Obituary of Jay Sirmans, September 29, 1916

Jay Sirmans was born April 16, 1864 and lived all of his life in the vicinity of Ray City, GA.

Jay Sirmans of Ray City, GA. Image detail courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Jay Sirmans of Ray City, GA. Image detail courtesy of berriencountyga.com

Jay Sirmans was the youngest son of Elizabeth Knight and Hardeman Sirmans, the eighth of their twelve children. His sister Martha Elizabeth Sirmans married Joe S. Clements, who was treasurer at the Clements Sawmill and later served as Mayor of Ray City. His sister Clara Sirmans married Irishman Frank Gallagher and they had a farm east of Ray City. His sister Annie B. Sirmans (1872 – 1963) married John Chilton Matheny; she was later the owner of Ray’s Mill. His sister Valeria Sirmans (1874 – 1961) married James Isaac Lee

On 22 March 1893 Jay Sirmans married Rachel Allifar Smith (born July 30, 1869)  a daughter of Mary Jane Smith and  John Woods Smith.

Children of Rachel Smith and Jay Sirmans:

  1. John Hardeman Sirmans, born February 23, 1899 in Georgia;  died April 28, 1966 in Berrien County, Georgia
  2. J B Mitchell Sirmans, born January 19, 1905 in Berrien County, GA; died July 13, 1983 in Lanier County, Georgia; buried Empire Cemetery.

In 1899, Jay Sirmans gained a bit of local attention after his attempt to capture a large alligator for exhibition in the western states.

Obituary of Jay Sirmans

Jay Sirmans died rather unexpectedly at the age of 52.

Obituary of Jay Sirmans, Ray City, GA

Obituary of Jay Sirmans, Ray City, GA
Tifton Gazette, Sep. 29, 1916 — page 2

Tifton Gazette
September 29, 1916 — page 2

J. Sirmans, Ray City

Mr. J. Sirmans, a well known resident of Berrien county, living about a mile and a half from Ray City, died at his home Wednesday night at 9 o’clock, says the Valdosta Times.
Mr. Sirmans had been ill for about 10 days but his condition was not thought to be serious. His death came as a great surprise.
Mr. Sirmans is survived by his wife and two sons.

Sirmans was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. He was a member of Woodmen of the World, and insurance through the fraternal organization provided a large and distinctive monument to mark his grave.

Gravemarker of Jay Sirmans, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Died September 20, 1916

Gravemarker of Jay Sirmans, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Died September 20, 1916

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Family of Maxie Snead Patten

Maxie Snead Patten (1912-1992)

Maxie Snead Patten was a well known athlete, teacher, coach, youth leader and author of Berrien County, GA.  On September 3, 1950 Maxie Snead Patten addressed the youth of the Ray City community at the Ray City Baptist Church.

Maxie Snead, 1929 school photo. Image detail courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Maxie Snead, 1929 school photo. Image detail courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Family of Maxie Snead Patten <br>Front row: Maxie Snead Patten holding Reba (her daughter), Laura Youmans Snead (holding baby), William M. “Bill” Snead, little boys are David Lovett and Jimmy Lovett, Inez Snead Lovett, holding granddaughter, Jan Lovett. <br>2nd Row L-R: Henry Snead, Billy Snead, Annette Snead Ensley (Billy and Annette’s father was Walter Snead, one of the 8 Snead siblings, who died in his late twenties, when his children were young.), Myrt Snead Willis, Willie Mae “Bill” Sapp, Eugene Lovett (Inez’s husband). <br>3rd Row L-R: Dorothy Snead (wife of Felton “Crip Snead), Tom Skinner, Mary Lovett Skinner. <br>4th Row L-R: Arlo Snead (wife of Henry Snead), Martha “Boots” Lovett Paulk, Martha Jim Lovett (wife of James Lovett). <br>Back Row L-R: Grover Patten (husband of Maxie), Colonel Dewitt Sapp, Felton “Crip” Snead, James Lovett <br>Man behind Mary Lovett Skinner with face partially hidden is unknown. <br> One other Snead sibling, Nettie, died in her twenties, not shown. <br>Courtesy of Reba Patten Mason and Linda Ward Meadows.

