Spanish-American War Vet Rests at Ray City, GA

Spanish American War

Does anyone remember the final resting place of Ben Howard?  When the young Spanish-American War veteran died at Ray’s Mill Pond in 1900, the citizens of Ray’s Mill, GA paid their respects.

Other Spanish-American War veterans of Berrien County, GA included Aaron Cook, Luther L. Hallman, William A. Knight, Samuel Z. T. Lipham, Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’Quinn, Pythias D. Yapp, Henry C. McLendon, Charles A. Courson, George C. Flowers, Zachary T. Hester, Jr., W. Dutchman Stephens, and James L. Jordan.

Tifton Gazette
April 27, 1900

Found Dead Is His Boat.
The body of Ben Howard, a young white man, was found in a boat in the bottom of Ray’s mill pond last Saturday. The body had been there for two days or more, but the tragedy was kept a secret by the fact that the boat was a leaky vessel and had sunk to the bottom of the pond, carrying the body down with it. It is not known whether the young man was dead when the boat sunk or not, though it is thought that he had wounded himself by the accidental discharge of his gun while coming out of a tree, from which be had been shooting at fish in the water. The weapon was found at the foot of the tree and one barrel of it had been discharged. The boat was tied to the tree and the body either fell in it, or the wounded man managed to get to it.
Then the boat drifted out in the pond probably fifty yards and sunk to the bottom, the supposition being that Howard’s death was instantaneous, or else he was too badly wounded to manage the boat. A search for him lasted two days.
The burial services were conducted at Beaver Dam on Sunday and a large crowd attended them. Young Howard was a soldier in the war with Spain and did service in Cuba. —Valdosta Times.

 

Tifton Gazette, April 27, 1900 clipping of the death of Ben Howard at Ray's Mill Pond.

Tifton Gazette, April 27, 1900 clipping of the death of Ben Howard at Ray’s Mill Pond.

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South Georgia State Normal College For Young Ladies

In 1913, South Georgia State Normal College opened at Valdosta, GA. The school became Georgia State Woman’s College in 1922 , Valdosta State College in 1950, and Valdosta State University in 1993.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT

1913

SOUTH GEORGIA

STATE

NORMAL COLLEGE

For Young Ladies

VALDOSTA, GEORGIA

 

ARCHITECT’S DRAWING OF FIRST BUILDING.

Architectural rendering of the first building to be built on the campus of the South Georgia State Normal College, Valdosta, GA

Architectural rendering of the first building to be built on the campus of the South Georgia State Normal College, Valdosta, GA

 

The Board of Trustees

Hon. W. S. West, Chr.               Valdosta, Ga.
Hon. W. L, Converse, Sect.       Valdosta, Ga.
Hon. C. R. Ashley, Treas.           Valdosta, Ga.
Hon. A. C Ward, Jr.                   Douglas, Ga.
Hon. E. H. Beck                        Barney, Ga.
Hon H. M. Mcintosh                Albany, Ga.
Dr. R. C. Woodard                   Adel, Ga.
Hon. H. H. Tift                         Tifton, Ga.
Hon. J. Hansell Merrill             Thomasville, Ga.

EX OFFICIO

Dr. D. C. Barrow, Chancellor of the University of Georgia Athens, Ga.

Hon. M. L. Brittain, State Superintendent
of Schools Atlanta, Ga.

The Faculty

The President
Mr R. H. Powell

Professor of Pedagogy and History of Education.
Mr. J. M. Guilliams

Superintendent of the Training School
Miss Lillian Rule

Professor of Mathematics and Physics
Mr. J. F. Wood

Professor of English and History
Mr. W. J. Bradley

Professor of Domestic Science and Arts
Miss M. Katherine Christian

Director of Agriculture and Manager of the
Boarding Department
Mr. J. E. Creel

Associate Professor of English and History
Miss Elizabeth McElreath

Teacher of Art and Manual Training
Miss Frances Ruth Carpenter

The Faculty (Continued)

Teacher of Nature Study and Geography
Miss Alice Pritchard

Teacher of School Music
To be elected

Assistant Teacher in English and Latin
Miss Nell E. Brimberry

Training Teacher, Third and Fifth Grades
To be elected

Training Teacher, 1st Grade,
To be elected

Matron
Mrs. R. H. Patterson

Secretary and Bookkeeper
Mr. W. P. Yarbrough

Introductory

On Thursday, January the Second, 1913, the South Georgia State Normal College will open for its first term’s work. The handsome building is nearing completion and will be ready for occupancy. A permanent maintenance fund has been appropriated by the Legislature. A strong faculty is being organized; and every ting is being done to guarantee from the start a normal college of highest efficiency — the equal of any in the South. Though the school opens its first year in January, it is believed that owing to the relatively small classes at first and the consequent greater personal attention, and to the exceptionally high average of training and experience of the faculty it will not be long before the classes are fully abreast of the yearly program of studies.

