Mary Swindle Won $10 in Contest to Choose Name of Ray City

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.

Henry Alexander Swindle, son of R. D. and Mary Etta Swindle, orn September 15, 1897. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation www.berriencountyga.com

Henry Alexander Swindle, son of R. D. and Mary Etta Swindle, orn September 15, 1897. Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw and the Berrien Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com

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:

  1. Eula Swindle, born 1887; married Lawrence Cauley Hall
  2. Rozzie P Swindle, born 1889–
  3. Matie Swindle, born 1890–
  4. Daisy Swindle, born 1894–
  5. Henry Alexander Swindle, born 1897; married Ora Kathleen Knight
  6. Myrtle J Swindle, born 1900–
  7. 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.

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1 Comment

  1. February 3, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    […] Mary Swindle Won $10 in Contest to Choose Name of Ray City (raycityhistory.wordpress.com) […]


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