Family of Maxie Snead Patten
Front row: Maxie Snead Patten holding Reba (her daughter), Laura Youmans Snead (holding baby), William M. “Bill” Snead, little boys are David Lovett and Jimmy Lovett, Inez Snead Lovett, holding granddaughter, Jan Lovett.
2nd Row L-R: Henry Snead, Billy Snead, Annette Snead Ensley (Billy and Annette’s father was Walter Snead, one of the 8 Snead siblings, who died in his late twenties, when his children were young.), Myrt Snead Willis, Willie Mae “Bill” Sapp, Eugene Lovett (Inez’s husband).
3rd Row L-R: Dorothy Snead (wife of Felton “Crip” Snead), Tom Skinner, Mary Lovett Skinner.
4th Row L-R: Arlo Snead (wife of Henry Snead), Martha “Boots” Lovett Paulk, Martha Jim Lovett (wife of James Lovett).
Back Row L-R: Grover Patten (husband of Maxie), Colonel Dewitt Sapp, Felton “Crip” Snead, James Lovett
Man behind Mary Lovett Skinner with face partially hidden is unknown.
One other Snead sibling, Nettie, died in her twenties, not shown.
Courtesy of Reba Patten Mason and Linda Ward Meadows.

Maxie Snead played on the “Nashville Wonder Six” Southeast Georgia Championship teams of 1927,  1928, and 1929. Among her team mates was Ida Lou Giddens, daughter of Ray City barber and mayor Lyman Franklin Giddens.

Maxie Snead played on the 1929 Nashville Public School girls basketball team, nicknamed the “Nashville Wonder Six”. For the three seasons 1927, 1928, 1929, the team record was 70 wins against only 4 losses. In 1927 they went 20-0 and won the Southeast Georgia Championship, also winning the Southeast Georgia Championship in 1928 and 1929. Seated left to right: Ida Lou Giddens Fletcher, Nell Powell McCloud, Silvia Bonnett, Evelyn Carter Wilkes. Standing: Maxie Snead Patten, Bill Griffin Register, and Coach Willie Chisholm. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Maxie Snead played on the 1929 Nashville Public School girls basketball team, nicknamed the “Nashville Wonder Six.” For the three seasons 1927, 1928, 1929, the team record was 70 wins against only 4 losses. In 1927 they went 20-0 and won the Southeast Georgia Championship, also winning the Southeast Georgia Championship in 1928 and 1929. Seated left to right: Ida Lou Giddens Fletcher, Nell Powell McCloud, Silvia Bonnett, Evelyn Carter Wilkes. Standing: Maxie Snead Patten, Bill Griffin Register, and Coach Willie Chisholm. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

In the 1930s Maxie Snead Patten coached the girls basketball teams at New Lois School to the Berrien County Championship. Team member Alma Luke later attended the Ray City School.

New Lois Girls Basketball, Champions 1937-1938 Mrs. Patten, Edna Bennett, Myrtice Jordan, Hazel Ray, Hazel Fletcher, Alma Luke, Lucille Knowles. Photo courtesy of Faye Jernigan and www.berriencountyga.com

1937-38 New Lois Girls Basketball Team, Berrien County Champions 
Mrs. Maxie Snead Patten, Edna Bennett, Myrtice Jordan, Hazel Ray, Hazel Fletcher, Alma Luke, Lucille Knowles. Photo courtesy of Faye Jernigan and http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

 

 

Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat

Pearl Todd,  a Southern Baptist missionary from Hahira, GA,  served many years in China. While in the U.S. in 1939, she spoke to many audiences, including sharing her China experiences with students at the Ray City School. Pearl Todd was back in China when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred.