Location

The school is situated in Valdosta, at one of the most easily accessible points in South Georgia. The campus of sixty acres faces 2,100 feet on Patterson Street, the principal residence street of the city, and occupies a gently sloping hillside, which gives perfect drainage and affords an ideal school site. At the foot of the hill a small stream flows through a natural park of handsome trees, and at the top of the hill is a beautiful grove of virgin pines. The school has a campus of exceptional natural beauty.

Health and Sanitation

Valdosta enjoys an enviable reputation for health. The fall, winter and spring climate (when school is in session) is ideal. The school will be amply supplied with pure artesian water from the city waterworks;
and the sewerage system is of the most modern and thorough design. Every precaution has been taken to protect the health of the students.

The Faculty

The heart of any school is its faculty. The faculty of this school is being very carefully selected, and several members have already been employed. The names of those who have been elected appear at the beginning of these announcements. Most of them are well known in the State, and all are known for exceptional character and ability in their special lines. It is the determination of the Board of Trustees to leave nothing undone to secure for the South Georgia State Normal College as able teachers as are to be found in any school of its kind.

The Course of Study

The charter of the College defines one of the chief functions of the school as being “to prepare teachers for the public schools of Georgia.” The Board frankly accepts this function, and the course of study will be based largely on this purpose.

In grade, the school will extend about two or three years above schools of the rank of our best accredited high schools. Graduates of accredited schools of Group A will be admitted to the Junior year without examination (though with conditions in one or two required subjects); and students from other groups of accredited schools will be graded accordingly. Graduates from most accredited schools will enter the Sophomore Class. All other students will be admitted on examinations and previous records.

As to course of study, the work will be broad and thorough. Besides the professional work necessary to the training of teachers, there will be thorough and vital training in the usual academic studies and in the subjects pertaining to home activities and arts. It is, in a word, the purpose of the school to train for teaching by training for life.

The Building

Before the first brick was laid, a plan was made for all reasonable future development of the school, and prospective buildings are given their positions once for all. The general style of architecture adopted is a very beautiful form of Spanish Mission. As is indicated in the accompanying picture, the light colored walls, the great overhanging roof of rich, red tile, the open terraces, and abundant windows, give great beauty and comfort. The first building to be erected is a combination dormitory and administration building. It will eventually be used entirely for dormitory purposes. It is only two stories high, thus preventing the injury of much climbing of stairs. The rooms are all well ventilated. There is running water, hot and cold, in every room. Ample toilet and bath facilities are conveniently placed. The furniture, though simple, is neat and specially adapted to dormitory purposes. In short, the building is planned on most modern principles, by an architect of very wide and successful experience in school and dormitory building. It is sincerely believed that there is not a better building of its kind in the South.

Home Life

In the dormitory there are thirty bed rooms furnishing accommodations for about 65 students. Most of the rooms, thirteen by fifteen feet, will be occupied by two students. A few rooms, somewhat larger, will be occupied by three. The dining room and kitchen are planned with the same regard for health and comfort as are the bed rooms. The dormitory will be under an experienced matron, who has charge of the girls in all matters of their school-home life. The dining room will be in charge of one who knows the principles of foods and is experienced in providing wholesome and palatable meals.

No pains or expense will be spared to make the home life of the students comfortable, healthy and content.

Arrangements have been made with certain families in the city to take students as boarders; and where students have responsible relatives in the city, they may, with the approval of the president, arrange to board with them. Students in private homes will be required to conform to the same general rules as do those in the dormitory.

The Uniform

All students will be required to wear a uniform. Experts are now at work on the problem of a neat, serviceable, higienic, and economical uniform. Details may be had on request, about December first.

Religious Life

It is a fundamental principle of the school that the public institutions of a Christian State are or ought to be Christian institutions. While the school is wholly undenominational, every incentive will be given to the development of wholesome Christian sentiment and noble Christian character. The religious life of the students will be in every way encouraged. Students will be expected to attend the churches of their own membership or of that of their parent’s choice.

Expenses

Matriculation fee per year $10.00

(This year $5.00.)

Books, Stationery, etc $8.00 to $12.00

Board, Lodging and Laundry in Dormitory, per month $12.00

Clothes, about $35,00

Laboratory and Domestic Science Fees $1.00 to $4.00

The Matriculation fee is payable when the student enters each year.

