1939 Ray City School 10th Grade

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1939 School Pictures
10th Grade Class
Ray City School
Ray City, GA

A local history project of the Ray City Community Library.

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Wilma Harper Shultz Began 60-year Teaching Career at Ray City

Batts Goins ~ Tie Chopper

Batts Goins and his wife, Elzira, were an African-American couple living in Ray City, GA in the 193o’s. The Goins were renting a house for $3.00 a month.

Batts Goins was 64 years old but still working for a living.   Like many of his neighbors, he made his living in the timber industry.  His trade was “Tie Chopper.” A tie chopper, or tie hacker, was a person who made railroad ties.

“The tie choppers usually worked alone. They first felled the tree with a saw, cut the lower limbs off, and marked off the ties on the bark to see how many ties could be cut from the tree. The tree was then “scored” with an axe on both sides in order to start making the two flat faces of the tie. These sides were then chipped with a “broad ax,” thus making two smooth faces. The bark was then peeled from the other two faces and the tree was then cut into finished ties. After the ties were made the top of the tree was lopped, that is, the branches were cut from the trunk. In this operation these branches were scattered evenly over the ground. The tie chopper then cleared a road through the middle of his strip and “parked” his ties on the road. He then stamped his private mark on each tie.”   ~ an account of the tie chopper from Our national forests: a short popular account of the work of the United States Forest Service on the national forests.

Tie choppers hand-hewed two flat faces on felled logs using a broad axe, then stripped the bark off the remaining sides. The finished tie was suitable for laying track.

Typically, tie choppers would cut timber off their own land, or pay a land owner by the tree, or “stump”  for each tree they cut into ties.

 Throughout the country the work is usually done between October 1 and April 1, both because many of the railroads require in their specifications that the timber be cut during that period and because other work is less active in the fall and winter.

As is the case in all timber values expressed as stumpage, the value of ties in the tree varies with their kind and quality, their accessibility, and the difficulty of logging and transportation to market…. Southern yellow pine stumpage is worth from 6 to 14 cents [per tie], with an average of about 10 cents.

Contracts for hewing No. 1 ties range from 14 or 15 cents for difficult conditions, down to 10 cents for good “chances” and from 8 to 11 cents for “seconds.”….Tie hacks bend every effort to make all the “firsts” possible from every tree handled, as it is current opinion among them that there is no money in making “seconds” …. where the timber ran about three ties per tree, each man turned out about 20 ties on an average per day. In a 10-hour day the time was divided as follows: 1 1/4 hours felling, 2 1/2 hours limbing and scoring, 3 hours facing, 1 hour bucking into lengths and 1 1/4 hours peeling.  ~ Railway engineering and maintenance, Volume 14

In earlier decades many millions of railroad ties were produced completely by hand labor, but by the 1930’s at least some parts of the process were completed mechanically.

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Gus Calhoun, Ray City Farmer

Samuel Augustus Calhoun, circa 1907. By 1910 he was farming at Ray City, GA

Samuel Augustus Calhoun, circa 1907. By 1910 he was farming at Ray City, GA

Gus Calhoun was one of the stalwart farmers of Ray City, GA. (see Family of Gus Calhoun,  Berrien County, GA)

Samuel Augustus Calhoun was born May 25, 1868 in Georgia, probably in the community of Colquitt. He was the son of Elizabeth and Joseph Calhoun. His father was a farmer, and Gus followed in the same tradition.

Samuel Augustus Calhoun married Rachel Bullard on May 19, 1891 in Lowndes County, GA.  She was born in 1874.  Her parents were Mack Bullard and Luvellia Ray.  The ceremony was conducted by John G. Hall, Justice of the Peace.  The couple made their home in the Cat Creek community, Lowndes County. They appear there in the Census of 1900.

By 1910 Gus Calhoun had moved his wife and nine children a few miles north to Ray’s Mill (now known as Ray City), Berrien County, GA where he rented a farm next to his father-in-law, Mack Bullard.

Samuel Augustus Calhoun and Rachel Bullard marriage certificate, 1891, Lowndes County, GA.

Samuel Augustus Calhoun and Rachel Bullard marriage certificate, 1891, Lowndes County, GA.