Pearl Todd, taken POW by the Japanese in China, returned to Lowndes County in 1942.

Pearl Todd, taken POW by the Japanese in China, returned to Lowndes County in 1942.

Atlanta Constitution
Friday September 18, 1942

More Mission Work in China Is Seen ‘Later’

Returned Missionary at Valdosta Tells of Jap ‘Take-Over.’

VALDOSTA, Ga., Sept. 17.  The constructive work of missionaries in conquered sections of China has not been lost and it will survive Japan’s “new order,” says a missionary who spent 20 years in China.  
    The missionary, Miss Pearl Todd, of Lowndes county, added confidently:
    “We will take up our work when the World War chaos has been ended.”
    Miss Todd returned recently on the Gripsholm, diplomatic exchange ship.  She told of one rather severe brush with Japanese authorities after they took over mission schools along with other property at Cheefoo, Shantung province, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    It involved “signing away” some properties of the Southern Baptist Conference.  With a twinkle of humor in her eye, she added:
    They already had the property, and I signed under duress.”
    She feared the loss of her typewriter, which had a mission report in it.  Miss Todd said Japanese soldiers who inspected it apparently could not read English and they left it.  She said there were some sentences on the sheet in the typewriter which were not complimentary to the Japs.

In the 1940s, the Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat operated in the Cat Creek Community about 8 miles southwest of Ray City, GA.

Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat, located near the Cat Creek Community, operated from the 1940s to 1970s.

Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat, located near the Cat Creek Community, operated from the 1940s to 1970s.

Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat, located near the Cat Creek Community, operated from the 1940s to 1970s.

Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat, located near the Cat Creek Community, operated from the 1940s to 1970s.

"Nashville" and "Adel" dormitories at Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat.

“Nashville” and “Adel” dormitories at Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat.

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Charles X Jones Was a Leading Spirit of Ray City

In a shady cemetery plot at New Bethel Church, about seven miles southwest of Ray City, GA, lies the grave of the town’s first elected mayor, Dr. Charles X. Jones.

Grave of Charles X. Jones (1870-1933), First Elected Mayor of Ray City, GA

Grave of Charles X. Jones (1870-1933), First Elected Mayor of Ray City, GA

Charles X. Jones was born in Carroll County, GA on September 15, 1870 (or 1869 according to his death certificate).    When Charles  was born  his father, Maj. William Dudley Jones, was 50 and his mother, Martha H. Word, was 45. His father was a farmer at Bowdon, GA and also served as county tax collector of Carroll County. His mother’s parents were John Bryson Word and Amelia Sparks.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, son of Major William Dudley Jones, in Carroll County, Georgia, on June 3, 1880.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, son of Major William Dudley Jones, in Carroll County, Georgia, on June 3, 1880.

Charles X. Jones grew up on his father’s farm near Bowdon, GA in the 1111th district of Carroll County.  Bowden was a progressive community and the site of Bowdon College, “Georgia’s fifth chartered institution of higher education and first coeducational institution. Bowdon was a frontier community of merchants and yeomen who nourished the growth of a school where earnest students of limited means bettered their lives and their communities…Graduates have carried the honor of the institution into our state and national capitals and throughout the world. From her halls have come educators, doctors, lawyers, journalists, judges, bankers, farmers, industrialists, governors, and senators.”  Charles X. Jones was admitted to Bowden College where he completed the full program of study and graduated on July 1, 1891.

Bowdon College, GA, photographed circa 1899. Charles X. Jones graduated from Bowdon College in 1891.

Bowdon College, GA, photographed circa 1899. Charles X. Jones graduated from Bowdon College in 1891.

Jones later attended the medical school in Augusta, GA now known as Georgia Regents University, and received his medical degree  in 1898.

Old Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA. Charles X. Jones graduated with a medical degree in 1898.

Old Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA. Charles X. Jones graduated with a medical degree in 1898.

