Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter Died in France

Francis Marion Burkhalter (1886-1918), of Ray City, GA.

Francis Marion Burkhalter (1886-1918), of Ray City, GA.

Francis Marion Burkhalter, the eldest son of Isaac Burkhalter, Jr. and Marentha Sirmans, was born December 3, 1886 in Rays Mill (now Ray City, GA).  His father, Isaac Burkhalter, Jr (1863 – 1918) was a farmer of Ray’s Mill, with a 50 acre farm on Lot No. 422, 10th District.  His grandfather, Captain Isaac Burkhalter, was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg while in command of Company G  “Clinch Volunteers”, 50th Georgia Regiment. His mother, Marentha Sirmans, was a daughter of Benjamin J. Sirmans and Nancy A. Shaw.

Francis excelled at studies. He attended the Atlanta College of Medicine, and by the age of 22 had completed a degree in Medicine. He returned to Ray City and set up practice in 1909, joining the other medical professionals of Berrien County.

On Sunday, April 23, 1911, F. M. Burkhalter and Mattie H. Griffin were married by Judge W. D. Buie.  Mattie and her cousin Mary Griffin operated a millinery store in Nashville, GA.  She was a daughter of Kiziah Lenora Knight and Elbert J. Griffin, granddaughter of John and Sarah Knight, and grandniece of General Levi J. Knight.

Francis Marion Burkhalter and Mattie Griffin were married April 23, 1911 in Berrien County, GA

Francis Marion Burkhalter and Mattie Griffin were married April 23, 1911 in Berrien County, GA

That September, 1911, Dr. Burkhalter moved his practice to Howell, GA,  about 24 miles southeast of Ray City ( 13 miles due east of Valdosta) in Echols County.   A drugstore at Howell was operated by Benjamin Franklin Rentz, brother of Dr. Lyman U. Rentz who later practiced medicine at Ray City, GA.

In the spring of 1913, a son was born to Francis Marion and Mattie Griffin Burkhalter, April 11, 1913.  But tragically the infant died that same day. Francis and Mattie took their baby home to Ray City to be buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery.

Grave of the infant son of Mattie Griffin and Francis Marion Burkhalter, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave of the infant son of Mattie Griffin and Francis Marion Burkhalter, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Michael Dover

After two years in Howell, Burkhalter returned to Ray City to resume his practice there.  The Medical Association of Georgia places Dr. F. M. Burkhalter at Ray City in 1917, along with Dr. Lawson S. Rentz.  The Nashville doctors at that time were Dr. William Carl Rentz and Dr. Guy Selman, formerly of Ray City.  Reuben Nathaniel Burch was a doctor at Milltown.

On June 5, 1917, Francis Marion Burkhalter and his brothers, William Thomas Burkhalter and John Allen Burkhalter, all completed their registration for the draft for the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, their registration cards being completed by Lyman Franklin Giddens and Charles Oscar Terry. William Thomas Burkhalter had returned to Berrien County to register for the draft.  At the time he was working in Jacksonville, FL as a salesman for the John G. Christopher Company. John Allen Burkhalter went on to become a veterinarian and lived in Ray City for many years.

F. M.Burkhalter’s physical description was given as age 30, medium height and build, with blue eyes and brown hair.

WWI draft registration of Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter, Ray City, GA

WWI draft registration of Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter, Ray City, GA

With America’s entry into World War I, Dr. Burkhalter was called into service, along with many other men of Berrien County. Dr. Lawson Rentz went to Camp Wheeler, then to the Embarkation Service in New Jersey. Dr. Guy Selman was sent to Camp Jackson, SC.   Dr. Gordon DeVane was  busy treating the victims of Spanish Influenza at home in Berrien County; he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corp, but died before he was deployed.  In the summer of 1918 William T. Burkhalter, brother of Francis M. Burkhalter, entered the Veterinary Corps and served with Veterinary Hospital #16.

Dr. F.M. Burkhalter entered active service on March 25, 1918. He was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, then by July 19, 1918 he shipped overseas to France  with the American Expeditionary Force as a 1st Lieutenant in the Medical Corps.  Dr. Burkhalter  was with the medical detachment of the 50th Engineers, serving in the Defensive Sector and in the Meuse-Argonne campaign.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, also known as the Battle of the Argonne Forest,  was launched  late on the night of  September 25, 1918.  American reinforcements in transit to Europe included hundreds of Georgia soldiers, dozens from Berrien County, who went down with the ill-fated troopship HMS Otranto off the coast of Islay, Scotland on October 6, 1918. Among the Otranto dead were Ray City residents Ralph Knight,  and Shellie Lloyd Webb.

