Joe Spell and the Big Tree

A 1943 brochure proclaimed:

Way back before Columbus discovered America, yes, even before our Saviour was born, probably back in the days of King Tut, 3500 years ago, a little Cypress tree started reaching for the sky and sending its roots into the soil of Central Florida.  And through all the years of Spanish, British and American colonization stood this majestic Cypress, known as the BIG TREE: 125 feet high, 47 feet around at the base, with a diameter of 17 1/2 feet.  It is Florida’s principal rival of Giant California Redwoods, supposed to be the oldest and largest tree of its kind in the United States, and is now one of the most popular sight-seeing spots in Florida.

The old Cypress had become a tourist attraction before the dawn of the 20th century, visited by President Coolidge in 1929, and generations of Americans since. In 1946, Ray City residents Joseph John “Joe” Spell and his second wife, Matilda Augusta “Della” Richardson, visited the old giant.

Joseph John "Joe" Spell and Matilda Augusta "Della" (Richardson) Spell visit the Big Tree at Longwood, FL, 1946.

Joseph John “Joe” Spell and Matilda Augusta “Della” (Richardson) Spell visit the Big Tree at Longwood, FL, 1946.

For perhaps 3600 years, the big tree stood in a Florida swamp near present day town of Longwood. Towering to 165 feet before a 1926 hurricane clipped its top, it was once the tallest tree east of the Mississippi River. It was a landmark for Native Americans and Seminole Indians who occupied Central Florida.

1943 Pamphlet, "The Giant Cypress in Big Tree Park"

1943 Pamphlet, “The Giant Cypress in Big Tree Park”

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Big Tree, Longwood, FL.  postcard circa 1944.

Big Tree, Longwood, FL. postcard circa 1944.

Epilogue:

ABC NEWS
February 29, 2012

Florida Woman Admits to Burning Down 3,500 Year Old Tree

Twenty-six-year-old Sara Barnes was arrested in Seminole County, Fla., after she admitted to setting fire to one of the oldest trees in the world.

The 118-foot, 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree,  located in Big Tree Park in Longwood, Fla., mysteriously burned to the ground on Jan. 16, 2012.

The Department of Forestry suspected foul play at first, but the fire was treated as an accident until crime line tips led them Barnes.

Full Story…

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Minnie Gordon Sloan Married Meritt E. Johnson

Minnie Gordon Sloan was a daughter of  Ray’s Mill farmer James M. Sloan and Martha Gordon Sloan, born July 17, 1876. She married Meritt (or Merritt) E. Johnson on January 17, 1904 in Berrien County, GA.  Meritt Johnson was born January 22, 1878 in Berrien County, GA and raised in Rays Mill (later Ray City), GA.  He was a son of James R. Johnson (born February 1, 1858 in Johnson County, NC; died May 17, 1928 in Lakeland, Lanier County, GA) and Mary Elizabeth (Truett) Johnson (born July 7, 1848 in Jackson County, MS; married April 1, 1874 in Berrien County, GA; died June 6, 1915 in Lakeland, GA); he  was a brother of James Randall Johnson, subject of previous posts.

Marriage certificate of Merritt E. Johnson and Minnie Gordon Sloan, January 17, 1904, Berrien County, GA.

Marriage certificate of Merritt E. Johnson and Minnie Gordon Sloan, January 17, 1904, Berrien County, GA.

After marriage, Minnie and Meritt made their home on Main Street in Lakeland, GA, where they maintained their residence for many years.

According to  Georgia’s Official Register, 1937, Meritt E. Johnson was a product of local Berrien County schools and studied law on his own at home.  He taught school for five years before being admitted to the bar. He was a Baptists, Mason, Odd Fellow, Knight of Pythias, Woodmen of the World, and member of the Farmers’ Union. From 1901 to 1908 he served as Justice of the Peace. From  1904-1908 he was on the Berrien County Board of Education, and from 1910 to 1916 he was a school trustee in the Knight school district. In politics he was a democrat; he served as city councilman in Lakeland from 1919 to 1926 and as city recorder form 1929-1931.  He was solicitor in the Lanier County Court from August 15, 1929 to August 15, 1933 , and again from August 15, 1935  to August 15, 1937.

