"It is usually hereditary,” Beldner explains. “Although it could also have been caused by frostbite, or it could have been an injury to the growth plate in childhood.”
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/brace-megan-fox-imperfection-actress-thumbs-article-1.196125#ixzz1qGndhWsv
McCranie, Daniel 1772-1854
Daniel ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie was born in North Carolina in 1772, a son of Catherine Shaw and Daniel McCranie, R.S. His father had immigrated to North Carolina from Scotland and fought with the Cumberland County Militia during the American Revolution.
About 1793, young Daniel McCranie married Sarah McMillan, daughter of Malcolm McMillan of Robeson County, N. C.
To Daniel and Sarah were born:
- Neil E. McCranie, born 1794, married Rebecca Monroe. Moved to Florida.
- Mary McCranie, born 1795, married John Lindsey, son of Thomas Lindsey.
- John McCranie, born 1797, married Christiana Morrison, daughter of John Morrison.
- Daniel McCranie, born 1800, married Winnie Lindsey, daughter of Thomas Lindsey.
- Malcolm McCranie, born 1802, married Elizabeth Parrish, daughter of Henry Parrish.
- Duncan McCranie, born 1805, married (unknown). Lived in Liberty Co.
- Nancy McCranie, born 1808, married Robert N. Parrish.
- Archibald McCranie, born 1810, married a cousin, Nancy McMillan.
- William McCranie born 1812, married Melvina Beasley, daughter of Elijah Beasley.
- Elizabeth McCranie, born 1815, married Sampson G. William
Daniel McCranie’s parents moved from Robeson County, North Carolina, to Bulloch County, GA about 1800 and shortly thereafter, Daniel and Sarah also brought their family to Georgia, moving to Montgomery county sometime before 1802. He was a Justice of the Inferior Court of Montgomery County and was commissioned Jan. 17, 1822.
It was on December 23 of that year, 1822, that the Georgia General Assembly appropriated $1500.00 for construction of a frontier road to run from a point on the Alapaha river to the Florida Line. General John E. Coffee and Thomas Swain were appointed ”to superintend the opening of the road, to commence on the Alapaha at or near Cunningham’s Ford” and running to the Florida line near the “Oclockney” river. The route, which became known as Coffee’s Road, was an important for supply line to the Florida Territory for military actions against Indians in the Creek Wars, but also quickly became a path for settlers moving into the south Georgia area.
In a previous post (see Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek), historian Montgomery M. Folsom’s described General Coffee’s ‘road cutters’, his hunters Isham Jordan and Kenneth Swain, and the Wiregrass pioneers that honored them with song.
“This road was a great thoroughfare and many a hardy settler has packed his traps in a cart drawn by a tough pony, and driving his flocks and herds before him has traversed the lonely pine barrens in search of a more generous soil and greener pastures.”
About 1824, Daniel and Sarah McCranie moved their family from Montgomery County and settled on Coffee’s Road in the lower section of Irwin County . The place where they settled was Lot of Land No 416 in the 9th district of Irwin County. In 1825 this section of Irwin was cut off into the new county of Lowndes. (In 1856, this property was cut into Berrien, and in 1918 into Cook County.)
The McCranie’s home served as the first postoffice in original Lowndes County. Known simply as ”Lowndes,” the post office was established March 27,1827, with Daniel McCranie as the first postmaster. That arrangement lasted only a year, as the following year the Lowndes county seat was established in the new town of Franklinville, GA. The postoffice was moved to Franklinville and William Smith became the new postmaster.
In the Indian War in 1836, Daniel McCranie provided forage for the local militia. It is said that five of McCranie’s sons fought in the Battle of Brushy Creek, serving in Captain Hamilton W. Sharpe’s Company, of the Georgia Militia. The Battle of Brushy Creek, was the last military action against Native Americans in this area
Sarah McCranie died about 1842. Her grave is the earliest known burial in Wilkes Cemetery. Following her death, Daniel McCranie married Mrs. Kittie Holmes Paige in 1844. She was the widow of James Paige of Jefferson County, GA. Kitty Holmes was born Jan. 2, 1802, in Duplin County, N. C., and moved with her parents to Washington County, Ga., in 1812. In 1818 she married Silas Godwin and by him had one son, S. B. Godwin, who became a resident of Berrien County. After divorcing Silas Godwin she had married James Paige of Jefferson County, Ga., and lived with him twenty years until his death. By James Paige she had two children, one of whom, Allen Paige, became a resident of Lowndes County.
Kitty joined Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church, Lowndes (now (Berrien) County on October 17, 1850. A month later Daniel joined, on November 16, 1850.
Daniel McCranie died in 1854 and was buried in the Wilkes Cemetery in present Cook County. After his death, Kittie left Pleasant Church for New Salem Church, Adel, Georgia. Kittie McCranie died in 1889 and was buried beside Daniel at Wilkes Cemetery.
March 14, 2012 at 12:12 am (Historic Businesses)
Tags: 26th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Audrey Jones, Bank of Ray's Mill, Benjamin Perry Jones, Benjamin U. Jones, Burrell Jones, Charles Lee Jones, Clarence L. Smith, Economic League of Boston, Elizabeth Jones, Elizabeth Knight, Eulah Jones, Frances M. Jones, Harley Jones, Harriet Jones, J. F. Sutton, J.H.Swindle, J.S. Swindle, James B. Jones, James Jones, Jasper N. Jones, Jesse Mizell, Jimmie Jones, Jonathan H. Jones, Jonathan Knight, Joseph Jones, Lillie Jones, Lloyd E. Jones, Lotta Jones, Lulaton Georgia, M.T. Bradford, Margaret Mizell, Mary M. Mizell, Milltown Georgia, Nancy C. Jones, Newton J. Jones, Pearl Jones, R.M. Green, Samuel W. Jones, Stockton Georgia, Valdosta Bank and Trust Company, Valdosta Guano Company, W.H.E. Terry, William A. Knight
In 1911, B. P. Jones, President of the Valdosta Bank and Trust, and Clarence L. Smith, Vice President, came to Rays Mill on business.
Valdosta Times, May 23, 1911 news item, “Organized bank at Rays Mill”
The Valdosta Times
May 23, 1911
Organized Bank at Rays Mill
Messrs B. P. Jones and C. L. Smith went up to Rays Mill this morning for the purpose of organizing a Bank at that place to be known as the Bank of Rays Mill. It will have a capital stock of $25,000.
