Miller Hardware started at Ray City

Miller Hardware was one of the historic businesses of Ray City, GA. The Ray City store was managed by  Arthur Harvel Miller, brother of Lint Miller. Leon Clyde Miller clerked in the store.  Charlie Parham  and M. C. Lee were among the investors.

According to the Annual Report of the Secretary of State, the Miller Hardware & Furniture store located at Milltown, GA was incorporated in 1913 with a capital of $25,000. The trade journal Southern Hardware, Volumes 79-80, June 1918, W.R.C. Smith Pub. Co., 1918 pg 66 announced the incorporation of  a Miller Hardware & Furniture Company store at Ray City.

Image Right:  W. L. Miller and Lena Lee circa 1908. The couple were married in 1913 (see larger images at Berrien County Historical Foundation).

Willis Linton “Lint” Miller was the President and General Manager of the company. Later he served as Chairman of the State Highway Department.  James Thomas Phillips was a salesman for the company. Leon Earl Thigpen was a clerk at the Milltown location.

By 1923, the company letterhead boasted the capital stock had grown to $35,000. The letter head pictured below was from a document included in the death papers of Francis Marion Shaw.

New Ramah Church

Aaron Anderson Knight (1857 – 1925)


Ray City History
Current Reseach Subject: Aaron Anderson Knight (1857 – 1925)

A.A. Knight, Pleasant Cemetery, New Lois, near Ray City, GA

Aaron Anderson Knight

was a Primitive Baptist minister in Berrien County, Georgia.  He was born April 13, the day after Easter, 1857,  the son of John W. Knight.

On October 28, 1877 Aaron A. Knight married Mattie Martha Parrish.  She was born May 20, 1860,  in Lowndes County, Georgia. Her parents were the Reverend Ansel Parrish and Molcy Knight.

Elder Aaron Knight lived in Ray City, GA  in a house on the west side of Park Street about four lots south of Main Street.  This house has since been moved further out Park Street to the end of Ice Castle Lane.

Levi J. Knight’s Military Heritage

Detail of A.J. Johnson’s 1863 Map of Georgia and Alabama, showing locations of the Knight community, Nashville, Milltown, and Troupville, Ga

From A.J. Johnson’s  1863 Map of Georgia and Alabama,  it is plain to see that the renown of General Levi J. Knight first put the location of Ray City, GA on the map – indicated simply as “Knight” (See Knight Community) .

The family of Levi J. Knight had a long tradition of civil and military service. On his mother’s side, his grandfather, William Cone,  was a Baptist pastor and Revolutionary soldier who served as a captain  in McLean’s Regiment of Georgia Troops, under General Francis Marion.  William Cone served as a major in the 1st Battalion of the Richmond County Militia.

“When the notorious Tory, McGirth, and his followers were terrorizing that region of the state now known as Bulloch county, it was learned that one Cargill harbored Tories and gave them information about Whigs. Cargill was advised that it meant death if he was again found in company with McGirth. Not long after, when William Cone was hunting deer on the Ogeechee, he saw them together in the woods. He shot Cargill, but McGirth escaped and the next day when they went to bury the dead man it was found that the wolves had almost devoured his body.   

Daniel McGirth made more than one narrow escape. Illustration from Stories of Georgia, by Joel Chandler Harris.

Daniel McGirth made more than one narrow escape. Illustration from Stories of Georgia, by Joel Chandler Harris.

Another time the Tories fell on an unsuspecting settlement, stole the settler’s horses and carried away everything possible. Headed by Captain Cone, the settlers pursued them down into what is now Tatnall County, Georgia, Finding after a shower of rain that they were close on their heels, they sent forward one of their number to reconnoiter. The approach of this became known to the Tories through one of the stolen horses, and on of their number, starting out to learn the cause of their confusion, was shot dead by the scout, who was concealed behind a log. This was the signal for an attack, and the Patriots rushed forward, drove the Tories into the Ohoopee River and recovered their stolen goods. It is said that this raid broke the power of the Tories in that community.”