Census records attest that  Meritt wasn’t always so bookish.  In 1910 census of Milltown, GA, he was working as a carpenter, building houses. In 1920, he was a barber, working on his own account in his own shop.  Some time before 1930, son Julian A. Johnson took over the barbershop, and Meritt Johnson entered legal practice in Lakeland.

Children of Minnie Gordon Sloan and Merritt E. Johnson:

  • Blanche Estelle Johnson, born November 4, 1904, attended Georgia State Womens College –
  • Julian Aubrey Johnson, born October 15, 1907
  • Hoke Smith Johnson, born May 28, 1910

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Ida Sloan Ray Endorsed Doan’s Pills

In the age of patent medicines, ailments of all sorts were were attributed to poor health of various internal organs.  To the citizens of Wiregrass, GA and the rest of the world,  The manufacturers of Doan’s Pills declared the key to good heath was treating the kidneys:

     The headaches and dizzy feelings that trouble so many persons, are often but symptoms of kidney complaint.
      Kidney diseases are very treacherous. They come on. silently, gain ground rapidly, and cause thousands’ of deaths that could have been’ prevented by treatment in the beginning.  Nature gives early warnings of every disease. If you would but note and heed them. Backache, twinges of pain when stooping or lifting, headaches, faint spells and urinary disorders are among the first warnings of kidney trouble. If these signals are unheeded, there comes a steady, dull, heavy aching In the back and loins, a noticeable weakness and loss of flesh, rheumatic at tacks, weakening of the sight. Irregular heart action, languor,  attacks of gravel, irregular passages of the kidney secretions, sediment, painful, scalding sensation, dropsical bloating, etc.
      But there is no need to suffer long. Doan’s Kidney Pills cure all kidney troubles. This remedy has made a reputation for quick relief and lasting cures. It is a simple compound of pure roots and herbs that have a direct action, on the kidneys. It was given to the public by James Doan, a druggist, and is now known and recommended the whole world over.

Doan's Kidney Pills

Doan’s Kidney Pills

At the time, kidney function was poorly understood, and  renal diseases were lumped into a general condition called Bright’s disease.  Little science was employed in backing the claims of patent drug manufacturers. Instead, they relied upon the testimonials of local citizens to hawk their products.

One such testimonial was provided by Ida Sloan Ray, and between 1909 and 1911 newspaper readers  were apt to see her endorsement of Doan’s Kidney Pills published in The Waycross Journal.

Ida Sloan (1867 – 1930) was a daughter of Martha Susan Gordon and James Murray Sloan  , and sister of Dr. William Sloan.  At a very early age she came with her parents to Ray’s Mill, Berrien County, GA where she grew to womanhood.  She married James David Ray, son of  Ray’s Mill founder Thomas M. Ray, and  the couple made their home in various south Georgia towns.  The census of 1910 shows they were living in a rented home on Jane Street, Waycross, GA.

Waycross Journal, Aug. 26, 1910

Waycross Journal, Aug. 26, 1910


The Waycross Journal
August 26, 1910

HOUSEHOLD CARES

Tax the Women of Waycross the Same as Elsewhere

    Hard to attend to household duties with a constantly aching back.
    A woman should not have a bad back.
    And she wouldn’t if the kidneys were well.
    Doan’s Kidney Pills make well kidneys.
    Here is a Waycross woman who endorses this claim:
    Mrs. J. D. Ray, 33 Jane St.. Waycross, Ga.  My back ached so severely at times that I could not get about to attend to my housework.  It was almost impossible for me to get up or down stairs, as every move I made sent twinges through my body.  I could not rest well and as the result felt miserable during the day.  The kidney secretions were unnatural and proved that my kidneys were at fault.  The contents of one box of Doan’s Kidney Pills, procurred from Seals Pharmacy, gave me more relief and in a shorter time than anything I had previously used.  I am now free from backache and feel like a different person.  I have told several of my friends about the great benefit I have received from Doan’s Kidney Pills.”
    For sale by all dealers.  Price 50 cents.  Foster-Millburn Co., Buffalo, New York, sole agents for the United States.
    Remember the name – Doan’s
and take no other.