The Bank of Ray’s Mill, and Ray City Investors Receive State Bank Charter were the subjects of previous posts. The other investors were J.S. Swindle, J.H. Swindle, M.T. Bradford, W.H.E. Terry, R.M. Green, and J. F. Sutton, all of Berrien county, and Charles Lee Jones.and J.B. Griffin, of Lowndes county.
The banker, Benjamin Perry Jones, was a former resident of Berrien County, and had operated mercantile at Milltown. In 1913, a biographical sketch was included in A history of Savannah and south Georgia:
Harden, William,. A history of Savannah and south Georgia. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1913.
BENJAMIN P. JONES, the president of the Valdosta Bank and Trust Company has had a long career in business, has won prosperity and influence much above that of the average man, and yet began with little or nothing and for a number of years had a hard struggle with the obstacles of business life. Mr. Jones is one of the prominent citizens of south Georgia, and has been identified with Valdosta from the time it was a small village.
Mr. Benjamin P. Jones was born, June 25, 1837, in that part of Camden now Charlton county, Georgia. His grandfather was James Jones, thought to have been a native of Georgia, who was a Camden county planter, having a number of slaves, and died there at the age of seventy-five, his remains now reposing in the Buffalo churchyard. He married a Miss Davis, who was upwards of eighty when she died, and they reared a large family of children. They were Primitive Baptists in religion.
Burrell Jones, father of the Valdosta banker, was born in Wayne county, Georgia, April 29, 1803. About the time of his marriage he bought land near Folkston, living there a few years, and about 1840 returned to Wayne county and located on a farm near the present site of Lulaton, where he made his home until his death in 1877. He married Mary Margaret (known as Peggy) Mizell, who was born in Bulloch county, August 9, 1809. Her father, Jesse Mizell, of English stock and a native of North Carolina, was a soldier of the Revolution under Jasper at Savannah and with Marion during that leader’s valorous excursions against the British. He was with the command when it crossed the Peedee river, first lay blankets on the bridge to deaden the sound of the horses’ hoofs, and in this way surprised the enemy. Some years after the Revolution Jesse Mizell came to Georgia, living two years in Camden county, and then moved into the interior, settling near the present site of Folkston in Charlton county, where he bought land and was engaged in farming and stock raising until his death at the age of about sixty. He married a Miss Stallings, a native of North Carolina and of Dutch ancestry. Mary M. Mizell, the mother of Mr. Jones, spent her early life on the Georgia frontier, and for the lack of educational advantages she compensated by her great natural ability and force of character. Her husband was for many years an invalid, and the care of the children devolved entirely upon her. She reared them to habits of industry and honor, and they paid her all filial reverence. Her death occurred in 1885. Her nine children were named as follows: Harley, Joseph, Benjamin P., Margaret, James B., Nancy C., Harriet, Jasper N. and Newton J. Harley and Joseph were Confederate soldiers and died during their service for the southern cause.
Though in his youth he had little opportunity to obtain an education, Benjamin P. Jones managed to obtain an education largely through his own efforts at self-improvement and an ingrained habit of close observation. When he was seventeen he became a teacher, and while he did good service while in this occupation it may be remembered that qualifications for teaching were not very high at that period. Anyone could teach who could find others who knew less than himself, and there was no formality of examination. Intellectual curiosity was a passion with him from an early age, and the time most children give to play with their comrades he devoted to association in company with his elders, thus learning by listening. When he was twelve years old he once attended a court session, listening attentively to the evidence and the charge to the jury. At recess the judge asked why he was so absorbed in the proceedings. The boy replied that it was because he wanted to learn, and then asked the judge why he charged the jury as he did. That was equity, responded the judge, and after explaining the meaning of that word told the boy that if he ever had occasion to make out papers to make them out in accordance with equity and justice and he would sanction them if brought before his court. Chopping cotton at twenty-five cents a day and board was the means by which Mr. Jones earned his first money. A little later he became clerk in a general store at Lulaton, and after a time engaged in business for himself at Stockton, Georgia. Hardly had his trade started when a panic paralyzed all business, and he found himself in debt fifteen hundred dollars, which took him some time to pay off.
Early in 1861 Mr. Jones enlisted in Company D of the Twenty-sixth Georgia Infantry, and was with that command in the coast defense until the regiment was ordered to Virginia, when he secured a substitute. Confederate money was then plentiful but away below par, and he bought a farm for three thousand dollars, at war-time prices, going in debt for the greater part of this amount. He was busily engaged in farming until 1864, when he enlisted with the Georgia Reserves, being commissioned first lieutenant and being in actual command of his company. The Reserves went to the defense of Atlanta, but from Griffin his company was sent back to recruit and apprehend deserters, and he was on detached duty until the close of the war. After making three crops on his farm he sold the land for four hundred dollars, and with that money and what he had realized from his crops engaged in the mercantile business at Milltown in Berrien county. Nine days after opening his store an epidemic of smallpox broke out, he was quarantined fifty-two days, and at the end of that time offered to sell his entire stock for three hundred dollars but could not find a buyer. Owing to this circumstance he went on with his business, at the same time buying cotton and dealing in live stock, and in four years had so reversed the current of his previous fortunes that he had cleared up fourteen thousand dollars. Then selling out at Milltown he went to southern Florida, where he opened two stores and established a grist and saw mill, and was engaged in business there until 1874, when ill health compelled him to make a change. He sacrificed eight thousand dollars by the move, and then came to Valdosta, which was then a village. Here he bought an established general store and a home for three thousand dollars, and was prosperously identified with the mercantile enterprise of this city for twenty years. In 1894 Mr. Jones organized the Valdosta Guano Company, and in 1906 the Valdosta Bank & Trust Company, of which he has since been president, with his son C. L. as cashier.
