James Henry “Jim” Gaskins (1872 – 1928), mason, elected official, and son of a prominent Wiregrass family, served for about 3o years as a clerk of the Superior Court of Berrien County, GA.
Born October 24, 1872, James Henry “Jim” Gaskins came from a long line of Gaskins who were pioneer settlers of the Berrien County, GA area. Born and raised in Berrien County, he was a son of the Reverend Fisher H. Gaskins and Pollie Gaskins.
In 1900, Jim Gaskins was enumerated in the Connell’s Mill District, Georgia Militia District 1329, near Ray City, GA. At age 29, he was living in his parents household and was employed as the deputy clerk of the Berrien Superior Court.
Jim Gaskins’ father died in 1905. Sometime before the census of 1910, Jim and his widowed mother moved to Nashville, GA where they lived in a home on Dennis Street. Gaskins continued to serve as deputy clerk of the Superior Court of Berrien County.
On Thursday, September 2, 1915 James Henry Gaskins married Charity Maybelle “Belle” Strickland in Berrien County, GA. The ceremony was performed by the Justice of the Peace, J. H. Hull.
With the onset of World War I in 1917, James Henry Gaskins was appointed as clerk of the Berrien County Exemption Board. Administration of the selective draft was entrusted to local boards, composed of leading civilians in each community. These boards, known as Exemption Boards, issued draft calls in order of numbers drawn in a national lottery and determined exemptions for dependency, essential occupations, or conscientious objection. Gaskins was dismissed from the Exemption Board in December, 1917 after he became embroiled in a scandal over reward money for capture of a draft dodger. He continued, however to hold his position in the clerk’s office of the Superior Court.
In 1919, a sizable transaction over the timber rights of the Gaskins family land was noted in state newspapers.
The Atlanta Constitution
December 16, 1919
SALE OF TIMBER SETS RECORD IN VALDOSTA
Valdosta, Ga., December 15.– (Special.) The sale of saw mill and turpentine privileges on the Fisher H. Gaskins lands in Berrien county, which has just been consummated, establishes a record price for timber and disposes of one of the finest of the few bodies of round timber now left in the state. The lands in question are located a few miles northwest of Nashville, 8,000 acres covered with magnificent long-leaf yellow pine which has never been worked by turpentine or saw mill men.
Willis & Norman, turpentine operators who have been located for some time at Mineola in this county, bought the Gaskins lands, paying $200,000 for the saw mill and turpentine rights on the 8,000 acres. It is understood that Willis and Norman will begin operation on the tract as soon as possible, working the timber for naval stores first. It will require about three years’ time to complete the turpentine operations, after which a large saw mill will be built, probably at Nashville, to cut the merchantable timber on the tract.
By 1920 Jim Gaskins was elected Clerk of Berrien County. He and Belle, and their young family were in the house on Dennis Street in Nashville, GA. Boarding next door were former Ray City residents, Dr. Guy Selman, and his wife Bessie.
Jim Gaskins died in the summer of 1928 while still serving as Clerk of the Superior Court of Berrien County, GA. Lilla Gaskins Whiddon was appointed to serve as Clerk until an election could be called.
The Atlanta Constitution
July 11, 1928
To Elect Clerk.
Valdosta, Ga., July 10. — Voter of Berrien county will select a successor to J. H. Gaskins, clerk of the superior court, on September 12, the same date as the state primary.
The death of Mr. Gaskins last week was followed by the appointment of Mrs. Lilla Gaskins Whiddon as acting clerk until an election could be called.
The executive committee, after considering the matter , decided upon September 12 as the date and fixed July 20 as the date for closing the entries and a fee of $25 is charged for each candidate.
- John Gaskins ~ Berrien Cattleman
- Sarah Knight Gaskins ~ Confederate Widow
- OTRANTO SUNK IN COLLISION
- J. H. Gaskins and the Draft Board Scandal
- A Christmas Pickle for Berrien County
- Me and Mrs. Jones: Harmon Gaskins Had A Thing Going On – Twice
- Constitution of New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church
- Memorial to Levi J. Gaskins
- Portrait of Hardeman Giddens and Martha Gaskins