Boys Lost in the Swamp

In 1906 two young men, William Franklin “Frank” Shaw and Ben Giddens, wandered into the South Georgia swamp. When it got late and the skies turned stormy the Shaw family, many of whom lived and worked in the Ray City vicinity, mobilized to search for the boys.  (Bryan Shaw, of the Berrien Historical Foundation, has written about his family history in the newsletter, Family of Francis Marion Shaw.)

The Valdosta Times
June 23, 1906

BOYS LOST IN THE SWAMP.

Cat Creek Lads Go Hunting and Failed to Return.

Frank Shaw and Ben Giddens Followed a Rabbit Into a Swamp and Were Unable to Find Their Way Out

Cat Creek, Ga., June 20 – Last Tuesday afternoon Frank Shaw, aged 15, son of Mr. B. F. Shaw, and Ben Giddens, another boy about the same age left their homes to go to the swamp nearby to gather huckleberries. The dogs that followed the boys treed a rabbit in the swamps, which is a bad place and the boys decided to go in the swamp and get the rabbit, when to their great surprise they found themselves lost.     The night was a dark and stormy one and the trees and limbs were falling in every direction.  The boy’s parents became alarmed by the boys failing to show up and they decided to go in search of them.     Messrs. B. F. Shaw and two sons, F. M. Shaw, Bobbie Taylor, John Shaw, W. B. Parrish, Frank Allen, J. S. Shaw, Brodie and Bruner Shaw, all went in search of the missing boys, some going in every direction.  The dogs that accompanied the boys did not come home, which brought great relief to the boy’s parents who realized that if the boys were either drowned or killed the dogs would have returned home.    The boys managed to find their way out of the swamps and got back to their homes about 11 o’clock, completely tired out.

Fortunately, on this day everyone returned safely to their homes.  Both Frank Shaw and Ben Giddens  would later call Ray City home. Frank Shaw, like many of the Shaw family children, attended school at King’s Chapel.

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1 Comment

  1. Bryan Shaw said,

    September 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    First I have heard of this event. B.F. (Beauregard Franklin) Shaw was the son of Richard James Shaw, and grandson of Jeremiah Shaw, Jr. Richard’s brother Francis Marion Shaw was one of the search party. His son, Jesse Shelby “Dock” Shaw was also part of the search party. Dock Shaw would later become a Berrien County Commissioner. F.M. Shaw’s son in law, W. Bartow Parrish was in the search party. He was the father of Essie Parrish Giddens, wife of Lyman Giddens a long time citizen and former Mayor, City Clerk, City Councilman, and Justice of the Peace in Ray City. Frank Allen, and Brodie and Bruner Shaw were Grandchildren of Francis Marion. Frank, 20 years old at the time of the search, was the son of John Allen and later became a policeman in Nashville for a number of years. Bruner, 18 years old at the time of the search, would become a Berrien County Deputy Sheriff, Ray City Marshal, Chief of Police in Alapaha, Haines City, Florida and Frostproof, Florida. Bruner was my Grandfather.


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