Arriving U.S. reinforcements were strengthening the Allied advance, but by this time the influenza epidemic was also beginning to spreading across the battlefields.  Sammie Mixon of Allenville, GA, who was fighting in the Meuse-Argonne with Company “H”, 18th Regiment, First Division, was wounded in action and died from pneumonia a few days later. Bill Sapp died of bronchial pneumonia on October 6, 1918.  Levi D. Clements of Ray City, serving with the 64th Artillery CAC contracted influenza and broncho-pneumonia and died October 11, 1918.  In the early morning hours of October 8, 1918 Isaac R. Boyett, of Adel, GA was fighting with Company C, 328th Infantry  in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive near the the French town of La Forge when he was severely wounded by machine gun fire.  Later that same day, Boyett’s regimental mate, Alvin C. York, earned the Medal of Honor for his actions in capturing 132 German soldiers at the village of Châtel-Chéhéry.  Boyett died  of his wounds two days later. Carlie Lawson also fought in the Battle of the Argonne Forest with Company G, 11th Infantry; he returned from the war and lived to be 100 years old.  Rossie O. Knight, of Ray City, served with Company C, 1st Division Ammunition Train in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive; he was gassed during the war and never fully recovered.

Shortly after the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was launched  Dr. Burkhalter became a patient himself, contracting lobar pneumonia probably as a secondary infection resulting from influenza.   He was apparently admitted to Base Hospital No. 15, located at Chaumont, France, about 160 miles east of Paris.

Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter died of lobar pneumonia at Base Hospital No. 15, Chaumont, France, WWI

Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter died of lobar pneumonia at Base Hospital No. 15, Chaumont, France, WWI

F. M. Burkhalter died at Base Hospital No. 15, Chaumont, France,  on October 8, 1918.  Of the 4,743,826  U.S. troops serving in WWI,   34,446 died from influenza-pneumonia and another 28,794 died of other diseases or accidents, totaling more than the 53,513  who died as a result of battle.

It was November 4, 1918 before Mattie Burkhalter would be informed of her husband’s death.

The Nashville Herald,
Friday, November 8, 1918

Dr. F.M. Burkhalter Died in France Oct. 8

      A telegram from the War Department, received by Mrs. F.M. Burkhalter, of Nashville Monday, announced the sad news of the death of her husband, Lieut. Frances Marion Burkhalter. Dr. Burkhalter left for France last July, arriving at his destination “somewhere in France” on July 20th. The telegram stated that he died of lobar pneumonia on the eighth of October.
      The news came as a great shock to Mrs. Burkhalter, who before her marriage, was Miss Mattie Griffin, a daughter of the late Rev. Elbert Griffin, and was the climax to a long series of trying experiences. For several weeks she has been in Ray City ill with influenza and during this time her deceased husband’s father, Dr. Isaac Burkhalter, has died, while Mrs. Burkhalter, Sr., is even now so ill with pneumonia that she is not expected to live.
       The telegram containing the news of her husband’s death reached her Monday upon her arrival in Nashville from Ray City. She was one her way to Albany to make her home with her mother, Mrs. Griffin.
       Dr. and Mrs. Burkhalter were married about eight years ago and until the fall of 1917 they lived in Ray City, where Dr. Burkhalter practiced medicine. Moving to Nashville, he practiced here until the call of his country came and he left to join the colors last spring. He was 32 years of age.
       Besides his wife are surviving him his mother, two sisters and one brother at home and one brother, Lieut. W.T. Burkhalter, who has just arrived in Siberia where he serves. 

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

The  WWI service record of Francis Marion Burkhalter documents his entry into the Medical Corps, deployment to France, death and burial.

Francis Marion Burkhalter, WWI Service Card

Francis Marion Burkhalter, WWI Service Card

He was buried in the American Cemetery at Chaumont, France, about 160 miles east of Paris.  His was one of about 573 American graves at Chaumont.

“…the shady road to Neufchateau, curv[es] down the long hillside into the valley of the Marne. At the foot of the hill is the mossy wall surrounding St. Aignan’s Cemetery, with the facade and tower of the ancient church, as old as St. Jean’s itself, half hidden behind the tombstones and the trees growing among them. Beside the wall a by-road leads down toward the Marne where, on a sheltered little plateau above the stream, lies a spot more sacred to the soldiers from the New World than any other in Chaumont—the American Military Cemetery.
      Slumbering in the deep peace of the valley, here lie buried 545 officers and soldiers of the United States Army and among them a few faithful nurses and welfare workers. Some of them died in the camps in and around Chaumont but most of them of wounds or disease at Base Hospital 15. The location and surroundings of the cemetery are most appealing. Close beside the parish cemetery it lies, the shadow of St. Aignan’s stretching across it in the afternoon and the soft tones of her bell floating over it at matins and vespers. Here, with the peculiar tenderness of the French for the places of the dead, come often the people of Chaumont, impartially bestowing their attentions upon these graves of allies and upon St. Aignan’s sepulchres; planting and tending the flowers around the mounds or hanging upon the white crosses at their heads some of those pathetic funeral wreaths of beadwrought flowers and leaves which are the universal tokens of mourning in the cemeteries of France. How much better that they should lie there forever, marshaled with the comrades of their faith and watched over by the kindred people to whose aid they came in the hour of bitter need, than that their dust should be exhumed and sent across the ocean to be scattered in the private cemeteries of city and village and countryside, inevitably to be at last neglected and forgotten! For here they may rest, as the dead in America’s other war cemeteries in France may rest, still active factors for the good of the world as everlasting symbols of the union of free peoples in a high cause. Certainly to Chaumont, knowing scarcely a single American before the great war, the cemetery beside St. Aignan’s is a bond of sympathy with the people and the institutions of the United States more strong and abiding than the most imposing monument.
So, as the lights twinkle out among the trees of the hilltop city and evening with its deep peace comes down over the valley where the fragrance of wild flowers and mown fields drifts above the serried graves and the waters of the immortal Marne whisper at their feet, let us leave both Chaumont and them, assured that here among the hills of the High Marne, fallen comrades and living friends have together reared a shrine to which the feet of Americans will come generations after the last soldier of the World War shall have received his discharge from the armies of earth.