According to snippets of history published in company advertisements, in 1832 the formulation of Doan’s Pills “was the secret…of an old Quaker lady,” and “was kept a secret for years in a good old Quaker family.  The neighbors all knew about it and many a time had reason to be thankful for its existence.  Its fame spread and strangers who heard about it wrote for information concerning it, sometimes tried its virtues, and sometimes put a trial off for a more convenient season.”  “It was given to the public by James Doan, a druggist, and is now known and recommended the whole world over.” “James Doan was a great Doctor who lived in a town called Kingsville, in Canada, in North America. Sick people took journeys of many days to go to see him, and to get his medicine. He was a doctor who excelled in his neighborhood, because he prepard his medicine with his own hands, so he knew it was well prepared, and good.  He used to make it with shrubs, and roots, and herbs, which he gathered in the woods and veld near his home. He made many kinds of medicine; but the most excellent is that which is called Doan’s Backache Kidney Pills.” “To tell how it was dragged from an obscure country village and placed before the general public would be interesting reading, but lack of space compels us to withhold the particulars.”

Aunty Rogers, The Quakeress, inventor of Doan's Pills formula. 1907 ad from a New Zealand newspaper.

Aunty Rogers, The Quakeress, inventor of Doan’s Pills formula. 1907 ad from a New Zealand newspaper.

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J. M. Sloan Dies after Throw From Horse

James Murray Sloan came to the Ray's Mill, GA neighborhood in 1871. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

James Murray Sloan came to the Ray’s Mill, GA neighborhood in 1871. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

James Murray Sloan, a son of David and Diadema Sloan, was born Jan. 18, 1833 in Duplin County, N.C.,  J. M. Sloan and his wife, Martha Susan Gordon,  removed from North Carolina to Mississippi for a brief stay, then to Echols Co., Ga.; thence to Berrien County, GA in 1871 where J.M. Sloan engaged in farming.  A number of Duplin County, NC families had relocated in the 1850s to that portion of Lowndes County which was cut into Berrien County in 1856. Among these Duplin transplants were William J. Lamb, James Carroll, Jesse Carroll, William Godfrey, Andrew J. Liles, William Best, James W. Dixon, and Robert Rouse. James Dobson brought his family and slaves, Peter McGowan and Richard McGowan believed to be among them. William Hill Boyett, John Bostick, Treasy Boyett Bostick and Mary C. Bostick came from Duplin to Berrien in the mid-century, and A few years later, Jessie Bostick also removed from Duplin County to the area.  Many of these settled in the area between present day  Ray City and Lakeland, GA (then called Allapaha).

County property tax records for 1873  show J. M. Sloan paid a poll tax in Berrien County that year but  listed no taxable property in his name.  The 1874 tax records show an assessment on  household and kitchen furniture valued at $10, $25 in plantation and mechanical tools, and $166 in ‘other property,’ but no real estate.  By 1875 J. M. Sloan had acquired 245 acres in lot 450, 1144 GMD, in the 10th district, about a mile outside of present day Ray City, GA,  valued at $400 and had $145 in ‘other property.’  Portions of adjoining Land Lots 422, 423, 451, and 452 in the 10th land district  were owned jointly by William Roberts and T.M. Ray, founder of Ray’s Mill, GA. (see Thomas M Ray Founded Ray’s Mill in 1863)

1869 Berrien County Map detail showing location of land lot # 450.

1869 Berrien County Map detail showing location of land lot # 450.

The 1876 tax records show  James M. Sloan listed as “agent for wife,”   with 242  acres in lot 450, 10th district valued at $250.  At that time he had  $50 household and kitchen furniture;  $115 in horses, mules, hogs, sheep, cattle, etc.; and  $9 in plantation & mechanical tools.

He was faring about the same in 1877, still on the same acreage in lot 450, now with  $60 household and kitchen furniture, pianos, organs, etc;  $142 in horses, mules, hogs, sheep, cattle, etc.; and  $41 in plantation & mechanical tools.  His total estate was valued at $493.

Neighbors were William E. Langford with 60 acres and  John B. Gaskins with 100 acres on the same land lot 450;  Jethro Patten on Lot 449; John G & Mary Knight on portions of Lot 450 and 451. Barney B. Chism on Lot 426; William A. Bridges on portions of Lot 470 and 471; and 471 Robert Woodard on lot 471. Neighbor Jonathan D. Knight , who was on portions of Lots 424, 425, 450 and 451, was a signer of the 1877 Georgia Constitution. Another neighbor was John Thomas Clower, Doctor of Ray’s Mill, on a small farm in lot 424.