After medical school, young Dr. Jones came to Berrien County,GA to the Ray’s Mill Community.  He boarded with James S. Swindle and Catherline “Candas” Swindle while establishing his practice.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, physician, in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, on June 13, 1900.

Census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, physician, in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, on June 13, 1900.

In 1901, Dr. Jones married 17-year-old Effie J. Mclean; he was about 31 years of age. The marriage ceremony was performed in Berrien County, GA by Elder Aaron Anderson Knight, Primitive Baptist Minister of Ray City.  Elder Knight’s church at that time was New Ramah Church in Ray City, GA

Dr. Charles X. Jones married Effie J. McLean on December 3, 1901 in Berrien County, GA.

Dr. Charles X. Jones married Effie J. McLean on December 3, 1901 in Berrien County, GA.

In 1903, Charles X. Jones purchased a 4 acre tract of land from James S. Swindle along Card Creek, the outflow of Ray’s Millpond now known as Beaverdam Creek.  That same year Charles and Effie began their family with the birth of their first child, Sam Jones.

In the summer of 1905, word came from Bowdon, GA that Dr. Jones’ father had died of a stroke. The obituary was published in the Atlanta Constitution and other state papers.

Obituary of Major William Dudley Jones, died June 19, 1905.

Obituary of Major William Dudley Jones, died June 19, 1905. Atlanta Constitution, June 21, 1905.

Atlanta Constitution
June 21, 1905

Major W.D. Jones, Carrollton, Ga.

Major W. D. Jones, a very highly respected citizen of this county, who lived near Bowdon, died suddenly as a result of a stroke of paralysis yesterday. He was 90 years old. He was the father of the late Colonel J. W. Jones, of Bowdon, and of Dr. Charles X. Jones, near Valdosta.

In 1908, Charles X. Jones’ tract of land was platted into town lots in the newly incorporated town of Rays Mill, GA.  Charles and Effie built the first house in  the  town and became its first residents. This house was located on the lot that surrounds the present Methodist Church. The street which ran past the Jones residence was named Jones Street in the doctor’s honor. Redding D. Swindle was  appointed as the mayor until the first elections could be held, and Jones carried the election in the first casting of ballots for the government of the new town. Mary Etta Swindle, wife of R.D. Swindle won a contest to name the new town, proposing it be called Ray City, GA although the title of Rays Mill persisted for many years thereafter.

The Jones residence was the very first household enumerated in Rays Mill, GA in the census of 1910. Dr. Charles X. Jones was enumerated with a reported age of 39, wife Effie J. Jones (26), and their children Sam Jones (7), Fred Jones (5), Trixie Jones (3), and Charles X. Jones, Jr (1).

Census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. and family in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, April 15, 1910.

Census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. and family in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia, April 15, 1910.

Dr. Jones was also a banker. When the Bank of Rays Mill was formed in 1911, Dr. Jones  was elected Vice President of the bank, and served on the Board of Directors along with B. P. Jones,  J. S. Swindle, J. H. Swindle, W. H. E. Terry, L. J. Clements and bank president Clarence L. Smith. Later, Charles X. Jones  and Clarence L. Smith served together on the board of directors of Southern Bank & Trust Co., formed 1913 in Valdosta, GA.  The Southern Bank & Trust Company closed its doors in 1918.

By 1920, Dr. Jones had acquired a farm south of Ray City, near the community of Barretts on the Ray City – Valdosta Road, where he relocated and continued his medical practice. This was in the 1307th Georgia Militia District, the Cat Creek District of Lowndes County, GA. In the census of 1920, Jones residence was enumerated by census taker Arthur Walton McDonald, brother of Lacy A. McDonald who was a mailman at Ray City.