In the 1920s the Calhouns were living  in Ray City, GA renting a place on the Valdosta & Ray City Road.  With the help of his sons, Gus farmed the place on his own account. Thomas Brantley was farming the place next door.

Rachel Bullard and Samuel Augustus Calhoun family, circa 1913.  The Calhouns were living in Ray City, Berrien County, GA during this time.

Rachel Bullard and Samuel Augustus Calhoun family, circa 1913. The Calhouns were living in Ray City, Berrien County, GA during this time.

The 1930s found Gus and Rachel still on the farm in Ray City, renting for $15 a month. At 60, Gus continued to farm, with the help of his sons, Collie and C.B. Also in the Calhoun household was their daughter, Gussie Clark, and her two children, Mildred and Charles. Gussie assisted with the farm labor.  Their son, Max Nathan Calhoun, was renting the house next door with his wife and young child.

Samuel Augustus Calhoun died on January 5, 1957 and is buried in Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City, Georgia in Berrien County.

Rachel Bullard Calhoun  is also buried in Beaver Dam cemetery.

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The State vs Burrell Hamilton Bailey

Burrell Hamilton Bailey and family were among those living in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, later known as the Rays Mill district, at the time of the Census of 1870.  Burrell was farming  and seems to be one of those few who came through the decade of the Civil War better off than he was at the start.  In 1870 he owned $1000 in real estate and $1547 in personal estate.

In 1872, in a property swap with Hiram Ray, Burrell H. Bailey acquired a place situated about four miles north of Cat Creek.

When the Baileys moved to their new place Bradford Ray, the son of Hiram Ray and husband of Martha J. Swan, stayed on as a tenant farmer. But in 1873 a dispute arose between Burrell Bailey an Bradford Ray over the management of the crops. On the 23 of June, 1873, while the two men were in Alapaha, GA the argument turned violent; Bailey shot Ray in the stomach (see Showdown in Allapaha). Bradford Ray lingered with the wound for two weeks before it proved fatal. Burrel H. Bailey was indicted for murder.

Following the charge of murder, Burrell H. Bailey seemed anxious for the trial. Court notes show his legal actions expedited the trial.

Phil Ray, a descendant of Hiram Ray, has researched the court records of Berrien county and provides the following information:

The State vs B.H. Bailey
And now comes the Defendant into court and waives formal arraignment & copy bill of Indictment, list of witnesses sworn before the Grand Jury, plead not guilty.
                                                  Peeples Whittington
                                                  W. H. Lastinger
                                                  H. G. Turner
                                                  A.T. Mcfrityon
                                                  Defts Atty

But bringing the case to court was a protracted affair as indicated in a note from Judge Hansell dated Sept 22, 1874:

 The State vs B.H. Bailey
It appearing to the court that W. S. Nichols a material witness in the above stated case has failed to appear at the term of the Court after being duly subpoenaed It is therefore ordered that said W.S. Nichols show cause instated why he should not be attached for contempt of court.
         A.H. Hansell presiding

The March 20, 1875 edition of the Valdosta Times reported on the actions of the Court when the trial was finally convened:

Monday was spent in organizing the Court and the trial of several petty cases – but nothing worthy of note.

Thursday morning the criminal docket was sounded and the case of The State vs. Burrell H. Bailey was called.  Bailey was arraigned upon the charge of murdering Bradford Ray on the 23 of June, 1873. Up to the time of adjournment Wednesday afternoon the examination of the State’s witnesses only had been concluded. [More of this anon.]

Court notes provide further details of the trial

 Berrien Superior Court March Term 1875
The State vs B.H. Bailey
The following is a list of Jurors chosen & sworn to try this case:

1 E.J. Williams           7 S B Dorminy
2 C W Corbitt             8 John M Futch
3 L A Folsom              9 Thomas D Futch
4 J.J. Williams         10 David Hancock
5 E J McDermid      11 James Patten

In the final verdict, Burrell Hamilton Bailey was acquitted of the charge.

The State vs B.H. Bailey
Murder in Berrien Superior Court March Term 1875
We the Jury find the Defendant not guilty.
J.M. Futch

The State vs B.H. Bailey
Murder in Berrien Superior Court March Term 1875

The Jury in the above stated case having returned a verdict of not guilty it is ordered by the court that the Defendant be discharged without a day

Aug H Hansell
Judge B.C.S.C.