The 1880 tax records show James M. Sloan was the liquor dealer at Rays Mill.

In 1890 the Berrien County tax digest shows the Sloans were still on their 242 acre farm on Lot 450 in the 10th Land District, now valued at $500.

Neighbors in 1890 still included John B. Gaskins on Lot 450 and John G. Knight on portions of Lots 424, 450 and 451; Redding D. Swindle on portions of Lot 423 and 424;  Mary A. Ray  and Texas E Ray on portions of Lot 423 and 424; James A. Knight on portions of Lot 471; Elizabeth E. Knight on portions of Lots 424, 450, and 451; Walter H. Knight on Lot 426; Louis L. Knight on portions of Lot 451;  Joseph E. Langford on a portion of Lot 450; portions of Lots 424 and 449 belonged to John T. Higgs; Barney B. Chism on Lots 426 and 427; James M. Baskin on Lots 470 and 471.

In 1894, The Tifton Gazette reported the demise of  James M. Sloan, his death occurring on November 20, 1894.

The Tifton Gazette
Nov. 30, 1894 — page 1

Mr. J. M. Sloan, a thrifty farmer of Rays Mill neighborhood, died on Tuesday of last week.  He fell from his horse some time ago, from which he sustained injuries that produced death.  He was a native North Carolinian, but a resident of Georgia for quite a quarter of a century.

James Murray Sloan died after being thrown from a horse.

James Murray Sloan died after being thrown from a horse.

His widow, Martha Gordon Sloan, continued to reside  in the Rays Mill District.  The census of 1900 shows  she owned the family farm, free and clear of mortgage, which she worked on her own account, with the assistance of farm laborer Charlie Weaver.

Martha Gordon Sloan, wife of James Murray Sloan. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Martha Gordon Sloan, wife of James Murray Sloan. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Children of Martha Susan Gordon and James Murray Sloan:

  1. John Fisher Sloan 1858 – 1930
  2. Emma Jane Sloan 1859 – 1871
  3. Mary Ann Sloan 1861 – 1863
  4. Sarah Virginia Sloan 1864 – 1944
  5. Martha Ida Letitia Sloan 1867 – 1930
  6. Susan Evelyn Sloan 1870 – 1940
  7. Catherine Diademma Sloan 1872 – 1901
  8. Celia Frances Sloan 1874 – 1895
  9. Fannie Sloan 1874 –
  10. Minnie Gordon Sloan 1876 – 1904
  11. William David Sloan 1879 – 1935
Graves of James Murray Sloan and Martha Susan Gordon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Graves of James Murray Sloan and Martha Susan Gordon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Related posts:

Around Rays Mill ~ June 10, 1911

Around Ray’s Mill

1911-jun-10-valdosta-times-rays-mill

Valdosta Times
June 10, 1911

Around Ray’s Mill

School Closed on Friday  –  Interesting Personal Notes.

The Ray’s Mill school, after a very successful term, closed on Friday June 2.  The patrons feel that the school has been a success and give Prof. and Mrs. Patten the praise of being very good teachers.  The school would have closed sooner, but had to vacate a week on account of measles.
Prof. J. L. Courson of Hahira will teach a ten day’s old-time singing school at Ray’s Mill beginning on the First Monday in June, after which he will teach a music school.  We hope to have a large attendance.
Rev. R. P. Fain is holding a tent meeting here now.  He began Saturday, holding his first service Saturday evening.  Miss McCord, who is just from the Kansas City training school, lectured Sunday afternoon.  They had three services on Sunday but only two in the week, at four o’clock in the afternoon and 7:30 in the evening.
There was quite a crowd out Sunday afternoon to hear Miss McCord’s lecture.  She is a noble Christian worker.
Little John Arthur Yarborough happened to a painful accident last week on his way to school.  He cut his foot on a piece of broken bottle on the railroad.  He went on to the school but when he reached the school house he came near fainting.  He teacher sent for the doctor and he was taken home at once.  He can’t walk yet, but we hope he will soon be able to go back to school.
The Luckie Lumber Co. have started up their planing mill here.
Misses Ada and Eula Starling gave an entertainment one night last week in honor of the cousin, Miss Pearl Hardie.  Miss Hardie returned to her home in Hahira Monday.
Miss Pearl Barfield is visiting her sister, Mrs. Norman Starling, for a while.
Mr. Lester Starling and Mr. Gordon Hardie spent Sunday in Bemis.
Miss Neta Bradford, of Valdosta, with a number of Cat Creek people, was out at church Sunday evening.
Miss Mary Simmons, of the King’s Chapel district, visited her sister, Mrs. R. R. Moore Sunday.
Mrs. Hardie, of Hahira, is visiting the family of Mr. W. H. E. Terry this week.
We regret very much to say that Mrs. W. H. E. Terry of Ray’s Mill is very sick.  She has been sick a little over a week and she is very low, but we trust she will recover.