Related Posts

Gordon Williams (1894 – 1918)

Gordon Williams was a casualty of WWI. The caption in this memorial photo incorrectly gave his home as Bay City instead of Ray City.

Ray City History
Gordon Williams (1894 – 1918)

Gordon Williams was among the Ray City residents who served in World War I.

On November 17, 1918  the New York Times listed Gordon Williams among the Georgia dead under the headline “Reported casualties in American Expeditionary Forces now total 80,252.”

The article read,


1.532 Named in New Army Lists Include 733 Dead and 416 Wounded.
Special to the New York Times.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16.–The War Department gave out two army casualty lists today, which contained 1,532 names, bringing the total for the arm up to 76,226. No Marine Corps list was issued, but the total previously reported for that branch was 4, 026, bring the total for both arms of he service up to 80,252.  The army lists issued today contained the names of 386 killed in action, 231 died of wounds, 15 died of accident, 210 wounded to a degree undetermined, 108 slightly wounded, and 383 missing.

WILLIAMS, GORDON was listed as (DD) – Died of Disease. His next of kin was listed as J.C. Williams, Ray City. It would be more than three years before his body was returned home.

Related Posts:

Ray City Post Office Wrecked By Dynamite

A brief but interesting sidebar in the Dec 6, 1921 edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution contains a now obscure reference to the ‘yeggmen’  that beset  the Ray City Post Office.   Fortunately for our understanding, the intellectuals of that time were there to document such obscurities.

Read Attack of the Yeggmen

Related posts:

Bird’s Mill Post Office

A detail of the U.S. Coast Survey Map of Southern Georgia and Part of South Carolina, 1865 depicts the locations of Douglas, Bird’s Mill, Guest, and Nashville,  where Nathan W. Byrd resided from 1854 to 1881.   Milltown, GA and General Levi J. Knight’s residence (site of  Ray’s Mill) are also depicted, as well as early roads in the area, although some locations are distorted by the cartographer.

1865 Map Detail (parts of Berrien, Coffee, and Clinch Counties)

Location of Bird’s Mill and other residences of Nathan W. Byrd

Related Posts

Nathan Byrd and Bird’s Mill, GA

Continuing with research on Nathan W. Byrd, we find his daughter, Susan Catherine Byrd, married Mathew H. Albritton and lived in the vicinity of Ray’s Mill, GA.  In 1860, prior to coming to Berrien County, Nathan Byrd and his family were enumerated in Coffee County, living near the village of Bird’s Mill.  What is the Byrd/Bird connection?  Bird’s Mill has become a ghost town, with virtually no modern reference to its former location.  The census records of 1860 tell us a post office was located there.  The 1860 Gazetteer of Georgia identifies Bird’s Mill as one of five communities then extant in Coffee county.  Mark V. Wetherington gives additional details in his work, Plain folk’s fight: the Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia.

Related Posts

Nathan W. Byrd Census Records

Folks Huxford compiled a sketch of Nathan W. Byrd in the first volume of Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia. Much of the information in his sketch can be cited to the enumeration of Nathan W. Byrd in the census data of 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880. Nathan Byrd also appears in the Slave Schedules of the 1850 and 1860 census and in the 1864 Census for Re-organizing the Georgia Militia in Clinch County.

Related Posts

Nathan W. Byrd (1808 – 1881)

Ray City History
Current research subject: Nathan W. Byrd (1808 – 1881)

According to the histories of Folks Huxford, Nathan W. Byrd was a mail carrier on the postal route serving Ray’s Mill, GA in the peoriod after the civil war. The 1876 records of the U.S. Congress show that Nathan W. Byrd put in a bid to carry the mail on the route from Nashville, GA to Allapaha, GA that year. The route was awarded to William J. Nelson of Allapaha, who was contracted to provide the mail service for $190 per year. That sum would equate to about $49,300 in 2009 dollars.

Related posts:

« Older entries Newer entries »