Not long after the trial, Burrell Hamilton Bailey moved his family to Florida.

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Burrell Hamilton Bailey Sells Out in 10th

Burrell Hamilton Bailey was a Wiregrass pioneer in the vicinity of present day Ray City, GA in the early 1800s. He was born 19 October 1826 in Irwin Co., Georgia, the son of Burrell Henry Bailey and Mary “Polly” Land.

According to the research of Phil Ray, Burrell Henry Bailey, the father, was appointed as a commissioner for superintending the first elections in Irwin County and was himself elected as an Inferior Court Justice in those elections held in March of 1820.  The very  first action of the Irwin Inferior Court was to authorize the Clerk of the Court to issue licenses to “tavern-keepers and retailers of spirituous liquors.”  Burrell Henry Bailey resigned from the court in May, 1821.

That July, Burrell Bailey and Isham Jordan were appointed by the Irwin county Inferior Court to survey and mark a portion of the first public road in Irwin county. Two years later, Isham Jordan would serve as a trailblazer and hunter for General John Coffee during the construction of a military road passing through the site of present day Nashville, GA and on southward to the Florida line (see Coffee Road Led to Creation of Lowndes County). Burrell Henry Bailey also served on the first Grand Jury in Irwin county in September 1820, and served as a Corporal in Company H, 4th Georgia cavalry.

After his father died in 1845, Burrell Hamilton Bailey sold his claim to Lot 241, a land grant of 490 acres in the 10th Land District,  Lowndes County (formerly Irwin County), GA.  This district covered a large area of Berrien county  including the present day area of Ray City, GA. Land records show that he sold this land to Bryan Edmondson in 1851.

(See Transcript below)

Burrell Hamilton Bailey 1851 land transaction with Bryan Edmondson, Lowndes County, GA (now Berrien County). Image courtesy of Phil Ray.

Burrell Hamilton Bailey 1851 land transaction with Bryan Edmondson, Lowndes County, GA (now Berrien County). Image courtesy of Phil Ray.

Lowndes County

This indenture made and entered into the fifteenth day of September Eighteen hundred and fifty one between Burrell H. Bailey of the County and State aforesaid of the one part and Bryan Edmondson of the same place of the other part witnefseth that the said Burrel H Bailey for and in consideration of the sum of Two hundred and fifty Dollars to him in hand paid at and before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt where of is here by acknowledged hath granted bargained sold conveyed and confirmed unto the said Bryan Edmondson his heirs and afsigns all that tract & or parcel of Land situate lying and being in the Tenth District originally of Irwin now Lowndes County and known in the plan of said District by the number (241) Two hundred and forty One containing according to this plat is the Grant four hundred and ninety acres be the same more or lefs to have and to hold the said bargained premises to the only proper use benefit and behest of him the said Bryan Edmondson his heirs and afsigns forever in Fie Simple And I the said Burrell H. Bailey do by sinture of these presents warrant and find the aforesaid bargained prin Land from and against the claim or claims of myself my heirs executors administrators and afsigns and from the claim or claims of all and every other person or persons whatever unto the said Bryan Edmondson his heirs and afsigns forever in witnefs whereof I the said Burrell H. Bailey have herewith set my hand and seal this day and date above written signed sealed and acknowledged in presence of

Jesse Touchton                    Burrell H. Bailey
(2nd witness signature
not legible)

Enhanced detail of 1869 map of Berrien County, GA land lots in the 10th Land District, showing relative locations of Nashville, GA, Land lot 241, and homeplace of Levi J. Knight. Comparison with modern maps shows that the placement of rivers and streams is clearly distorted. Furthermore, this map shows General Knight's place located west of Cat Creek, when historical accounts indicate that the Knight homestead was east of the creek.

Enhanced detail of 1869 map of Berrien County, GA land lots in the 10th Land District, showing relative locations of Nashville, GA, Land lot 241, and homeplace of Levi J. Knight. Comparison with modern maps shows that the placement of rivers and streams is clearly distorted. Furthermore, this map shows General Knight’s place located west of Cat Creek, when historical accounts indicate that the Knight homestead was east of the creek.

