In August 1919, the General Assembly of Georgia passed an act to place an amendment to the Georgia Constitution creating Lanier County on the ballot for the November 1920 general elections. But in 1920, as the election approached, there was strenuous objection from the Ray City area. Many citizens who were well associated with the history of Ray City found that their property would be on the Lanier side of the new county line, including such family names as Giddens, Clements, Swindle, Sirmans and others. Desiring to remain in Berrien county, these land owners, led by A.W. Gaskins, filed a motion with the courts to stop the vote on the constitutional amendment that would create the new county.
Sep 2, 1920
COURT IS ASKED TO BAR CREATION OF LANIER COUNTY
Hearing on a permanent injunction brought by citizens of Berrien county to restrain Governor Dorsey from advertizing, as required by law, the proposed constitutional amendment creating the new county of Lanier, was set for September 11, in the Fulton superior court, by Judge John D. Humphries, following a short hearing on a temporary injunction on the same petition, which was denied by Judge Humphries.
The bill was filed by Attorneys R.A. Hendricks, James A. Alexander and W.D. Biue, of Berrien county, and Bryan and Middlebrooks, of Atlanta. The petitioning citizens are as follows:
A.U. Gaskins, A.H. Giddens, H.C. Clements, R.D. Swindle, John Sirmans, Raygood Lankford, S.S. Watson, L.S. Sirmans, Mrs. Rachel Postick, W.L. Rouse, John C. Sirmans, J.B. Baskins, J.W. Bloodworth, J.J. Porke, Leo Griner, J.H.Patten. S.H. Winderweedles, W.C. Johnson, Mrs. Martha Clements, A.J. Clements, Levi J. Clements, L. J. Clements, Jr., Bud Watson, Bryant Avers, J. L. Lee, Jasper J. Cook, L.S. Simms, J.H. Clements, J. P. Watson, D. Harrell, R.S. Johnson and John Boyett.
This action was taken to prevent the submission to the voters in the general election in November of the question of the creation of Lanier county, and the petition asks that Governor Dorsey be enjoined from issuing a proclamation authorizing the vote, and that Secretary of State S. Guyt McLendon be restrained from announcing the result of any vote on the question; and that the state superintendent of printing be restrained from printing a proclamation by the governor.
The petitioners claim that the promoters of Lanier county made a written and signed agreement with the affected property owners of Berrien county as to the part of Berrien county that would be in Lanier county; that the agreement was violated without their knowledge and consent, so that 9,540 additional acres of land, valued at $150,000, was taken into the county. The petitioning citizens represent this extra land, and declare that they did not want to be taken into the new county.
The petitioners request for an injunction was denied. They appealed all the way to the Georgia Supreme court where they lost in the case of GASKINS et al v. DORSEY, Governor, et al. The Amendment issue went ahead in November, and the constitutional amendment to create Lanier county was passed by the voters.
The petitioners, this time led by Dr. H.W. Clements, then filed for an injunction to stop the first election of officers in the newly created county, but that too, failed. While Clements and others appealed to a higher court, the election was held as scheduled on the first Wednesday in December 1920.
Not to be deterred, Dr. Clements and others again pursued the appeal of two cases all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court, CLEMENTS el al v. WILKERSON et al and CLEMEMENTS et al v. ANDERSON et al, in an attempt to nullify the creation of the new county.
But in the end the Georgia Supreme court ruled that any decision was moot since the election of county officers had already been held and the case was dismissed.
All challenges aside, Georgia voters approved the constitutional amendment on Nov. 2, 1920, which marks the official date of the creation of Lanier County.
- Lakeland Newlyweds Killed in Auto Smashup at Ray City
- Ray City/Adel Boys Wreck Automobile Near Sparks, GA
- Homer Clements and the Ford Fracture
- Levi J. Clements
- WWI Boom for Clements Lumber Company at Ray City, GA
- Ray City Citizens Fought Creation of Lanier County