On June 25, 1862, Mr. Jones married Miss Elizabeth Knight, who was born in Clinch county, October 18, 1843, representing an old family of southern Georgia. Her grandfather, Rev. William Knight, was a pioneer preacher in this part of the state. He married a Miss Cone. Jonathan Knight, the father of Mrs. Jones, was born in that part of Lowndes now Berrien county, and spent his life as a farmer in Clinch and Berrien counties. Mr. and Mrs. Jones reared thirteen children, named as follows: Jonathan H., Charles Lee, Frances M. McKenzie; Lillie Roberts, Samuel W., Elizabeth Fry, Benjamin U., Jimmie Staten Green, Eulah Norris, Pearl Mashburn, Lloyd E., Lotta and Audrey Terry.
Mr. Jones has been identified with the Masonic order since he was twenty-seven years old. He is a member of the Economic League of Boston, Massachusetts, a society for the betterment of mankind. He has been one of the influential men in political life for many years. His first presidential vote was cast for John C. Breckenridge in 1860. He was opposed to secession, in a speech in which he said that if the sixteen southern states would all go out in a body, taking the constitution in one hand and the flag in the other, he would favor the movement with his vote, but not otherwise. In subsequent years he has served as delegate to many county and state conventions, was a delegate to the national conventions that nominated General Hancock and Grover Cleveland, and was also one of the sound-money Democratic delegates of 1896 who nominated Palmer and Buckner. Since 1898 he has not been allied with any party, and as a free lance has supported the individual who best represents his ideas of government.
February 26, 2012 at 12:55 am (Lee Family, WWI)
Tags: 54th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Ansel Parrish, Company K 5th Georgia Regiment, Five Mile Creek, General Levi J. Knight, Hardeman Sirmans, James Isaac Lee, John Levi Lee, Levi J. Knight, Martha Sirmans, Mary Eleanor Parrish, Molcy Knight, Ten Mile Creek, Valeria Sirmans, William A. Knight
James Isaac Lee (1876 – 1953)
James Isaac Lee was born in Berrien, Georgia, USA on 4 Feb 1876, a son of Mary Eleanor Parrish (1849-1909) and John Lee (1842-1902).
His father, John Lee, was a Confederate veteran, having served with Company K, 5th Georgia Regiment and with Company E, 54th Georgia Regiment. His mother, Mary Eleanor Parrish, was a daughter of Molcy Knight and the Primitive Baptist minister, Elder Ansel Parrish.
James grew up on his father’s farm, located ” in the forks of Five Mile Creek and Ten Mile Creek in what was then Berrien Co, GA (since 1920 in Lanier),” about six or seven miles northeast of present day Ray City, GA.
James I Lee married Valeria Sirmans on November 19, 1902. She was a daughter of Hardeman Sirmans and Elizabeth Knight, and a granddaughter of General Levi J. Knight. In fact, James I Lee and Valorie Sirmans were cousins, both being great-grandchildren of William Anderson Knight. In 1910, James and Valeria were working the farm they owned in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill district. In 1920 Valeria Sirmans and James I Lee were living at Ray City, GA. They owned a farm next to Martha Sirmans.
At the time of the 1918 draft registration for WWI, James I Lee gave the address of their farm as located on the RFD #2 mail route out of Milltown, GA. (this was prior to the formation of Lanier County). James was 42 years old at the time of registration. While he had been too old for the earlier registrations which sought men between the ages of 21 and 31, the third registration, conducted on September 12, 1918, required men up to age 45 to appear before the draft board. James’ draft card shows that he was a self-employed farmer of medium height and build, with grey eyes and dark hair. He was physically disqualified for the draft as a result of “heart failure.” However, James was issued a registration certificate. All men who registered were given bluish green certificates to prove they had registered. The certificate was embossed with an eagle at the top and merely stated the name of the registrant, date, and location of draft board. The Thomasville Daily Times-Enterprise admonished, “If you have reached the age of 18 years and not yet 46, you must register on September 12…you will be given a Registration Certificate to show you have complied with the law. This certificate should always be carried.”
1918 Registration Certificate of James Isaac Lee. Image courtesy of Edith Mayo.
February 24, 2012 at 12:55 am (Faith and Begorrah, Knight Family, Parrish Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: 50th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Alderman B. Parrish, Amanda Celestia Parrish, Ansel Parrish, Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Church, E. J. Williams, Elizabeth L. Parrish, Ezekiel Crofford Parrish, Ezekiel J. Williams, Friendship Church, Henry Parrish, J. B. Smith, J. E. W. Smith, James W. Parrish, Jesse A. Parrish, John A. Parrish, Josiah Allen Jones Parrish, Lowndes County Georgia, Mary Eleanor Parrish, Mattie Martha Parrish, Molcy Knight, Moorna Parrish, Nancy E. Parrish, Nancy Parrish, Naomi Parrish, Pleasant Church, Rachel E. Parrish, Salem Church, Sarah Laura Parrish, William A. Knight, William Cone Knight, William Henry Parrish, Wiregrass Georgia
Ansel Parrish (1824 -1891)
Elder Ansel Parrish, of Berrien County, GA was one of the ablest and best known Primitive Baptist preachers of his time. Ansel Parrish joined Pleasant Church at the age of 19, and thereafter dedicated his life to the service of the Primitive Baptist faith. During the Civil War he ministered to the confederate soldiers in 50th Georgia Regiment at their encampment near Savannah, GA. He became a leader among the Primitive Baptists, and preached at many of the churches in the area.
Recognized throughout the Wiregrass, “he was considered a great power in the church as well as out of the church”.
The Thomasville Times
August 16, 1884
The yearly meeting of the Primitive Baptists at Barber’s church, three miles east of here, came off last week. The attendance was large, Elder Ancil Parrish, one of the old landmarks, was present. Uncle Ancil bids fair to weather the storms of several winters yet. The creed of these people may be at fault, or not, I don’t pretend to say; but the predominant idea of their lives seems to be embodied in the maxim: “Be honest, industrious and attend to your own business, and they endeavor to carry out this proposition with might and main.
Ansel Parrish married Molcy Knight on December 15, 1842.
Following the death of Ansel Parrish on January 16, 1891, Eulogies appeared in The Valdosta Times:
The Valdosta Times
Saturday, January 24, 1891
He Will Be Missed.