In 1847 in Lowndes County, GA Burrell Hamilton Bailey married Rachel Sirmans Mattox.  She was the widow of Samuel Mattox who was hanged at Troupville in 1843, and had two children: Mary Mattox, born about 1843, and Aaron Mattox, born about 1844 in Georgia.  Rachel was the daughter of Jonathan Sirmans and Matha “Patsey” Rouse, and sister of Hardeman Sirmans.

After marriage, Rachel Sirmans and  Burrell H. Bailey lived at her father’s old home place.

In the 1850 Census  Rachel and Burrell are enumerated there in Lowndes County, with her two children and now with two daughters of their own;  Lavicey, age 3, and Winnifred H., age 1.  Living nearby is Rachel’s widowed mother, Martha Sirmans, age 59, head of her own household with her son, Abner (19).  Burrell H Bailey’s brother, Cullen Dean Bailey,  and sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ruth Herrin,  also had a farm nearby.

In 1856,  the Bailey’s land was cut out of Lowndes County,  with the creation of Berrien County.  Reader Sheri Felts contributes that Rachel’s mother moved sometime before 1860 to a place next to her son Mark R. Watson, where she farmed and cared for the children of her deceased son James Lemuel Kirkland. These children were Elizabeth Kirkland, John A. Kirkland, William O. Kirkland, and Rachel Kirkland;  Hardeman Sirmons was given actual guardianship of the children by his half brother James.

Rachel’s  brother, Abner Sirmans, took over her mother’s farm.  Rachel and Burrell continued to raise crops and children on their own place. The 1860 Census shows Rachel and Burrell H. Bailey and their children living on the farm adjacent to Abner Sirmans and his family.

Children of Burrell Hamilton Bailey and Rachel Sirmans:

  1. Luvicey L. Bailey, born April 26, 1848 in Georgia
  2. Winnifred H. Bailey, born about 1849 in Georgia died before 1860
  3. Lemuel H. Bailey, born March, 1851 in Laurens Co., Georgia married Mary Ann Gaskins on October 9, 1873. She was a daughter of Fisher J. Gaskins.
  4. Aurelius H. Bailey, born 1853 in Berrien Co., Georgia  probably died young.
  5. Martha M. Bailey, born March 14, 1854 in Georgia  married first Josiah Ray, this marriage ended in  divorce. She later married William Howard of Taylor County, Fl.
  6. Rachael Bailey, born April 1, 1856 in Taylor Co., Florida married John Slone of Madison County, FL
  7. Burrell H. Bailey Jr, born June 11, 1857 in Taylor Co., Florida married a  McLeod and moved to Madison County, FL
  8. Annie Eliza Bailey, born January 8, 1860 in Taylor Co., Florida married a Rowell and moved to Madison County, FL
  9. William Colonel Bailey, born April 10, 1862 in Berrien Co., Georgia
  10. John A. Bailey, born April 09, 1864 in Berrien Co., Georgia
  11. Sarah Almisy Bailey, born 1868 in Georgia
  12. Joseph S. Bailey, born May 30, 1870 in Georgia

Special thanks to Phil Ray for research contributing to this article.

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Reverend Ernest Leo Baskin

Ernest Leo Baskin was born Oct 12, 1890 near Rays Mill (nka Ray City), GA.  He was the son of Fannie Ellen Hagan and James B. Baskin.

Home of Fannie Hagan and James B. Baskin  circa 1900. The home was located near Ray City, GA on the Howard Boyett farm in today’s Lanier County. Left to right: Armstrong B., J Hagan, Ernest L, Fannie and James B. Baskin.

Childhood home of Ernest L. Baskin, circa 1900. The home was located near Ray City, GA in that part of Berrien County that was later cut into Lanier County, on the lot of land that became known as the Howard Boyett farm. Left to right: Armstrong B., J Hagan, Ernest L, Fannie and James B. Baskin. Image courtesy of http://berriencounty.smugmug.com

In the 1934 History of Worth County, GA author L.M. Grubbs gave this sketch of Ernest L. Baskins:


Among the earnest, successful and popular ministers of Southern Georgia, Rev. Ernest L. Baskin takes high rank, and as Pastor of the First Baptist Church at Sylvester he has exerted a most beneficent influence throughout the community. A native of Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia, he was born and reared on the farm of his parents, James B. and Fannie (Hagan) Baskin, both of whom are living in Ray City, the father being now retired.

