D’Ree Yawn and Friends in Ray City

In the 1930s D’Ree Yawn was a teenage girl living in Ray City, GA, photographed here with Mildred Clements, and another friend, Marie.

Three young friends in Ray City. Left to right: Mildred Clements, Marie ?, and D'Ree Yawn. Image courtesy of Debra Klein.

Three young friends in Ray City. Left to right: Mildred Clements, Marie ?, and D’Ree Yawn. Image courtesy of Debra Klein.

D’Ree Yawn and Mildred Clements were friends and neighbors. Mildred lived in the home on the northeast corner of Jones Street and Pauline Street; her parents were Hod Clements and Alma Florence May.

D’Ree was a daughter of Vera Laura Roberts and Clayton Samuel Yawn.  She was the sister of Allene Yawn and Caswell Yawn. In the 1920s D’Ree Yawn lived with her parents in the residence of her great uncle James Studstill. The Studstill home was located half-a-block down Jones Street, on a large lot on the southwest corner of Jones and Bishop Street. Some time in the 1930s D’Ree’s family moved up Jones Street to a house directly across Pauline Street from the Clements house. This house still stands, although it has been somewhat remodeled. In the 1930s there was a massive old magnolia tree in the front yard of this house that nearly obscured it from the street.

D'Ree Yawn and her family occupied this home in the 1930s.

D’Ree Yawn and her family occupied this home in the 1930s.

 

D'Ree Yawn and her family occupied this home in the 1930s.

1930s residence of the Yawn Family, Ray City, GA

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Pearl Todd, Missionary, visited Ray City School

In  the Spring of 1939, renowned Missionary, Pearl Todd, came to visit the students of the Ray City School.

1950s Missionaries in Japan. Seated center is believed to be Pearl Allene Todd. To her right is Kuni Anazawa Wada. Standing are Mr. and Mrs. McCollum, Southern Baptist Missionaries. Image source: http://www.discovernikkei.org/es/nikkeialbum/albums/440/slide/?page=16

1950s Missionaries in Japan. Seated center is believed to be Pearl Allene Todd. To her right is Kuni Anazawa Wada. Standing are Mr. and Mrs. McCollum, Southern Baptist Missionaries. Image source: http://www.discovernikkei.org/es/nikkeialbum/albums/440/slide/?page=16

 

“Miss Pearl Allene Todd, was born in Hahira, GA, on November 2, 1890, to Rev. Edward and Emma Todd, one of five children. She came to Christ at the age of thirteen and was baptized in Plant City, Florida. Later, she graduated from Tift College with a degree in Classical Studies in 1913.”  – Pearl Allene Todd – Missionary to China

Pearl Todd became a Southern Baptist Missionary and went to China in 1919. Upon arriving in Shantung , she was stationed in the port city of Chefoo where she served as the principal of Williams Memorial Girls School. Chefoo (now “Yantai烟台) is one of two major port cities in the Shantung Province and is the city in which Miss Todd spent her missionary career teaching women,  only taking furloughs from May 14, 1927, to July 18, 1931 during Chiang Kai-shek’s Northern Expedition, then from May 29, 1938, to August 19, 1939.

It was while on furlough in the Spring of 1939 that Pearl Todd came to Ray City to visit with students at the Ray City School.  Miss Todd told the students of life in China sharing with them her many experiences with the Chinese people, and taught them to sing a children’s song in the Chinese language.

In August, 1939,  Pearl Todd returned to China.  Her work was interrupted in 1941 when she was taken prisoner at the onset of World War II.

After being repatriated in 1942, she spent seven years completing deputation work stateside, after which she returned to the Foreign Missionary Board to serve seven years in Fukuoka, Japan, from Jan 7, 1950, to her retirement on August 21, 1957.

Grave of Pearl Allene Todd, New Bethel Church near Ray City, GA. She was Southern Baptist Missionary in China and Japan. She visited with students at the Ray City School in 1939.

Grave of Pearl Allene Todd, New Bethel Church near Ray City, GA. She was Southern Baptist Missionary in China and Japan. She visited with students at the Ray City School in 1939.

Mildred Lorene Clements Married Sergeant Mitchell Haygood Moore

Mildred Lorene Clements , of Ray City, GA, was a daughter of Alma and Hosea  “Hod” P. Clements and a sister of Frances Clements.

Mildred attended school in Ray City, and graduated with the RCHS class of 1939.  Mildred and Frances Clements attended the  Tri-Hi-Y Conference, Moultrie, GA, in  1939, along with Lucille Carter, Jaunelle Clements and Carolyn Swindle.