Many of our readers knew a man, now gone from view, whose plain and simple life, unadorned with the polish of modern culture, illustrated in a striking degree many of the higher and nobler attributes of manhood; whose life-work stamped him a man of power. Although denied in his youth the benefits of the ordinary high schools of the country, and necessarily therefore a stranger to theological seminaries, yet he had the gift of oratory, and the force of strong convictions. He expounded the Scriptures as he understood them, and labored to make men better. He was not skilled in the arts of the modern doctors of divinity, nor was he a juggler with words. He was a plain blunt man. To him there shone a light through the clouds of the letter of the word which fired his heart and loosened his tongue. He went out among his people and taught them justice and the ways of peace. He was a law-giver of the old-time type. When brothers quarreled he called them together, heard the testimony, settled the dispute, and sent them away reconciled. He always kept them out of the Courthouse when he could, but if he failed he followed them to the bar of the court, and there exercised a wonderful influence in the settlement of the case. The people believed his heart was pure and his judgment was sound, and seldom a jury was found which would not accept his convictions and make them their own verdict, in spite of the pleadings of the lawyers. It was his custom on such occasions to take a seat within the bar of the court room, and when the lawyers on his side opposed to his convictions would rise to address the jury he would sit dumb and motionless. It is said the lawyers, knowing his power, would often address much of their speech to him, hoping to draw some token of assent, but he could not be coaxed or driven from his position. But when the other side – the right side – was being presented to the jurors, his face would show his sympathy; and repeatedly, and unconsciously, as it were, when strong points were being driven home by the logic of the speaker, or when important quotations bearing on the case would be drawn from the evidence, he would nod assent, and give audible tokens of approval. He was always in touch with the juries, and the verdicts always came right.
It has been often said by lawyers practicing in that court that he was more greatly to be feared, if he was against their client, than the logic and eloquence of the most astute practitioner in the circuit.
This good old man – simple and home-spun in his ways – was a power in the region about him. If he drove to the county town, or to a railway station, a crowd would gather round his buggy before he could get out, and two or three would begin unhitching his horse.
He asked no money for his preaching, but he always had plenty – the product of a well-tilled farm; and no widow, or other deserving poor person in the neighborhood, went unprovided for if he knew of their want. It is said that he studiously avoided giving publicity to his charities, and that the beneficiaries were often ignorant as to the identity of their benefactor.
The fame of this man went beyond the limits of his neighborhood and county. Wherever those of his faith and order assembled in Wiregrass Georgia or Florida he was known, and his name was reverently mentioned. If he was present he was a leader; if absent, his absence was felt.
Such a man was Elder Ansel Parrish, the old Primitive Baptist preacher of Berrien County, as seen by one who was neither his partisan nor his parishioner.
When news of his fatal illness spread over the country hundreds of his devoted friends and followers journeyed to the bedside of the dying preacher to get a last look into the depths of those great grey eyes before the light went out and the old-time fire burnt down in their sockets. And when they laid his body away in the old family burying ground, a great concourse of people gathered to mingle their tears with the sod in the new made mound.
A week later, The Valdosta Times followed up with a tribute to Elder Parrish.
The Valdosta Times
Saturday, January 31, 1891
A Brief Biographical Sketch Of One Who Will Be Missed. “Oh for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still.” Elder Ansel Parrish was born in Bulloch County, Ga., July 7th, 1824, and died at his home seven miles southwest of Nashville in Berrien County January 16th, 1891.
Elder Ansel was the fourth son of Henry and Nancy Parrish, who moved from Bulloch to Lowndes, now Berrien County, in 1825, and the future preacher learned to take his first toddling steps at a camp fire on the road while his parents were moving here.
He grew up with the meager opportunities common to our country and his literary attainments were therefore meager. Of a calm temper he was early separated from the wild life of the country and joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1843, being in his nineteenth year, and was ordained an Elder March 18th, 1854. He was married to Miss Mollsey Knight, whose father was William Knight and her mother a daughter of Jesse Carter, thus uniting the two largest family connections in Lowndes County. To write of him as a neighbor and friend, a husband and father would be out of place here. Those who knew him best loved him most.
It is as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus I would fain write most, and then, he was so widely known that the task will alas fall short of his merit. The writer heard him preach first and most frequently at Salem (Adel) Church of which he was one of the Pastors for a long number of years, assisted by his uncle, brother and co-worker the late lamented Elder Ezekiel J. Williams. As a preacher he was earnest in the faith as he interpreted the word of God, yet not harsh, ever bearing in mind the faith of others. He devoted his early and mature manhood to his Master’s service and when the infirmities of age began to creep on him he seemed to not regard them as an excuse to satisfy self ease, but labored on, and when he could not stand in the sacred desk to deliver his message he preached seated. For all this work and work in physical pain, he never, to my knowledge, asked a dollar as a reward.
A good substantial farmer, he was not only self sustaining but ever ready to open his hand to the needy when his already open heart heard the cry of distress. Seventeen children, 14 of whom are living, 7 sons and 7 daughters were born to him. He leaves 80 living grandchildren, and 24 dead, preceded him of his 8 brothers and 2 sisters, only the venerable Josiah Parrish of Ava, and Absalom of Arkansas survive him.
Elder Parrish was at the time of his death Pastor of the following Churches: Pleasant and Cat Creek, literally falling in the line of duty. May his fidelity to his Master’s cause be taken as an example by those whom he has so long and faithfully warned. In him his family has lost all that goes to make a husband and father, and his Church its wisest counselor.
Thearchives of the US GenWeb project provide the following biography:
Biography of Elder Ansel Parrish
Elder ANSEL PARRISH was one of the ablest and best known Primitive Baptist mininsters in his day for over 35 years prior to his death. He was considered a great power in the church as well as out of the church. He was born in Bullock County, July 7, 1824, a son of Henry and Nancy Parrish.
He was married Dec. 15, 1842, in Lowndes (now Berrien) County, to Molcy Knight, born Nov. 7, 1826, daughter of William Cone Knight.