After graduating from the Milltown High School in 1908, Ernest L. Baskin entered Mercer University, where he was graduated in 1912 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and then went to the Southern Baptist Seminary where he received the degree of Master of Theology in 1916. Then, after one year of postgraduate work in New Testament research he accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist church, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina, where he built a fine new church edifice at a cost of about one hundred and thirty thousand dollars. In 1924 he came to Sylvester as pastor of the First Baptist Church. He has stimulated the congregation to greater activity in all of its departments and it is now one of the most active, aggressive, and prosperous religious societies in this section of the county. The church has a membership of four hundred, with a Sunday School of three hundred and seventy-five members. Its auxiliary societies include a fully graded Woman’s Missionary Union and a Baptist Young People’s Union. Rev. Baskin set the pace for his people and, and because of his earnest labor for the upbuilding of the church, his splendid ability and his genial nature, he has won an enviable standing among the representative residents of the community. As a speaker Mr. Baskin is eloquent, forceful, and convincing and he has proven a tremendous power for good in this locality where his ability and devotion are fully appreciated. He is a member of the Georgia Baptist Association, Moderator of the Mallary Association, and is a member of the Kiwanis Club at Sylvester, in which work he is deeply interested.

Rev. Baskin wedded Miss Mary P. Groom, of Kansas City, Missouri, daughter of Michael F. and Luttie (Chappell) Groom.

Mrs. Baskin was educated in the Kearny Public Schools and the Southern Baptist W.M.U. Training School at Louisville, where she met her future husband. After graduating she served as Secretary of the Missouri State Board of Missions for a period of two years. She has been to her husband a help-mate in the truest sense of the term, aiding him very materially in his pastoral work by her quiet charm, commendable tact and gracious personality. They are the parents of two children, Ernest L. Jr., and James Groom.

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Ray City, GA Women’s Hoops, 1934

Given public attitudes about women and sports, local school support for girl’s athletic teams in Ray City, GA seems downright progressive.  That progressive optimism was apparent in a 1934 Ray City ‘Booster’ article, which included information on the Ray City School.

Ray City, GA  has always taken pride in its athletic teams.  A Ray City School alumnus recalls the  hometown girl’s basketball team.

“We had a tremendous basketball team, and they’d win. They played basketball all over the county. There were a bunch of schools. I never played on the basketball team, but Edna Francis [Futch] did. Hazel Futch was one of their best players. That was in 1943. They just played on hard courts outside. Some of the places that they played had gyms. They didn’t build the gym at the Ray City School until after I left.”

1934 Ray City School - Girls Basketball Team (Left to Right) Front Row: Johnnie Sirmans, Grace Clements, Louise Paulk, Winona Holiday. Back Row: Helen DuBose, Clyde Carter, Jimmie Johnson, Helen Swindle, Virginia Studstill. Coach: Jesse Webb.

1934 Ray City School – Girls Basketball Team (Left to Right) Front Row: Johnnie Sirmans, Grace Clements, Louise Paulk, Winona Holiday. Back Row: Helen DuBose, Clyde Carter, Jimmie Johnson, Helen Swindle, Virginia Studstill. Coach: Jesse Webb.

While women’s basketball followed almost immediately upon the invention of the sport in1892, for many years there was strong resistance to women on the court.  The Women’s Sports Foundation gives this assessment of the opposition to women’s basketball in the 1930s.

As the game’s popularity grew, so did the backlash from educators concerned that the physical activity was unladylike, inappropriate and unhealthy. This seesaw battle of growth and resistance continued into the early ‘20s, but the balance shifted in 1923 when Lou Henry Hoover, head of Girl Scouts of America and wife of President Herbert Hoover, helped organize the Women’s Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation (WDNAAF). In 1925, the WDNAAF passed a resolution outlawing extramural competition, opposing gate-receipts, all travel for women’s games and all publicity of women’s sports. The National Association of Secondary School Principals supported the resolution and they, in turn, pressured high school sports associations to disband tournaments. By the mid-‘30s, competitive basketball at elementary, high school and college level in many states had all but disappeared.