In 1940-41 Mildred attended Andrew College, a small Methodist junior college for women at Cuthbert, GA.

It was in the midst of WWII that Mildred Lorene Clements married Sergeant Mitchell Haygood Moore, of Lanier County.

Clinch County News Friday, December 3, 1943 Wedding announcement of Sergeant Mitchell Haygood Moore and Miss Mildred Lorene Clements, of Ray City, GA

Clinch County News Friday, December 3, 1943 Wedding announcement of Sergeant Mitchell Haygood Moore and Miss Mildred Lorene Clements, of Ray City, GA

Clinch County News
Friday, December 3,  1943

The marriage of Sgt. Mitchell Haygood Moore of Lanier county, and Miss Mildred Lorene Clements of Ray City, took place recently at the Methodist church in Ray City, Rev. L. D. McConnel officiating.  Sgt Moore is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Atticus H. Moore, former Clinch county residents who were cut off into Lanier when that county was formed in 1920. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hosea C. Clements of Ray City.

After their honeymoon,  Sgt Moore went off to fight in Europe. He would not return in life.

Postmaster Hamilton W. Sharpe Takes Offense

Hamilton W. Sharpe

Hamilton W. Sharpe was a pioneer settler of Lowndes County and a contemporary of Levi J. Knight, who settled at the site of Ray City.  The two fought together in July, 1836 actions against Indians which occurred in this immediate area including the Battle of Brushy Creek and actions on Warrior Creek  in what was then Lowndes County (now Berrien and Cook counties,) Georgia.

Sharpe first came to Lowndes via the Coffee Road:

As has been discussed, one of the first roads of any kind to be constructed through south Georgia  was the Coffee Road, built by General John Coffee in 1823.  It was a “road” only in the sense that it was a path cleared through the forest with tree stumps cut low enough for wagon axles to clear them.   

One of General Coffee’s overseers in the laying out of the road was Enoch Hall, a son of Sion Hall and Mrs. Bridget “Beady” Hall.  The Halls were among the very first settlers in the area that became Lowndes county, by an act of the Georgia Legislature, December 23, 1825. Sion Hall established a tavern on the Coffee Road, about two miles north of present day town of Morven,GA and his brother, John Hall, operated a liquor bar there.

In 1826, Hamilton W. Sharpe, then a young man hardly in his twenties, came down from Tatnall County over the Coffee Road, and decided to locate near the home and traveler’s inn of Sion Hall.  It was at Hall’s Inn that the first court in Lowndes County was held a few months afterwards.  Sharpe along with others expected that the permanent county-seat would be established there.  So young Sharpe built a small store building out of logs near the Sharpe home.    Thus, Hall’s Inn and Sharpe’s Store  were situated approximately 25 miles southwest of present day  Ray City, GAthe site first settled by the Knight family in the winter of 1826.

In 1828, Hamilton W. Sharpe obtained the establishment of a U. S. Post Office at his store, for which he was appointed Postmaster.  The Sharpe’s Store Post Office served Wiregrass Pioneers for almost 25 years.

<strong>Post marked Sharpe's Store, Geo., September 29, 1849.</strong><br />The Sharpe's Store Post Office in Lowndes County (now Brooks County) opened from 1828 to 1853 (In 1836 it was briefly known as Magnum Post Office). This letter written by Douglas Graham, was addressed to his cousin, Jno A Brooks Esq, PM in Rockford, Alabama. It was originally rated Free but rerated to 10 cents due. The contents of the letter mention that Graham is interested in information about his ancestors and says he will write a long letter containing what he knows. Graham comments on the

Post marked Sharpe’s Store, Geo., September 29, 1849.
The Sharpe’s Store Post Office in Lowndes County (now Brooks County) opened from 1828 to 1853 (In 1836 it was briefly known as Magnum Post Office). This letter written by Douglas Graham, was addressed to his cousin, Jno A Brooks Esq, PM in Rockford, Alabama. It was originally rated Free but rerated to 10 cents due. The contents of the letter mention that Graham is interested in information about his ancestors and says he will write a long letter containing what he knows. Graham comments on the “Whig Rascals” in Alabama, and on the politics of Georgia. Of the men running for Governor he wrote: “Judge [Edward] Hill probably drinks no more liquor than Towns though he has been called a horrid drunkard.” (George W. Towns won by aggressively endorsing “southern rights” and playing to fears about Congressional interference with slavery.)