Elder Parrish was first converted and united with Pleasant Church in Lowndes County, Aug. 19, 1843, and was baptized. Mrs. Parrish followed him into the church and was baptized November, 1847. He was ordained a deacon in his church, Feb. 2, 1848, and served in this office until he was licensed to preach, Jan. 17, 1852. Two years later, March 19, 1854, he was ordained to the full Gospel Ministry by a presbytery composed of Elders Wm. A. Knight, J. B. Smith and J.E.W. Smith. From then until his death, Jan. 16, 1891, his was a very busy and fruitful ministry among the Primitive Baptist Churches in Berrien and adjoining counties. His first cousin, Elder E. J. Williams, was Pastor of Pleasant Church when he (Elder Parrish) was ordained and continued as such until 1881 when he declined re-election; thereupon Elder Parrish was called. He continued as Pastor of his home hurch until his death. At the time (1881), he was already serving Cat Creek Church in Lowndes County, and in April, 1881, he was called as Pastor by Friendship Church near Hahira, also Salem Church in Adel. These four Churches he continued to serve as pastor until his death 13 years later. He also served as Moderator of the Union Association several years. Elder Parrish owned a large tract of land in Berrien County and gave each of his sons a farm when they married. Mrs. Parrish died June 25, 1897. She and her husband were buried in the Lois Cemetery near Pleasant Church.
Grave of Ansel Parrish (1824 – 1891), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Image source: FindAGrave.com
Children of Molcy Knight and Ansel Parrish
- Rachel E Parrish 1844 –
- Elizabeth L Parrish 1845 – 1928, married Marion Register
- James W Parrish 1847 – 1916
- Nancy E Parrish 1848 – 1924
- Mary Eleanor Parrish 1849 – 1909, married John Lee
- Henry William Parrish 1851 – 1928
- John A Parrish 1853 – 1914
- Sarah Laura Parrish 1854 – 1933
- Ezekiel Crofford Parrish 1856 – 1924
- Martha K Parrish 1860 – 1942, married Aaron A. Knight
- Josiah Allen Jones Parrish 1861 – 1929
- Jesse A Parrish 1864 – 1938
- Amanda Celestia Parrish 1866 – 1900
- Naomi Parrish 1867 – 1886
- Moorna Parrish 1868 –
- Child Parrish 1869 –
- Alderman B Parrish 1871 – 1932
December 28, 2011 at 12:46 am (Uncategorized)
Tags: 50th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Adam Jones, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Berrien County GA, Company I 50th Georgia Regiment, Fannie Bullard Shaw, General Levi J. Knight, Green Bullard, Henry Harrison Knight, Henry Needham Bullard, James Aaron Knight, John Knight, John Lindsey, Kizziah Linnie Knight, Kizziah Linnie Knight Griffin, Knight Settlement, Mallie Jones, Mary Ann Elizabeth Knight, Ray City GA, Sallie Louise Bullard Surrency, Sally Louise Bullard, Sarah Louisa Knight, Sarah Louisa Knight Clyatt, Sarah Moore, Susie Bullard Shaw, William A. Jones, William A. Knight, William Malachi Jones, William Patten
One hundred and three years ago today, on this date, December 27, 1908, Mrs. Mary Ann Knight Bullard died at the home of her son, Henry Needham Bullard, in Valdosta, Georgia. Mrs. Bullard was a lifelong resident of the Ray City area.
Mary Ann Knight was born July 1, 1838 in the Knight settlement at the location now known as Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia. Her father was John Knight and her mother was Sarah “Sallie” Moore. She was a niece of General Levi J. Knight.
On November 5, 1856 Mary Ann Knight married William A Jones in Berrien County, Georgia. The bride’s grandfather, Elder William A. Knight, performed the marriage. The Berrien County Marriage Records of 1856 include the following hand written entry:
Go any ordained minister of the gospel Judge of the Superior Justice of the Inferior Court Justice of the peace or any person by the Laws of this State authorised to Celibrate these are to authorise and permit you to join in the Venerable State of matrimony this William A. Jones of the one part and this Mary Ann Knight of the other part according to the constitution and laws of this state and according to the rites of your church provided there be no lawful cause to obstruct the same and this shall be your authority for so doing given under my hand and seal this the 1st day of November 1856.
John Lindsey Ordy
Thereby Certify that William A. Jones and Miss Mary Ann Knight were duly joined in matrimony by me this fifth day of Nov 1856
William A Knight, O.M.
After William Jones was killed in the Civil War, the young widow married Green Bullard. Green Bullard was a Civil War veteran who served with Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment, the Berrien Light Infantry. They were married March 25, 1866 in a ceremony performed by William Patten, Justice of the Peace. For forty years the Bullards lived near Ray City, GA in what is now Lanier County. Green Bullard died November 15, 1907, and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.
Grave marker of Mary Ann Elizabeth Knight Bullard, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.
Mary Ann Knight Bullard died in the morning on the last Sunday of the year, December 28, 1908. She was buried next to her husband, Green Bullard, at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.
January 2, 1909 pg 3
DEATH OF MRS. BULLARD.
An aged and good Woman Passed Away Early Sunday Morning.
Mrs. Mary Ann Bullard, one of the oldest and best known women in this section, died at the home of her son, Mr. H. N. Bullard, in this city about one o’clock Sunday morning. Her remains were carried to Berrien county and interred at Beaver Dam church, near her old home, on Monday.
Mrs. Bullard was the widow of Green Bullard, one of Berrien county’s pioneer citizens, and resided in that county for probably fifty years. She was a daughter of John Knight, and a sister of Capt. L. J. Knight, of Quitman; of the late H. H. Knight and of Jack Knight, of Berrien county, and has two sisters living, Mrs. Louis Clyatt, of Lake City, and Mrs. Linny Griffin of Berrien county. She leaves a large family connection throughout this section.
Mrs. Bullard was married twice, her first husband being a Mr. Jones, who died during the civil war, leaving his young widow with two small children. She was united to Mr. Bullard about the close of the war and lived happily with him until his death in November, 1907. Her children are Mallie and Adam Jones, of Berrien county; Mrs. Sallie Surrency, of Florida; Mrs. Susie Shaw, of Berrien county; Mrs. Fannie Shaw, of Bainbridge, Ga.; H. N. Bullard of this city, and Lewis Bullard of Ray’s Mill.
For three or four years Mrs. Bullard had been in feeble health, having suffered from two or more strokes of paralysis, complicated with heart trouble. She was about 70 years old, and despite the loving care of her family her end could not be prolonged.
Her death is mourned not only by her children and relatives, but by a large number of friends, who had grown to love her after a long and intimate acquaintanceship.