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Martha Guthrie: Babe of the Indian Wars

Before her death Martha Guthrie, born amid the conflict of the Indian Wars of 1836-38 related the role of her family in that conflict. The Newbern homestead was located on the east bank of Five Mile Creek, perhaps about eight miles northeast of Ray City, GA.  This was probably somewhere in the present day vicinity of the Highway 168 bridge over Five Mile Creek.

Martha Newbern Guthrie was born April 10, 1836,  the daughter of Dred Newbern and Bettsy Sirmons. In the spring of that year, pioneers all across Wiregrass Georgia were facing increasing hostilities from the Native Americans who were being forced out of their ancestral lands.

The skirmish at William Parker’s place, on the Alapaha River about five miles east from the Newbern homestead, was a prelude to the Battle of Brushy Creek.

Here is Martha’s story, published many years ago, of the last Indian Fight in Berrien County:

    On the west side of the Alapaha River, six miles south of Bannockburn, on lot of land No. 201 in the 10th district of Berrien County, is a historic spring that is really entitled to be called Indian Spring, were it not that another spot in Georgia bears that name.
    On this lot of land in 1836 lived William Parker, who came to this section in search of a new home in new territory.  Four miles North and on lot No. 63 lived John Gaskins and his wife and four boys. Nearby lived William Peters and family.
    Four miles to the Southwest and on the East bank of Five Mile Creek lived Dred Newbern and his family (This [was later] known as the John Fender Place).
    William Gaskins lived further to the north where Bannockburn now is, while Harmon Gaskins lived west of the Parker Home five miles and on lot No. 172.  All this was then in Lowndes County.

Leaves for a Day

    One day in July 1836, William Parker had to be away from home, leaving his wife, small child and daughter, just entering her ‘teens, at home alone.  Mrs. Parker and her daughter did their washing down at the river bank at the spring mentioned above, and when the noon hour came they went back to the house some 300 yards distant to prepare and eat the noon-day meal. While so engaged they heard a noise down at the spring and on investigating were horrified to discover a band of Indians, dressed Indian fashion with headfeathers, assembled at the spring getting water.
    Hurriedly and cautiously Mrs. Parker sped back to the house and gathering up her baby, with her daughter, left quickly and set out to the west toward the home of Dryden Newbern.
    Arriving there she related what she had seen, as fast as her fright and exhaustion  would allow, for she had run every step of the way, and she was almost overcome with heat and fatigue.
    On learning this Mr. Newbern realized that the cause of their own experiences of the night before when the horses had become greatly frightened, snorting and breaking out of the horse lot and coming back the next morning.  It was supposed that they had become frightened at the sight of the Indians who were prowling around the neighborhood to steal.

Word Sent Out

  Quickly as possible, word was sent out by Mr. Newbern to his scattered neighbors.  The  women and children were gathered up and carried, some to Milltown  where they were placed in a strongly built gin house on the farm of Joshua Lee, while others were taken north to the home of John Marsh near where the S. B. Dorminey home is. A guard was left at each place for their protection and every able-bodied man that would be mustered returned to the Parker home and organized for action.
It was found that during the night the Indians had entered the homes of William Parker, Willis Peters and John Gaskins,  and finding no one at home proceeded to take out the feather beds, opened the ticks, emptied the feathers and appropriated the ticks.
They took other valuables including a shotbag from the Parker home containing his money,  a handsomely flowered pitcher from the Gaskins home, and other valuable articles which they thought they could carry.  They also obtained a small amount of sliver coins tied up in a rag from the Peters home.

Indians escape from first net

    Skirting the river on the West side and opposite the Parker home, is a hammocky swamp interspersed with spots of high ground and almost inaccessible to white men; and when the little band of white men arrived at the scene just after sunrise they could see the smoke of the Indian camp-fires rising in the center of the swamp.
William Peters was placed in command of the little band, because Capt. Levi J. Knight (in command of the militia at the time) had not arrived.  Orders were given to the men to entirely surround the Indian camp before firing a shot, if possible.
In the eagerness of the moment, however,  precautions were not observed and before the circle could be completed the Indians discovered the approach and opened fire; the whites returned the fire, and were horrified to see their leader, William Peters,  fall wounded through the front part of the abdomen by a bullet from a redskin gun.