Notes:

  • Neta Bradford was a student at Kings Chapel School in 1905 and attended Norman Institute in 1906

 

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Levi J. Knight ~ Settling Lowndes County 1827-1836

  1. Wayne County Beginnings 1803-1827
  2. Settling Lowndes County 1827-1836
  3. Seminole Wars 1836 – 1842
  4. Antebellum Wiregrass 1843 -1860
  5. Civil War 1861-1865
  6. Wiregrass Reconstruction 1866-1870

Settling in Lowndes County

About 1827 Levi J. Knight and his new bride Ann Herrin Clements homesteaded  on land on Beaverdam Creek, near the present day site of Ray City, GA.  In their first year on Beaverdam Creek, the Knights established a household and prepared to begin a family.

The Knight homestead was situated in Lowndes County (present day Berrien County).  When the first Superior Court in Lowndes County was convened at Sion Hall’s Inn on the Coffee Road, Levi J. Knight served as foreman of the Grand Jury. At that time, the only post office in Lowndes County (which then encompassed present day Lowndes, Berrien, Cook, Brooks, Lanier, and parts of Tift, Colquitt, and Echols counties) was  at the home of Daniel McCranie on the newly opened Coffee Road.   When Franklinville, GA became the first town in Lowndes County in 1828, the post office was moved there.  Located west of the Withlacoochee River about 9 miles southwest of the Knight property, Franklinville served as the first county seat of Lowndes County and a courthouse of hewn logs was constructed there at a cost of $215. According to Huxford’s “Sketch of the Early History of Lowndes County, Georgia“, Franklinville was a small trading community of one or two stores and a few houses. Hamilton W. Sharpe, a fellow Whig, regarded Franklinville a place of intemperance. Settlers in Lowndes County did most of their trading at Tallahassee, St. Marks or Newport, Florida, or traveled to Centerville on the St. Marys River.

In 1829, Levi  was Justice of the Peace for the 658th District, Lowndes County:

Digest of Georgia, 1837.  Establishment of election districts in Lowndes County, GA

Digest of Georgia, 1837. Establishment of election districts in Lowndes County, GA

Election Districts and Elections. Courts and elections to be held at the house of Sion Hall,  1825, vol. iv. 128 –  Removed to the house of Francis Roundtree, 1826, vol. iv. 134 –  Elections in the  15th district to be held at the house of Daniel Burnett; in the 16th, at the house of Silas Overstreet, 1828, vol. iv. 179 –  At Jesse Goodman’s, the place of justices’ courts in Capt. Williams’ district; at Sion Hall’s, the place of justices’ courts in Capt. Pike’s district; at John Townsend’s, being the court ground in Studhill’s district; at Levi Knight’s, the court place in Knight’s district; at Lewis Roberts’, the justices’ court place in Johnson’s district; and at Mr. Davis’, in Cowart’s district, 1829, vol. iv. 185—One dollar to the presiding magistrate for attending at the court-house to consolidate the returns, 1829, vol. iv. 409

Levi J. Knight received power of attorney from his father-in-law, William Clements, of Wayne County, on 19 Nov. 1830, “to appear for him in the Courts in Alabama and to sue for and collect all demands he has against Angus McDonald…” Angus McDonald had served as deputy clerk of the superior court of Wayne County. Georgia.  On December 24, 1822 William Clements had put up surety on the $1000 bond of Angus McDonald, guardian of Sidney Pilcher who was the orphan of Harriet Burney. Apparently, Clements had to make good on the surety, and he wanted Levi J. Knight to get his money back.