September 17, 2011 at 12:03 am (Knight Family, Law and Order, Troupville of Old Lowndes County)
Tags: Beaver Dam Creek, Berrien County GA, Elze Lellman, Irwin Belote, Isben Giddens, Jack Sweat, James Rountree, Joe Bryant, John C. Underwood, John Knight, LeConte Georgia, Levi J. Knight, Lowndes County GA, Mose Lucas, Mule Creek, Ray City GA, Sion Hall, Thaddeus G. Holt, Weston Rountree, William A. Knight, William Anderson Knight
Levi J. Knight, the earliest wiregrass pioneer to make his home on Beaverdam Creek at the site of present day Ray City, GA was among the prominent men of early Lowndes County (later, Berrien County.) When the first Superior Court in Lowndes County was convened in 1825 at Sion Hall’s Inn on the Coffee Road, Levi J. Knight served as foreman of the Grand Jury. L. J. Knight’s father, William A. Knight was also present for the court session, which was a social event as much as a judicial one. An 1888 article in the Valdosta Times reflected upon that first court session, Judge Thaddeus G. Holt presiding:
The Valdosta Times
Oct. 13, 1888
The First Superior Court.
…I now turn the leaves of time back nearly seventy years to the time when Jackson having purchased Irwin and Early counties of the Creek Indians the people east of the Ocmulgee river began to cross over and settle the vast region of wilderness now known as the wiregrass.
West of the Alapaha the first white settler was Joe Bryant in the fork of Ocapilco and Mule Creek.
The first house built in Lowndes was by James Roundtree, and on the lands now owned by West and James Roundtree in the northwest corner of the county [Lowndes]. Here was born in 1823 Irwin Belote, who is in fact the oldest inhabitant, save uncle Mose Lucas, who came here a grown man and is over 100 years old. Ah, met Irwin has had a time of it, but in his time a country that was well supplied with Indians, bears, panthers, wolves and other unfriendly neighbors, has been populated and made to produce support for many thousand people.
Of course our forefathers were rough, but like Gen. Taylor were also ready in good deeds. Pardon me kind reader if in recording some scene of the twenties or thirties you recognize a venerated ancestor, they were honest, brave men, but saw some fun when whiskey, that would put to shame our $2.00 cost, could be bought at three and four bits a gallon.
I believe Holt was judge, I know Levi J. Knight was foreman of the grand jury, and Sion Hall’s house, now in Brooks county near Morven was the place of our first superior court.
The men of Lowndes were gathered from the Alapaha to Mule Creek, from the village of LeConte to the Florida line, as much to see, hear, get acquainted, drink whiskey and swap horses as any thing else.
And Father Knight was there the first minister in the county, and John C. Underwood was there. They said I favored him when a boy, of whom more hereafter.
Uncle John and Uncle Isben and Jack Sweat and Elze Lellman – well why enumerate.
There were idle brains and the devil rolled up his sleeves and entered his shop as the peeped through tumbler bottoms. After the half pints had vanished some of the old men could see their youthful days again and began to act.
“Boys lets have a foot race,” said Hall as the crowd began to brag–old men of “when-I-was-young,” and young men of the present, “Why, uncle Green, Jack can beat you now, and give you ten steps the start for a quart!” “Bet a quart he can’t”, came from the crowd. Judges were selected, also a track, and as they ran Jack who was sober tripped uncle Green who was “stimulated” and sprained arm and no doctor the consequence.
Uncle Green was carried into the dwelling of Mr. Hall. Near the fire place the court was in session. At the farther end of the room were two beds on one of which lay uncle Green. “Father Knight, I’m ruined, I’m eternally ruined!” wailed uncle Green. “Hush Green, hush!” said uncle John, who had also seen through the glass. “Durn you, you’ll disturb the court!”
The judge, convulsed with laughter, adjourned in honor of the occasion. Men were men in those days.
May 23, 2011 at 2:02 am (Civil War)
Tags: 29th Georgia Regiment, 50th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Aaron Anderson Knight, Battle of Cedar Creek, Berrien Minutemen, James G, Jesse S. Bostick, John Bostick, John W. Knight, Lastinger, Live Oak Methodist Church, Mary Elizabeth Bostick, Monroe Corbitt, Nancy Corbitt, Nancy Sloan, Sarah Ann Knight, Sarah E. Bostick, Treasy Boyette, William A. Knight
Jesse Bostick, born 1836 in Duplin County, NC was the eldest son of Treasy Boyette and John Bostick. In the mid 1800s he came with his parents to South Georgia and they settled in the Ray City, Georgia area.
On July 3, 1856 Jesse Bostick married Sarah Ann Knight in Berrien County, GA. She was a daughter of Nancy Sloan and Aaron Knight. The bride’s grandfather, William Anderson Knight, performed the ceremony. The Knights were among the earliest pioneer families to settle in the Ray City area.
Marriage of Jesse Bostick and Sarah Ann Knight, July 3, 1856.
Jesse and Sarah Bostick made their home in Berrien County in the vicinity of present day Ray City, GA, next to the home of Sarah’s brother, John W. Knight. Jesse worked as a farm laborer, as he had no real estate or personal estate of his own. Perhaps he worked for his brother-in-law, who had a substantial plantation.
Children of Sarah Ann Knight and Jesse S. Bostick:
- Mary E. Bostick, born 1859, married John A. Gaskins
- Sarah E. Bostick, born 1860, died young.
During the Civil War, Jesse S. Bostick enlisted in Company G, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment. While Jesse was away fighting in the war, tragedy struck at home. In 1863, his wife and youngest daughter died.
A memorial to Sarah Ann Knight (1841-1863), wife of Jesse Bostick, appears on the gravemarker of her daughter, Mary Bostick Gaskins, at Empire Cemetery, Lanier County, GA.
Jessie Bostick was captured at the Battle of Cedar Creek, and imprisoned at Point Lookout, MD. With the end of the war, Jesse Bostick returned to his home in Berrien County, Ga. Within six months of the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Jesse Bostick married Mrs. Nancy Corbitt Lastinger. She was the widow of James G. Lastinger, who served with the 29th Georgia Regiment (the Berrien County Minutemen) and died in a Union hospital in 1864. Nancy Corbitt had come from Tennessee to Clinch County, GA sometime prior to 1860 with her widowed mother and siblings.