Overtake Indians

    This so horrified and frustrated the whites until every Indian made his escape. As soon as the wounded man could be properly cared for and the whites being joined by others including Capt. Knight, gave pursuit and overtook the Indians while the last of the band was crossing the river, up near where the Withlacoochee bridge now stands, on the Nashville-Willacoochee road.
The whites pressed the Indians so hard and were so close in behind them until a portion of the plunder was thrown into the sloughs by the Indians, in order to allow swifter flight.
Among the articles thrown away were Mr. Parker’s shotbag containing his money, which was caught on a swinging limb and was suspended just under the water when found; the flowered pitcher taken from the Gaskin’s kitchen, and a shotgun (which was later sold for forty dollars),  also the small package of money taken from the Peters home, was found tied to a small bush under the water.  The river slough in which the pitcher was found has ever since been known as “Pitcher Slough.”
    The further progress of this band of Indians and their pursuers as they pushed their way through what is now Clinch county and the engagements near “Boggy Slough” and in which William Daughtry had a horse shot from under him and Barzilla Staten was dangerously wounded, is told by Folks Huxford in  his “History of Clinch County,” published in 1916.
The man who first discovered Mr. Parker’s shot bag containing his money was William Green Aikins.

Note–The forgoing episode was related to me by Mrs. Martha Guthrie, widow of Samuel Guthrie, and a daughter of Dred (or Dryden) Newbern and his wife, Elizabeth. Mrs. Guthrie was blind, but otherwise in full possession of all her faculties, and talked entertainingly of so many things that happened years ago.

The children of Martha Newbern and Samuel F. Guthrie:

  1. Lewis Guthrie  abt 1853 –
  2. Josephene Guthrie 1856 –
  3. Archibald Guthrie 1859 –
  4. Samuel Guthrie 1860 –
  5. Arren Horn Guthrie 1864 – 1932
  6. Dicey Guthrie 1866 – 1953
  7. James Berrien Guthrie 1868 – 1949
  8. Martha Guthrie 1870 –
  9. Linton Guthrie 1872 –
  10. Betty Guthrie 1874 –
  11. John Guthrie 1876 –
  12. Dread Guthrie 1879-

Everything is Illuminated in Ray City, GA

Swindle and Clements, one of the historic businesses of Ray City,  was one of the advertisers in the Jan 3, 1929 edition of the Ray City News.  An interesting note in the ad is the emphasis on “Shawinigan Carbide.”  Apparently it was one of their most important items, as the only other item specifically mentioned in the ad was Georgia Peanuts. Advertising this item shows just how little electricity had trickled down to the rural residents of Wiregrass Georgia in 1929.

Swindle and Clements 1929 newspaper advertisement from the Ray City News

Swindle and Clements 1929 newspaper advertisement from the Ray City News

What was Shawinigan Carbide?

Carbide lighting is a form of illumination that was used in rural and urban areas of the United States which were not served by electrification. Its use began before 1900 and continued past 1950. Carbide pellets  could be placed in specially constructed lamps that allowed  carefully controlled mixing with water. Wetting the carbide pellets released acetylene gas, which was then burned as the fuel for the lamp.  Alternately, the carbide could be placed  in a container outside the home, with water piped to the container and allowed to drip on the pellets creating the gas. This gas was then piped to lighting fixtures inside the house, where it was burned, creating a very bright flame. Carbide lighting was inexpensive but was prone to gas leaks and explosions.

The convenience of carbide power appealed to rural South Georgia residents like Jesse Shelby “Dock” Shaw, for whom electricity was inaccessible.  Doc Shaw’s place was situated on Possum Branch, near Ray City.  In an article titled Life on the Doc Shaw farm, granddaughter Gwen Shaw Watson wrote:

Grandpa Shaw was one of the first to have carbide lights. They were a step up from the oil lamps which were commonly used. Later, they had a refrigerator that ran on carbide.

Shawinigan Carbide was just one of the brand name carbide suppliers. Another, was Union Carbide:

Union Carbide advertisment, Farm Journal, 1910

Union Carbide advertisment, Farm Journal, 1910

JUST suppose, when company comes, you could pull a little chain and turn on a flood of light in a cluster of globes hanging from the parlor ceiling.

