In a 1971 newspaper article, Henry A. Swindle, who was a lifelong resident of Ray City, GA, recalled how the town got its name. Henry was a boy when the town became incorporated in 1909. His father, Redding D. Swindle, served as the appointed mayor until the first elections could be held.
The first residents decided to hold a contest to select a new name for the town. Henry’s mother, Mary Etta Swindle, came up with the winning entry.
“She won $10,” he said, “for naming the town. There were many families around here named Ray, and since this was a thriving community, bigger then than Nashville or Lakeland, she thought Ray City would be a good name. It was formerly Ray’s Mill.
“There was a sawmill and lumber mill here that employed about 300 people and a big cotton gin that baled lost of cotton. Ray City was growing fast then, I was a good, big boy then and I’m 74 now. But Nashville was the county seat, and that town outgrew Ray City finally.”
Children of Mary Etta and Redding D. Swindle:
- Eula Swindle, born 1887; married Lawrence Cauley Hall
- Rozzie P Swindle, born 1889–
- Matie Swindle, born 1890–
- Daisy Swindle, born 1894–
- Henry Alexander Swindle, born 1897; married Ora Kathleen Knight
- Myrtle J Swindle, born 1900–
- Dewey L Swindle, born 1903–
Henry A. Swindle took a job as bookkeeper for J.J. Parks, who operated a grist mill and ginnery in Ray City and a farm in Alapaha. Henry married Ora Kathleen Knight, daughter of Sullivan J. Knight and Eliza Allen. He became a strong supporter of the Ray City Methodist Church and served on the Ray City School board.
- 1929 Merchants Support Ray City News
- In 1934 Ray City was ‘Noted Section’ of Berrien County
- Ray City School 1934
- A Brief History of the Ray City Methodist Church
- James Henry Swindle ~ Businessman and Public Servant