Books, Stationery, etc., are paid for when purchased.

Of the board and lodging fee, $24.00 is payable January 2nd, and $36.00 March 1st.
Laboratory and Domestic Science fees are payable at the beginning of the course.

Students from other states may be admitted upon payment of $50.00 tuition in addition to the foregoing fees.

What a Student Should Bring With Her.

Each student should bring with her the following articles: Sheets, a blanket, a pillow, pillow cases, a bed spread, towels, napkins, a knife, a fork, a spoon, and such other articles of personal use as she may need.

Each student should also have for the protection of her health and comfort a good umbrella, over shoes, and a warm cloak or rain coat.

The teaspoon and fork should be of solid silver or of good plated ware, and should, if possible, have the student’s initials engraved on them.

Training School

A normal school is as strong as its training school. Care has been taken to place the training school on a sound basis from the start. It has been arranged to open with three grades (1st, 3d, 5th) and to add grades each year until the school is complete. Expert teachers are in charge of the training school, and every care is taken to give the children of the school the very best educational advantages.

A fee of $2.50 per half year is charged for each pupil. This fee is due January 2nd for this school year.

For Further Information, Address

R. H. POWELL, President

Valdosta, Ga.

Application for Admission

_____________ ____ ______________ 1912 ____

(Postoffice and date)

Mr. R. H. Powell,

President South Georgia State Normal College:

I desire to enter my daughter as a student in the South Georgia State Normal College at the opening of the school, January 2nd, 1913.

She agrees to observe the rules and regulations of the institution.

_______________________________________Parent

Please give the following information
—————————————-
Students full name:
________________________________________

Age on January 1st, 1913 _______________

School last attended ___________________

Grade completed ________________________

Graduate of a High School? yes or no ___

Student’s health? good or not __________

Note: Students should, where possible, have the Superintendent or Principal of their school write a confidential letter to the President of this College speaking of the advancement and qualifications of the student. The student should bring with her such diplomas and certificates as she may have received.

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Joseph Hansell Merrill

Joseph Hansell Merrill (1862-1925)

In 1913, Joseph Hansell Merrill served as one of the founding Trustees of South Georgia State Normal College, at Valdosta, GA. In 1922, the school became Georgia State Woman’s , Valdosta State College in 1950, and Valdosta State University in 1993.  Joseph Hansell Merrill was a law partner of Charles Paine Hansell, son of Judge Augustin H. Hansell who spent 50 years on the bench of the of Southern Circuit of Georgia.

Portrait of Joseph Hansell Merrill

Joseph Hansell Merrill, attorney at Thomasville, GA, was a founding Trustee of South Georgia State Normal College (now Valdosta State University).

 

National Cyclopedia of American Biography
pg 14

MERRILL, Joseph Hansell, lawyer, was born at Thomasville, Ga., October 12, 1862, son of Joseph Styles and Anne (Hall) Merrill. His earliest paternal American ancestor was Nathaniel Merrill, who came from England in 1633 and settled at Ipswich, Mass. His wife was Joanna Kinney, and from them the line of descent is traced through their son Abel and his wife Priscilla Chase; their son Abel and his wife Abigail M. Stevens; their son Abel and his first wife Ruth Kellog; their son Stevens and his wife Mary Noyes; their son Joseph and his wife Sarah Capp, to their son Lemuel Merrill and his wife Eliza Barker, who were the grandparents of Joseph Hansell Merrill. Joseph Styles Merrill, father of our subject and a graduate of Oglethorpe University, was farmer, merchant, and ordinary of Thomas county, Ga. Joseph Hansell Merrill received his preliminary education at Fletcher Institute, Thomasville, where he won a scholarship to the State University. He was graduated at the University of Georgia with distinction in 1880. He studied law at Thomasville under Arthur Patten; was admitted to the bar of Georgia in 1884, and in that year began the practice of his profession at Thomasville as a partner of his preceptor under the firm style of Patten & Merrill, which relation continued three years. During 1887-99 he was the partner of Chas. P. Hansell, under the firm style of Hansell & Merrill. From 1899 to 1915 he practised alone. Since 1915 he has been of the firm of Merrill & Grantham, with Charles Pinckney Grantham. He represents various corporations including railroad companies, and other business interests, largely by yearly contracts, and is rated an authority on land titles, devoting much of his time to this work as a specialty. He was referee in bankruptcy during 1904-08, and judge of the superior courts of the Southern circuit of Georgia in 1910. Of thirteen cases tried by him taken to the Supreme court, eleven were affirmed; two reversed. He has never sought political office, and only accepted the offices above mentioned at the earnest request of the appointing power. His service on the bench elicited much favorable comment from the press. He was called an ideal presiding officer, whose rulings were characterized by sound legal knowledge and understanding, and excellent judgment. Aside from his professional activities he is president of the Thomasville Real Estate & Improvement Co.; vice-president and attorney Citizens Banking & Trust Co., and a director in various other commercial, industrial or financial institutions. He is one of the three Georgia members of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, 1912-19; member of its executive and legislative committees, and is frequently called on to preside over its deliberations in committee of the whole, and he is Georgia member of the general council American Bar Association; past president (1908-09) Georgia State Bar Association, and president of Thomas County Bar Association, past president Thomasville Public Library Association, and Thomasville Young Men’s Christian Association. Politically he is a Democrat, and he is a communicant of the Episcopal church, and has taught a Bible class for thirty years. He was a speaker in various drives for war work during 1917-18 in Georgia and Florida, and he was alumnus orator at the University of Georgia commencement in 1902. A paper by him for the Georgia Bar Association in 1901, “The Book in the Lawyer’s Library,” was widely published and attracted much favorable comment from members of the bar throughout the country. He finds his chief recreation in golf and horseback riding. He was married (1) at Thomasville, Ga., Dec. 30, 1885, to Mattie C., daughter of John G. Pittman, a real estate operator of Thomasville; She died in 1888, and he was married (2) at Thomasville, Nov. 12, 1890, to Blanche, daughter of Hiram R. Tarwater, a merchant of Louisville, Ky. He has one surviving child of the second marriage; Katherine, now Mrs. John Pasco, Monticello, Fla.