And suppose a little later you could pull another little chain and turn on a beautiful light in a colored dome hanging over the dining room table.

Pull still other chains and turn on lights in your bed rooms, your kitchen, or your cellar.

Pull another and fill your barn with light that would show up every hair, straw or buckle as plain as these things would show by daylight.

And suppose you made all the gas for these lights yourself, right on the place.

Made it so easy that the work required only fifteen minutes of your time once a month.

Make it so cheaply that the light costs you no more than kerosene.

And suppose you actually used this same home-made gas as fuel for cooking on hot days or when you are in a hurry.

In other words, suppose you had a little acetylene gas plant built for country home use.

A plant that would mean no more washing or breaking of chimneys— no soot or grease to fight with—no wicks to trim, no oil to spill or burn and no coal to store or handle.

Picture the advantages In your mind’s eye—stop and think of the safety, comfort, satisfaction and happiness it would bring to your family.

Do this and you will understand why it is that over one hundred and seventy-six thousand farm houses have been equipped with Acetylene gas to date. Consider also that these one hundred and seventy-six thousand country home owners simply followed the lead of over twenty million city people who have used gas so long that they don’t know what an oil lamp looks like.

Like these city friends, you wouldn’t keep

your oil lamps If city gas could be piped to your place, and this new rural gas, “Acetylene,” beats city gas all hollow in forty ways.

Unlike city gas, your Acetylene will not be poisonous to breathe—you can sleep all night In a room with an open burner with no injurious effects whatever.

Volume for volume, your Acetylene will give ten times more light than your city cousin gets from the best city gas.

Then when you use it as a fuel, your Acetylene will be delivered right in your cooking appliance, where it will supply heat on tap that you can regulate with a thumb screw.

The crushed stone you will use in making your Acetylene is known commercially as Union Carbide, and is sold at factory prices and shipped direct to you from the company’s own warehouse located In your district.

Union Carbide won’t burn—can’t explode, and will keep for years In any climate.

Once a month you will have to drop a few pounds of Union Carbide in one part and a few gallons of water in another part of a small tank-like machine that sets in your basement or in an out-bulldlng.

Genuine Acetylene is produced from just Union Carbide and plain water.

Won’t you let us tell you how little it will cost to make this wonderful light and fuel yourself for your home and all the other buildings on your place? Write us how many rooms yon have, and we will send you free some mighty interesting booklets and give you an estimate as to the cost of a machine and lighting fixtures suited to your requirements.

Just address UNION CARBIDE SALES COMPANY, Dept. C—, 161 Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ills.

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Checking on Citizens Bank of Ray City

Canceled checks drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City, Ray City, GA document some of the local businesses that Effie Guthrie Knight transacted with during 1927.

1927 check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City and made payable to Dr. Folsom.

1927 check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City and made payable to Dr. Folsom.

As the check above shows, Dr. George Hill Folsom came to Berrien County, GA some time prior to 1927. He established his home in Ray City where he engaged in general practice. A check in the amount of $1.00 might have been typical payment for an office visit in that time.

1927 check written by Effie Knight to C.O. Terry, and drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City.

1927 check written by Effie Knight to C.O. Terry, and drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City.

Written the same day as the previous check, this check to Ray City pharmacist, C. O. Terry,  may have been to fill a prescription written by Dr. George Hill Folsom.

Check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City in payment to G. M. Purvis, made out in the amount of two dollars and fifty cents, and signed by Effie Knight.

Check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City in payment to G. M. Purvis

Another check written by Effie Knight  is made out to G.M. Purvis.  Guy Marvin Purvis owned a general merchandise store in Ray City, GA.  Furthermore, he was Effie’s brother-in-law so naturally she’d be inclined to do business there.

 A check made out July 5, 1927 to G.V. Hardie in the amount of twelve dollars and seventy cents, and drawn on the account of Effie Knight at The Citizens Bank of Ray City.

A check made out July 5, 1927 to G.V. Hardie in the amount of twelve dollars and seventy cents, and drawn on the account of Effie Knight at The Citizens Bank of Ray City.

In the 1920s, Gordon Vancie Hardie opened up the first gas station in Ray City, GA. The check above may have been payment for service on Effie Knight’s car.


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