Ann gave birth to their first son,  William Washington Knight in 1829. Three more children were born over the next three years; Elizabeth (1830), John G. (1832), and Sarah (1833). During this period Levi J. Knight served out  his term (1829-1833) as Justice of the Peace, and returned to his experience as a surveyor, again mapping lands the state had gained from the Indians. As the state surveyor of Cherokee lands, Section 3, District 13, he took field notes  recording the distances and points demarcating the district and land lots, land features, roads, and watercourses. These field notes, along with those of other surveyors, were conducted prior to the distribution of lands in the 1832 Land Lotteries in Georgia.

Career in Public Service
“Levi, J. Knight, a planter of Berrien County…held several county offices; for a number of years he represented the county and was senator from his district in the general assembly.”
“He was commissioned a justice of the peace of the 658th district of Lowndes County in 1829, and served until 1832, when he was elected State senator from Lowndes County. He was again elected justice of the peace and commissioned October 15th, 1838. He served again as senator through the sessions of 1834-35 and 1837 to 1841. In 1845 he was again elected justice of the peace and served four years. In 1851 he was elected State senator from the 5th district, which then included Berrien County, and served through the session of 1851-52.”
Levi J. Knight was Sheriff of Wayne County (1824), Justice of the Peace of Lowndes County (1829-1833), State Senator from Lowndes County (1832, 1834, 1837, 1841). He was Senator from 5th District (1851-1856). He was Justice of the Berrien Inferior Court 1861, and a Delegate to the State Constitutional Convention in 1868.
Levi J. Knight or one of his sons occupied a seat in the Georgia General Assembly for a period of forty years.

 Levi J. Knight was elected to the State Assembly as  Senator from Lowndes County in 1832 and 1834.  It was in this time that the Whig Party was rising against what was seen as executive excesses of “King Andrew” Jackson.  The Whigs favored national development and over time built an unlikely coalition of  anti-slavery, pro-slavery, and anti-masonic supporters. Levi J. Knight became a strong supporter of the Whig party and served as the Lowndes delegate to the Whig state conventions on several occasions.

In 1835, Levi J. Knight gave the Forth of July oration at the county courthouse at Franklinville to a large crowd and enthusiastic crowd, “We have come up on the jubilee of our country’s liberty, to honor the day that gave birth to the greatest republic in the world.”  The celebration was followed by a banquet with a round of regular toasts to Washington, Jefferson, LaFayette, and to former Georgia Governor, George Michael Troup, as well as some to denounce the excesses of President Andrew Jackson.

Some time in the 1830s the Lowndes County center of government moved from Franklinville to the growing settlement of Lowndesville. Located about twenty miles south of the Knight homestead, Lowndesville was near the confluence of the Withlacoochee and Little Rivers. This location was touted by some to become a riverboat landing and the prospect of river transportation was hoped to foster a pioneer boom period for the community, but according to Montgomery M. Folsom  that dream was never realized.

When the community had grown to about 25 families, the name of the town was changed to Troupville in honor of Georgia Governor George M. Troup.  Troup was an outspoken proponent of the State Rights theory, which asserted that individual states were not bound by Federal law. Levi J. Knight and many other pioneers of old Lowndes County were Troup supporters, and in 1834 Levi J. Knight and his father William A. Knight were instrumental in forming the  the State Rights Association of Lowndes County, GA.  Troupville quickly became the leading town in the region. In Troupville there were stores, hotels, churches, doctors, lawyers, newspapers, entertainment, even a bowling alley. The Knights were among the planters of Lowndes County who made Troupville their center of trade  (Map of Old Troupville, GA with Notes on the Residents).

In 1836 another daughter was born to the Knights, Mary Adelaide Knight. As a young woman, Mary would become the bride of Thomas M. Ray who, along with her father, founded the original grist mill at Ray City.

In the spring of 1836 there were reports and rumors of Indians attacking pioneers in other parts of the state. The Seminole War was brewing… and that summer the original settlers of Ray City, GA were engaged in Indian skirmishes.