In December of 1846, Hamilton Sharpe responded to a letter to the editor published in the Savannah Daily Republican, written by a subscriber from Okapilco, Lowndes County, GA. Okapilco was on the mail route from Franklinville via Sharpe’s Store to Bainbridge, GA. Without naming names, this subscriber appeared to be complaining about the way Postmaster Sharpe charged postage due on the mail, the selection of mail routes, the infrequency and irregularity of the mail service, even the quality of the conveyance by which the mail was delivered. To these criticisms Hamilton Sharpe took great offense, and his written, point-by-point response was in turn published in the Republican, transcript below.

Sharpe's Store, December 28, 1846

Sharpe’s Store, December 28, 1846

Sharpe’s Store, Dec. 28, 1846.

Messrs. Editors. – My attention has been called by a friend, to a letter in the Republican of the 9th inst., from a correspondent of yours, writing from “Okapilco, Lowndes Co., Ga.,” over the signature of a “Subscriber.”

I notice the letter, first; because therein is an evident intention to censure some Post Master in this vicinity and secondly, because the writer has made statements which are not facts.  The writer says, “we are now, (a recent thing,) charged ten cents on single letters from your city, and though these letters are originally stamped five vents, by the Post-Master at Savannah, &c., yet on their arrival in this county, an additional five cents is placed over the original by some little powers that be, &c.” Now if your “Subscriber” intends this as a charge against this office, I flatly deny the fact, and will appeal to the way-bills from Savannah, and the Post-Master at that place to sustain me.  If a letter is received from Savannah at this office, charged with five cents only, I feel myself bound, in the discharge of my official duty, to mark the letter “under charged,” and add an additional five cents, which I may have done, but as to “placing an additional five cents over the original,” it is not allowed by this “little power that be.”

Again, he says “there are two routes from Savannah, one via Darien not over two hundred miles.” He must be very ignorant of the rout over which the mail travels “via Darien,” or he would not risk his love of truth in such a glaring assertion.  It had not even been a doubt in my mind whether it is not more than three hundred miles from this to Savannah even by the route via Darien; but as I had no means of ascertaining the precise distance, I was disposed, if I erred at all, to err on the side of the public, and consequently charged five cents on all letters not exceeding half an ounce in weight, until by general consent (“Subscriber” exempted, I suppose,) the mail was changed on the other route, which every body knows to be four hundred miles and upwards.

In 1845, I corresponded with Mr. Schley, the Post-Master, in Savannah, on this subject – a gentleman whom I have ever considered as worthy of the confidence of the public – and I am persuaded that he has said in good faith in discharge of his duty, and will not deny but what his way-bills, are invariably, since the change was made in the rout, charged ten cents on all letters from his office to this.

This gentleman, the “Subscriber” from “Okapilco,” whoever he is, seems to be very censorious. He wants the mail oftener, &c., and who does not? But how are we to get it, by writing to you a letter of censure and compalints, embellished with a few of his little “cat’s paw” flourishes of wit, implicating the conduct of Post-Masters, in the discharge of their official duty?  If this is the way we are to get a change in our mail arrangements, it will present a new aspect to matters and things in the Post Office Department, and besides he will not get many to follow in his walks.  But let him go to work at the right place, instead of censuring the “little powers that be” – let him supplicate the law-making power, and his course will be considered by all to be more open and generous at least, and no doubt he will gain the co-operation and influence of the community at large.

Why arraign the Post-Master General in this matter – we have as many mails now as we had under former Administrations, and get them as regular, and there is as few complaints, and as few causes of complaints.  Perhaps “Subscriber” wants a mail route established for his own especial benefit, twice or thrice a week, and then he would be “blest by the light spreading influence emanating from Cave Johnson’s Express,” sure enough.

What does “Subscriber” means by the “news carrying quadruped” – is it the contractor, the old sulky, the old gray horse that draws the sulky, or little Barney who rides and drives?  I am sure little Barney is a faithful little soul to his business, and as often as the old gray has failed, he has as often obtained a substitute – and where is the cause for this notorious letter from “Subscriber.”

I am at a loss, Messrs. Editors, to know which looks the worst to a man “up a tree,” “little men in big places,” or big men in little places. If “Subscriber” is acquainted with “Euclyd,” perhaps he may solve the question himself. Does “Subscriber” know what the new Post Office law is, with regard to this matter? If he does not, he had better inform himself on the subject. It is found on the first page of the new “Post Office Laws and Regulations,” beginning with the first clause, and if he cannot understand its mystifications, let him employ a lawyer.