1920 census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA

1920 census enumeration of Dr. Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA

By the time of the 1930 census, Charles X. Jones was about 60 years old and retired from medical practice. His farm place near Barretts, valued at $5000,  was owned free and clear of mortgage. Census record indicate Jones had become a merchant/operator of a dry goods store.  Also in Dr. Jones household were his  son, Charles X. Jones, Jr.,  daughter Trixie Jones Moore (widow of Carl L. Moore), and her children, Mattie Lou Moore and Helene Moore. Trixie Jones Moore, worked as a general merchandise clerk, while Charles X. Jones, Jr. helped with the farm work.

1930 census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA. Now retired from medical practice, Jones operated a dry goods store and maintained his farm in the Barretts Community.

1930 census enumeration of Charles X. Jones, Lowndes County, GA. Now retired from medical practice, Jones operated a dry goods store and maintained his farm in the Barretts Community.

On August 3, 1933 Charles X. Jones suffered an attack of “apoplexy” – a venerable word for a stroke, a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), often associated with loss of consciousness and paralysis of various parts of the body.  Before the day was out he succumbed to death.

Charles X. Jones was a civic minded citizen and an important figure in the incorporation of the town of Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), GA.  He was said to be a leading spirit of the town.

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4-H and the Berrien Poultry Project

4-H  sponsored many activities for rural youth in Georgia.  Ray City kids played 4-H basketball, spent summers at Camp Wilkins, participated in corn clubs and canning clubs, and other agricultural activities.  In 1947, Winona Williams and Donald Gaskins represented Ray City on the 4-H Poultry Project.  Nora Harnage lived near Ray City, GA, but attended school in Nashville, GA.

4H Poultry Project, Berrien County, GA. September 1947

4H club members gather on the courthouse square in Nashville, GA to participate in the Berrien Poultry Project, GA. September 1947. The pedestal of Berrien County’s Doughboy Monument can be seen in the background, along with Bennett and Taylor Drug Store, one of three drugstores on the square at that time. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com&nbsp;

The Atlanta Constitution,
September 10, 1947

BERRIEN POULTRY PROJECT – Poultry Specialist R.J. Richardson goes over prize-winning points of this Rhode Island Red for Berrien County 4-H members who participated in the annual chain poultry project this year. Four-H Club members shown with Richardson are, left to right, front row: Joel Smith, Edwin Register, and Billy Nix; back row: Nora Harnage, Dot Guthrie, Billy Clements, Bertha King, Winona Williams and Donald Gaskins. The Berrien County youths were given 100 baby chicks last February to care for and enter in this show by the sponsor of the project, Sears, Roebuck & Company. – Photo by Jamie Connell

Transcription courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

D’Ree Yawn and Friends in Ray City

In the 1930s D’Ree Yawn was a teenage girl living in Ray City, GA, photographed here with Mildred Clements, and another friend, Marie.

Three young friends in Ray City. Left to right: Mildred Clements, Marie ?, and D'Ree Yawn. Image courtesy of Debra Klein.

Three young friends in Ray City. Left to right: Mildred Clements, Marie ?, and D’Ree Yawn. Image courtesy of Debra Klein.

D’Ree Yawn and Mildred Clements were friends and neighbors. Mildred lived in the home on the northeast corner of Jones Street and Pauline Street; her parents were Hod Clements and Alma Florence May.

D’Ree was a daughter of Vera Laura Roberts and Clayton Samuel Yawn.  She was the sister of Allene Yawn and Caswell Yawn. In the 1920s D’Ree Yawn lived with her parents in the residence of her great uncle James Studstill. The Studstill home was located half-a-block down Jones Street, on a large lot on the southwest corner of Jones and Bishop Street. Some time in the 1930s D’Ree’s family moved up Jones Street to a house directly across Pauline Street from the Clements house. This house still stands, although it has been somewhat remodeled. In the 1930s there was a massive old magnolia tree in the front yard of this house that nearly obscured it from the street.

D'Ree Yawn and her family occupied this home in the 1930s.

D’Ree Yawn and her family occupied this home in the 1930s.

 

D'Ree Yawn and her family occupied this home in the 1930s.

1930s residence of the Yawn Family, Ray City, GA

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