Ray City Blues

John Guthrie

During the 1920s and 30s in Ray City, GA the emergence of the Blues music genre in the local African-American community reflected its birth in the Mississippi Delta.  Folk musician, John Guthrie (1911-1985), was just a young white kid with a keen interest in music when he developed deep admiration for the talent of black musicians performing in the turpentine “Quarters” of Ray City, GA.

 

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985) , folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985) , folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

According to Allaboutjazz.com, “The Blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African-American history. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th century. Its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves – African-American sharecroppers who sang as they toiled in the cotton and vegetable fields. It’s generally accepted that he music evolved from African spirituals, African chants, work songs, field hollers, rural fife and drum music, revivalist hymns, and country dance music.

Then, “The African American music combined with the folk music of white European settlers to produce new styles of music.

In a 1977 recording, Guthrie talks of local African-American pioneers of glass slides and crying strings, and plays a brief medley of Rocking Chair Blues, “a traditional oral formular that has been used in any number of songs” according to Brian Hoskin,  and Jimmie Rodgers 1929 “Blue Yodel #6 (Blues Like Midnight).  As a young man during the Great Depression, John Guthrie sometimes impersonated Jimmie Rodgers in hopes of obtaining a free meal.

John Guthrie (recorded 1977

Folks, I’d like to go back a little bit through ages. When I was just a kid and bought my first guitar I used to go down to a place they called the “Quarters.”

Now, I want to explain that a little bit further – the Quarters. We used to have turpentine stills in this part of the country. The man that owned turpentine stills, he would build shacks or shanties down for the black people to live in. Down in those shanties or shacks they would have a little place down there where they sold soda pop…well, the colored people called it ‘soady waters.’

I’d go down there and they’d have a guitar player down there and he’d have a bottle neck on the end of his finger and he’d be playing these old black tunes. There is no white man that can play a tune just like that black man could play one.

At this time I’m going to do the best I can about the way them guys used to play guitar. They’d pull the strings and it would whine and they call it ‘cryin’ strings, now if you know what I mean.

I’m going down to the river
I’m going to take me a rocking chair
I’m going down to the river
I’m going to take me a rocking chair
And if the blues don’t leave me,
Lord I’ll rock on away from here

I got the blues like midnight
Moon shinin’ bright as day
I got the blues like midnight
Moon shinin’ bright as day
I wish a tornado would come
and blow my blues away.

Folk musician Jimmy Rodgers recorded a series of Blue Yodel songs from 1927 to his death in 1933. “Rogers’ background in blackface minstrel shows and as a railroad worker enabled him to develop a unique musical hybridization drawing from both black and white traditions, as exemplified in the Blue Yodel sounds. In his recordings Rodgers and his producer, Ralph Peer, achieved a “vernacular combination of blues, jazz, and traditional folk” to produce a style of music then called ‘hillbilly.” Rodgers’ Blue Yodel #6, also known as Blues Like Midnight, was recorded in 1929 and has been covered by Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Allman Brothers, among others.

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