Marriage of Jesse Bostick and Nancy Lastinger, October 1, 1865, Berrien County, GA
The census of 1870 shows Jesse, Nancy, and Jesse’s daughter, Mary, living in the household of Nancy’s younger brother, Monroe Corbitt. Monroe was also a Confederate veteran having served as a sergeant in Company H, 29th Georgia Regiment, and he had managed to retain a farm even through the war years. The Corbitt farm was in the 1148 Georgia Militia District of Berrien County. Jesse worked as a farm laborer, while Nancy and Mary assisted with housekeeping and domestic chores.
Later the Bosticks lived in the Willacoochee area in Berrien County.
Nancy Bostick died September 18, 1918 and Jesse Bostick died August 21, 1925 in Berrien County, GA. They are both buried at Live Oak Methodist Church, in present day Atkinson County.
Gravemarker of Jesse Bostick and Nancy Corbitt Lastinger Bostick, Live Oak Cemetery, Atkinson County, GA.
November 15, 2010 at 7:31 am (Avera Family, Civil War, Education In the Wiregrass, Ray City Georgia)
Tags: 54th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Aaron G. Avera, Abner J. Avera, Abner Sirmans, Alice J. Avera, Annie Young, Austin Avera, Berrien County GA, Bryant F. Avera, Cordelia Avera, Daniel M. Avera, Eliza J. Sirmans, Fannie Key, Frances Sutton, Georgia Avera, Gladys Parr, Homer C. Avera, I. C. Avera, J. W. Parr, Junius H. Avera, Lona Avera, Lou Avera, Lula Avera, Lyman H. Avera, Marcus D. Avera, Margaret McMillan, Martha Avera, Martha Elizabeth Aikins, Mary Patten, Phebe V. Avera, Polly Ann Avera, Randall McMillan, Ray City GA, Sarah O'Neal Avera, Saren Parr, Sirman W. Avera, Stella Parr, Steven Willis Avera, William A. Knight, William Green Avera, William T. Parr, Willis M. Avera, Winnie Ann Avera
William Green “Bill” Avera
Bill Avera was a lifelong educator of Berrien county who lived in the vicinity of Ray City, GA. He was born August 1, 1855, in Clinch County Georgia. His father was Stephen Willis Avera and his mother was Martha Elizabeth Aikins. William Green Avera was the oldest of eleven children, his brothers and sisters being Winnie Ann, Polly Ann, Sarah O’Neal, Daniel M., Lyman H., Phebe V., Lou, Junius H., Cordelia and Martha.
Upon the organization of Berrien County, Stephen and Martha Avera brought their young son to establish the family homestead in the new county in 1856. During the Civil War, Bill’s father enlisted and became a soldier of Company E of the Fifty-fourth Georgia Infantry. Stephen Avera saw action defending Atlanta from Sherman’s approach and later in the battles at Jonesboro, Franklin, Murfreesboro and Nashville. The war ended while he was at home in Berrien County on detached duty. After the war, Bill’s father continued to farm in Berrien County. In 1877 Bill Avera married and established a household of his own near Ray City, GA.
The home of William Green Avera was located about five miles northeast of Ray City, GA.
In his 1913 work, A History of Savannah and South Georgia, Volume 2, author William Harden gave the following account of William Green Avera:
PROF. WILLIAM GREEN AVERA. The career of a man who for the greater part of a life time has been identified with the training and education of the youth is always one of the most valuable assets of a community. Probably no educator in south Georgia has been so long or so closely connected with educational progress and the practical work of the schools as the present superintendent of the Berrien county schools, Prof. William Green Avera. He belongs to a family of pioneer Georgians, and was born on a farm in Clinch county, the 1st of August, 1855.
Reared in a good home and trained to habits of industry, William G. Avera early manifested special inclination for study and the pursuit of knowledge, and made the best of his early opportunities of schooling. He has been a lifelong student, and when he was eighteen he was entrusted with his first school, located three miles east of Nashville. For thirty-three years, an entire generation, he was in the active work of the schoolroom, and he taught children and children’s children during that time. The aggregate length of his service out of those thirty-three years was twenty-five full years, a third of a long lifetime. In 1907 professor Avera was elected superintendent of the Berrien county schools, and by re-elections has since served continuously in that office. His administration has been marked by many improvements in the county educational system.
In 1877 Professor Avera was united in marriage with Miss Eliza J. Sirmans. Mrs. Avera was born in Berrien county, daughter of Abner and Frances (Sutton) Sirmans. She died at Sparks in 1905. In 1911 Professor Avera married Margaret McMillan, a native of Berrien county and daughter of Randall McMillan. The following children were born to Professor Avera by his first marriage, namely: Sirman W., Marcus D., Bryant F., Aaron G., Alice J., Homer C., Abner J., Willis M., Lona, and Lula. Marcus D., Homer C., Abner J., and Lula are now deceased. Aaron G. married Fannie Key, now deceased, and has one son, William. Sirman W. married Annie Young and has a daughter named Georgia. Bryant F. married Mary Patton. Alice J. is the wife of William T. Parr, and has four children, J. W.,Stella, Saren and Gladys. Lona married Austin Avera, son of I. C. Avera, sheriff of Berrien county.
In 1878 Professor Avera settled on a farm eight miles southeast of Nashville, and that was the home of his family until 1904, when it was temporarily removed to Sparks that the children might have the benefit of the superior educational advantages available in the Sparks Collegiate institute there. Prof. Avera’s present home is at Nashville, the county seat of Berrien county. He still owns the old home where all of his children were born and reared, and where his beloved deceased wife and children are buried. Sacred is the memory of this home to the man who has given the best years of his life to the educational and moral upbuilding of this section of Georgia.
Professor Avera and wife are members of the Primitive Baptist church, and in politics he is a Democrat.
October 18, 2010 at 12:07 am (Folsom Family, Troupville of Old Lowndes County)
Tags: Alapaha River, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, Berrien County GA, Big Indian Creek, Cedar Key FL, Frank's Creek, Franklinville GA, Hamp Smith, Levi J. Knight, Little River, Montgomery M. Folsom, Morgan G. Swain, No Man's Friend Creek, Ockolocoochee River, Owen Smith, Peckville GA, Ray City GA, Swain, Troupville GA, Ty Ty Creek, Valdosta, Warrior Creek, William A. Knight, William Folsom, William Smith, Wiregrass Georgia, Withlacoochee River
Montgomery M. Folsom, from his 1889 book, Scraps of Song and Southern Scenes.