  1.  (1942). History of Lowndes County: Georgia, 1825-1941. Valdosta, Ga.: General James Jackson chapter, D.A.R. Pg 5-6.
  2. Georgia. 1837. A digest of the laws of the state of Georgia: containing all statutes and the substance of all resolutions of a general and public nature, and now in force, which have been passed in this state, previous  to the session of the General assembly of Dec. 1837.pg 995
  3. THE SOUTH GEORGIA HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL QUARTERLY, VOL. 1, JULY 1922, NO. 3, pp. 03-05.OLD RECORDS BOOK “H” OF BONDS, WAYNE COUNTY, GEORGIA, COURT OF ORDINARY, FIRST 77 PAGES.
  4. Huxford,F. 1971. Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume VI, The Jesup Sentinel, Jesup, Georgia 1971. pg 139.’
  5. Huxford,F. 1954. Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume II, Press of the Patten Publishers, Adel, Georgia, pg 176.
  6. Huxford, F. 1975, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume VII, Jesup Sentinel, Jesup, Georgia. pg 226.
  7. Huxford, F. 1967. Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume V, Herrin’s Print Shop, Waycross, GA. pg 162.
  8. Georgia Surveyor General. 1832 – SURVEY RECORDS – FIELD NOTE BOOKS – Cherokee, Section 3, District 13, Levi J. Knight, 1832. http://find.sos.state.ga.us/archon/?p=collections/findingaid&id=324&q=&rootcontentid=231131#id231131
  9. Memoirs of Georgia, Volume I, Southern Historical Association, Atlanta, Georgia, 1895, Book, page 316
  10. Huxford, F. (1916). History of Clinch County, Georgia, , comp. and ed. by Folks Huxford. Macon, Ga: J.W. Burke. pg. 265
  11. Loyless, T. W. (1902). Georgia’s public men 1902-1904. Atlanta, Ga: Byrd Print. Pp 166.

Obituary of Helen Baskin Pierce

Helen Baskin, born February 2, 1920, was a daughter of  Minnie Lee Hancock Baskin and Armstrong B. “Bee” Baskin.   In 1941, Helen Baskin was a sophomore at Georgia Teachers College (now Georgia Southern University). In 1943 she married  Wilmont C. Pierce.  After WWII, the couple made their home at Ray City, where Wilmont  engaged in farming with Helen’s father.   In 1968, the Pierces moved from Ray City to Valdosta, GA.

Obituary of Helen Baskin Pierce (1920-2004)

AXSON — Helen Baskin Pierce, 84, of Axson, passed away Tuesday, June 1, 2004, at South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta, following a long illness. Mrs. Pierce was born on Feb. 2, 1920, growing up in Lanier County, the daughter of the late Armstrong B. Baskin and Minne Lee Hancock Baskin. She was preceded in death by her brothers and sister, John W. Baskin, Lakeland, Ga., Curtis L. Baskin, Groves, Texas, Louie Baskin, Alma, Ga., and Mary Frances Blalock, Atlanta.

She retired in June 1986, after serving 27 years as a civil service employee in Atlanta at Warner Robins Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base. She served in various capacities at First Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga., her home church, before moving to Valdosta in 1968, where she was a member of First Baptist Church there. Currently, she resided in Coffee County and was a member of Stokesville Baptist Church.

Mrs. Pierce is survived by her husband of 61 years, Wilmont Candler Pierce, Axson; her sons, Michael J. Pierce, Olathe, Kan., W. Candler Pierce (Mary Ann), Richmond, R.I., Bobby L. Pierce (Kay), Axson; her grandchildren, Wade C. Pierce, Orlando, Fla., Keith H. Pierce, Tampa, Fla., M. Andrew Pierce, Bayminette, Ala., Jessica, Andrea and Justin Pierce Richmond, R.I., Lynn Eslinger (Jason), Cleveland, Tenn., Kim Hunter (Tim), Valdosta, and Krista L. Pierce, Valdosta, as well as three great-grandchildren. Her extended family included J.C. and Evelyn Pierce, Crawfordville, Ga., Howard and Dot Ray, Ray City, Jessie Hudson, Valdosta, McDonald and Betty Pierce and Dilmus and Burma Pierce, Lakeland, Vanelle Baskin, Gloria Baskin, Groves, Texas; 17 nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends at Music Funeral Services, Lakeland, Ga., from 6-9 p.m. this evening. Mrs. Pierce will lie in state at First Baptist Church, Ray City, from 10-11 a.m. June 4, 2004. Memorial services will begin at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Lee Graham and the Rev. Bob L. Pierce officiating. Burial will follow in Unity United Methodist Church Cemetery near Lakeland, Ga. Sympathy may be expressed online at http://www.musicfuneralservices.com — Music Funeral Services of Lakeland

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