I will now take leave of your “Subscriber from Okapilco, Lowndes Co., Ga.,” who, it seems, would seek some notoriety at other men’s expense, but who is very careful to conceal his real name.

HAMILTON W. SHARPE.

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Lester Griffin and Margaret Elizabeth Griffin

On this date, August 12, 1917,  Lester Griffin (1890-1928), grandson of  Wiregrass pioneer Levi J. Knight,  married cousin Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Griffin.  (see Family of Lester Griffin)

Lester Griffin and Mary Elizabeth Griffin.  Image detail courtesy of Alan K. Griffin.

Lester Griffin and Mary Elizabeth Griffin. Image detail courtesy of Alan K. Griffin.

Lester and Lizzie are buried at Brushy Creek Cemetery near Ocilla, GA.

Grave of Lester Griffin (1890 -  1928), Brushy Creek Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Grave of Lester Griffin (1890 – 1928), Brushy Creek Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

 

Grave of Margaret Elizabeth Griffin (1899 -  1973), Brushy Creek Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Grave of Margaret Elizabeth Griffin (1899 – 1973), Brushy Creek Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

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Ray City 4-H

One of the popular clubs at the Ray City School was 4-H. In the 1930s, 4-H members included Bernard Johnson (RCHS 1930), Brown King (RCHS 1930),  Leland Langford  (RCHS, 1939),  J. D. Luke, Billy McDonald,  James Swindle  (RCHS, 1936),  Clyde Carter (RCHS 1936), Margaret Carter  (RCHS 1930), Mabel McDonald (RCHS 1930), Clyde Moore, Doris Swindle  (RCHS 1930), and Grace Swindle, and Beth Terry (RCHS 1930).

In the 1950s,  the Ray City kids in 4-H included James Williams (RCHS 1952), Eugene Johnson (RCHS 1952), Donald Mathis (RCHS 1953), Charles McKuhen (RCHS 1953).

 

James Williams, Ray City High School class of 1953

James Williams, Ray City High School class of 1953

James Walter Williams (1935-1998), son of James Walter Williams and Mary Inez Watson, was born and raised in Ray City, GA.  He attended the Ray City School, participating in varsity basketball from 1951-53, and was a member of 4-H. He graduated with the RCHS class of 1953.  Williams later served in the U.S. Army as a Specialist, 4th Class. James Walter Williams died December 14, 1998; he was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Eugene Johnson, Ray City High School class of 1953

Eugene Johnson, 4-H Member
Ray City High School class of 1953

Eugene Johnson (1935-2012) was born September 1, 1935 in Moultrie, GA to the William Ira Johnson and Marie Harrod Johnson. When Eugene was a child his father died. His widowed mother moved the family to Cat Creek, GA to the homeplace of Eugene’s grandparents, Henry F. Harrod and Edna Young.   Eugene Johnson passed away Saturday morning November 24, 2012 at his residence in Valdosta, GA; his grave is at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Donald Mathis, 1952-53 school photo, Ray City High School, Ray City, GA

Donald Mathis, 4-H Member
1952-53 school photo, Ray City High School

Charles McKuhen, 1952-53 school photo, Ray City High School

Charles McKuhen, 1952-53 school photo, Ray City High School

Ray City School 4-H Club, 1952-53

Ray City School 4-H Club, 1952-53

 

4-H Girls, Ray City School, 1950-51

4-H Girls, Ray City School, 1950-51

4-H Club, Ray City School, 1948-49

4-H Club, Ray City School, 1948-49

It Happened In Ray City

1958-it-happened-in-georgia1958 

Augustine Collier of Ray City, Ga., saw a six-foot snake crawling across her flowerbed, followed by 24 baby snakes.

Augustine Collier, Ray City, Ga.

Corporal William J. Moore

William J. Moore, born about 1927, was a son of Percy W. Moore and Bessie L. Parker.  He grew up in the community of Lois, near Ray City, GA.

Cpl William Moore, of Ray City, GA

Cpl William Moore, of Ray City, GA

 

Atlanta Constitution
June 29, 1947

Names in the News

Pfc. William J. Moore, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Percy W. Moore, of Ray City, was promoted to the grade of corporal at Hickam Field, Hawaii. A regular Army man, Cpl. Moore is a member of the 1384th Military Police Company, Seventh Air Force.

Rosie Lee Owens

Rosie Lee Owens

While many young women and men of Ray City attended local institutions, Georgia State Womens College or Emory College in Valdosta, or other educational opportunities of the Wiregrass, Doris Mobley and Rosie Lee Owens attended Georgia State College for Women, in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Rosie Lee Owens, of Ray City, GA, entered GSCW in the fall of 1945.