Found this 1889 account of the history of Troupville, GA by erstwhile Wiregrass historian, poet, and humorous writer Montgomery M. Folsom. Folsom starts his tale at the headwaters of the Okolocoochee and Withlacoochee rivers. He traces them down to their connection with the Withlacoochee, at which point Troupville was founded. As the county seat, Troupville was an important center of commerce and social life for early settlers of Lowndes County, like Levi J. Knight, who established the first community near the site of present day Ray City, GA. The Knights settled on another branch of the Withlacoochee. Beaverdam creek, at Ray City, flows into Cat Creek on down to the Withlacoochee.
Atlanta Constitution, January 29, 1889, Pg 12.
THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER.
VALDOSTA, Ga., January 19. -[Special.]- Away up near the northern limit of the great wiregrass section there is a big cypress swamp. They call them bays there. From this bay emerges a little stream of claret colored water. This is near Peckville, and close to the corner of Worth, Irwin, and Dooly counties. This is the head of the Ockolocoochee, Little river.
Farther eastward, some ten or fifteen miles, there is another bay from which emerges a restless current that goes rushing away toward the south, fretting among the pine boles, resting among the silent solitudes of the mysterious swamps, the Alapaha.
About midway between these streams, some twenty miles below their heads, the Withlacoochee steals stealthily out of the depths of a brambly brake and glides noiselessly away, like some black serpent of the swamps winding in and out among the barrens.
The Ockolocoochee curves and twines among the pine-clad ridges, receiving the tribute of some lesser stream at every turn. Ty Ty, Warrior, Big Indian on the West, No-Man’s-Friend, Frank’s creek from the east, till it reaches Troupville. It is, properly, the river, despite the fact that its name is lost after its confluence with the Withlacoochee. It is like the wedding of a great big strapping wiregrass girl with a short, stout, presumptive little man.
The Ockolochoochee is the stream for fishing. Along the snowy margin of its glistening sand-bars the red-belly, the perfection of perch; and in its placid eddies, beneath the shadow of the tupeloes, the red-horse sucker, chief of all the carp tribe; abound in strength and numbers sufficient to gratify the most inveterate of anglers.
New river gives the Withlacoochee a good start, and it swerves away to receive the tribute of half a dozen streams on its tortuous course. From its fountain head it is dark and forbidding, and the secrets of its black waters are preserved most faithfully.
Away back in the olden days when Lowndes county was as big as Poland, an act was passed by the Georgia legislature, appointing a commission to select an appropriate place for a county site. Franklinville had been its capital, but was not near enough to the center. As the legend goes, Big Billy Knight and Big Billy Folsom were appointed.
These two worthies, one from the pimple hills of the Ockolocoochee, and the other from the saw palmetto flats of the Withlacoochee; decided that the most appropriate point was right in the fork of the two rivers. They had an idea that the river would be navigable that high up, even above the point where the Alapaha disappears and runs underground a mile before uniting with the Withlacoochee.
So it came about that where the wine-red waters or the Ockolocoochee and the black current of the Withlacoochee meet at the end of a long sandbar and go tumbling and writhing, eddying and curving down the long reach of moss-grown trees, like two huge serpents struggling for the mastery, the plat of a town was drawn, and it was called after Georgia’s great chevelier governor, “Troupville,” with a strong accent on the “ville.” They had not learned to say “Troupvul” then, and it was such a high sounding title that they lingered lovingly on the pronunciation.
The town grew apace. It enjoyed what the modern’s call a boom. Land lots sold rapidly, and settlers came rushing in, mainly the Smiths. Lowndes county has ever been prolific in the smith line. Owen Smith, Old Billy Smith, Young Billy Smith, all sorts of Smiths, even down to our Hamp, who so ably represents that historic name in the present pushing metropolis Valdosta.
One of the Smith’s built a tavern, and another Smith set up in business, and young Dr. Briggs, who came from the north, broken in business, but full of energy and ability, and laid the foundation of that prosperity that has long distinguished the Briggs and the Converse families.
Troupville only suffered one inconvenience. To get to town three-fourths of the population had either to cross the river of the east or the river of the west and half the time, during the winter and spring, these rivers were raging with freshets, the bridges were afloat and were frequently swept away.
One thing more hindered her prosperity. At the only season when the main river was navigable, the Old Nick, himself, couldn’t navigate it. So it transpired that the only freighted barge that ever tempted its tempestuous tide was a flat boat that went down the river to the Suwanee, thence down that river to Cedar Keys.
It never returned.
The boatmen sold the vessel and cargo and walked home.
Life was too short to navigate that crooked stream, with its sunken logs and treacherous sands, and the hope of water transportation was abandoned.
Among those who settled in Troupville and left behind many momentous memories, was Morgan Goodgame Swain, a burly blacksmith from Emanuel, who was ever ready for a fight, frolic or a footrace. He stood six feet three and weighed over two hundred without pound of surplus flesh. As handsome as a Greek god he was gifted with herculean strength and a heart that was generous and true. He erected his forge on the bank of the Ockolockochee, and his wife took possession of the tavern. Becky, she was lord above, and Morz was lord below.
The town of Valdosta was laid off when the old Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built, about the opening of the war. Brooks and Echols had been cut off from Lowndes, and the county site was moved four miles southeast of Troupville to Valdosta. A great many of the buildings were moved bodily. And now there is not one brick upon another to tell the story of Troupville. A pile of white rocks marks the spot of Swain’s old forge, and some weather beaten mulberry trees still bud and blossom around the old square where stood the tavern. Aside from these there is nothing left to keep alive the cherished hopes that once animated the soul of Troupville.
The Withlacoochee still glides along to meet the Ockolocoochee, and the land that lies between them, once town property, is now a barren waste, overgrown with somber pines, solitary tufts of bear grass whose white crests wave to and fro in ghostly suggestiveness in the twilight of summer evenings when the whip-poor-wills chant their weird melodies among the lonely thickets.
Around the once populous portion of the town lies a waste of sedgy fields that are barren and unproductive. The half-wild goats browse among the fennels and briars. “Ichabod” is written in lichen crusted letters, and desolation reigns supreme.
MONTGOMERY M. FOLSOM.
« Older entries