Rosie Lee Owens, 1946 Freshman at Georgia State College for Women

Rosie Lee Owens, 1946 Freshman at Georgia State College for Women

Students in front of the GSWC Administration Building, 1946

Students in front of the GSCW Administration Building, 1946

∇∇∇

Terrell Hall, Georgia State College for Women.  As a freshman, Rosie Lee Owens most likely was a resident of the Terrell Hall dormitory.

Terrell Hall, Georgia State College for Women. As a freshman, Rosie Lee Owens most likely was a resident of the Terrell Hall dormitory.

Rosie Lee Owens, of Ray City. 1947 Georgia State College for Women, Milledgeville Georgia.

Rosie Lee Owens, of Ray City. 1947 Georgia State College for Women, Milledgeville Georgia.

 

The girls in Mansion Annex live next door to a reminder of our heritage from the past.  Mrs. Smith presides over this dormitory and the officers are L. Johns, F. Bradley, and R.L. Owens.

In 1947, Rosie Lee Owens was residing in the Mansion Annex dormitory at Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College),  next door to the former Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, GA. Mrs. Smith presided over this dormitory and the officers were L. Johns,  Frances Bradley, and Rosie Lee Owens.

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Edward M. Henderson Mortally Wounded at Brushy Creek

Death came for Edward M. Henderson, Sheriff of Lowndes County, GA  on July 20, 1836, he having been mortally wounded in the Battle of Brushy Creek five days earlier.  In death he joined those killed in action at Brushy Creek –  Pennywell Folsom and Edwin Shanks of Lowndes, and Burton Ferrell of Thomas County. Nine other settlers were wounded in the battle. The names of the Native American dead, “who had been goaded into madness”  are not known.

Captain Levi J. Knight, original settler of the Ray City, GA,  arrived at Brushy Creek with a company of men just after the conclusion of the fighting, having marched across the county from and earlier engagement at  William Parker’s place. Knight and the troops from Brushy Creek were then  engaged in actions along Warrior Creek.

1834 Lowndes County, GA Tax Digest assessment of the property of Edward Marion Henderson.  For his 1,215 acres, Henderson paid $0.78 cents in property taxes.

1834 Lowndes County, GA Tax Digest assessment of the property of Edward Marion Henderson. For his 1,215 acres, Henderson paid $0.78 cents in property taxes.

Edward Marion Henderson, also known as Edwin Henderson, was born in 1810, a son of David A. Henderson. He was born and raised in Liberty County, GA before moving with his parents to Ware County, GA. On July 3, 1829, he was commissioned as Postmaster at Waresboro, Ware County, GA, and served until June 4, 1830. He was Tax Collector of Ware County from 1828 to 1832.

In 1832, he came to settle in Lowndes county, GA on Land Lot # 168, 15th District, in that area which was later cut into Brooks County. He was elected Justice of the Peace for the 659th District of Lowndes, serving from 1833 to 1834. He was elected Sheriff of Lowndes County on April 4, 1834, while Franklinville was still serving as the County Seat. Martin Shaw was his Deputy Sheriff.

According to Lowndes County Tax Digests for 1834, Edward M. Henderson  owned 965 acres on lots 168 and 155 in the 15th District, near the Withlacoochee River, and 250 acres on Lot 150 in the 15th District in Thomas County. In 1835, he retained only the land on Lot 168.

Edward M. Henderson married Martha McMullen in 1835; she was born 1813 in Telfair County, GA, a daughter of James McMullen. Her father was a prominent citizen of Lowndes, and served as a representative in the state legislature.

Child of Edward Marion Henderson and Martha McMullen:

  1. Rebecca Henderson: born 1836, Lowndes County, GA; married Joel M. Morris, April 13, 1854 in Madison County, FL;

When Indian troubles began in 1836 following the uprising at Roanoke, GA, Edward M. Henderson served with the Lowndes County militia. He was mortally wounded in the Battle of Brushy Creek and died a few days later on July 20, 1836, leaving behind his young wife and infant daughter. The site of his grave is not known.

† † †

The estate of Edward M. Henderson was administered by his brother, Samuel T. Henderson, and his home place on Lot 168, 15th District was sold at auction in December 1838.  His widow, Martha McMullen Henderson, with baby Rebecca Henderson returned to her father’s home.  She never re-married.  When Rebecca married Joel M. Morris in 1854, Martha moved into her son-in-law’s household in Jefferson County, FL.

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