– Joseph Mill Hampton ~ The Marne: Historic and Picturesque

By 1920, Mattie Burkhalter had moved back to Ray City with her widowed mother.  Her mother-in-law, Marentha Burkhalter, survived the pneumonia and continued to reside on the Burkhalter farm at Ray City.  Mattie and her moter made their home next to Francis’ mother and brother, John Allen  “Tete” Burkhalter.  After the war Tete Burkhalter became a veterinary surgeon at Ray City.

In 1919, the United States Army authorized the  Victory Medal in recognition of service in World War I.    Mattie Burkhalter submitted an application for a Victory Medal for her deceased husband.   F. M. Burkhalter, Eugene Rudolph Knight, Leon Clyde Miller, William B. Register, Henry Watts and Rossie O. Knight were among the Ray City men receiving the award.

Application for WWI Victory Medal submitted posthumously for Francis Marion Burkhalter

Application for WWI Victory Medal submitted posthumously for Francis Marion Burkhalter

Despite the tender care shown the WWI dead by the town of Chaumont, France, the grieving families in America were desirous that the bodies of their loved ones should be brought home to rest.  In 1921, the bodies in the American Cemetery, including the body of F. M. Burkhalter, were exhumed and returned to the States. The citizens of Chaumont erected a monument to mark the sacred ground where the fallen American soldiers  had briefly rested.

Beside the road just in front of St. Aignan’s chapel is the site of the American Cemetery, which lay something like two years beside the older French Parish cemetery.

The weeds and rough grass now cloaking the upheaved ground sloping down to the Marne would hardly betray to a stranger that here had been the resting place of the bodies of hundreds of brave men, most of whom died in Base Hospital No. 15, until they were removed for return to the United States or final interment in one of our permanent cemeteries in France. But with the fine delicacy of feeling, so often shown by them in such matters, the French have commemorated the fact for years to come in the dignified monument beside Neuf Chateau road which bears on its face, side by side, the Coats of Arms of the United States and of Chaumont and the legend in French:

“1917-1921. This simple stone will recall to future generations that here has been a cemetery containing the bodies of more than six hundred American soldiers who fought at our sides for right and liberty.”

– Nora Elizabeth Daly ~ Memoirs of a WWI Nurse

Monument to the Americans buried at Chaumont, FR. The bodies were exhumed in 1921 and returned to the States or moved to permanent American cemeteries in France. Image source: Doughboy Center http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/monument.htm

Monument to the Americans buried at Chaumont, FR. The bodies were exhumed in 1921 and returned to the States or moved to permanent American cemeteries in France. Image source: Doughboy Center http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/monument.htm

The remains of Francis Marion Burkhalter was returned to Ray City, GA and re-interred at Beaver Dam Cemetery. In 1934, Mrs. Marentha Burkhalter applied for a military headstone to mark his final resting place.

Application for a military headstone for the grave of Francis Marion Burkhalter.

Application for a military headstone for the grave of Francis Marion Burkhalter.

Grave of Francis Marion Burkhalter, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave of Francis Marion Burkhalter, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

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Walter G. Altman

Walter G Altman (1895 -1943)

Walter G. Altman was born 15 May 1895 in Cordele, GA. The 1900 census shows that at age  five he was living with his parents, James & Louisa Altman, and family in a rented home in the vicinity of Bowens Mill, GA.

1900 Census enumeration of Walter G. Altman and family, Bowens Mill, GA. https://archive.org/stream/12thcensusofpopu229unit#page/n241/mode/1up

1900 Census enumeration of Walter G. Altman and family, Bowens Mill, GA. https://archive.org/stream/12thcensusofpopu229unit#page/n241/mode/1up

 

Prior to 1917, Walter Altman had been living with his parents, James & Leslie Altman, and four of his siblings in Nashville, GA. All together, he had eight brothers and sisters. Walter attended school through the 8th Grade.

The Altmans worked a rented farm in Nashville. Walter and his brother, Wilbur Altman, worked with their father in general farming.

Some time between 1910 and 1917 the Altmans moved to Ray City, GA.  Walter registered for the draft there on June 5, 1917.  At the age of 22 he was still single, still living with his parents. He was medium height, medium build, brown eyes, and dark hair. He was working as a clerk for Nix & Miller Co sawmill operation, one of the historic businesses of Ray City.

In 1918 Walter Greene Altman married Leslie Alma Langford.  She was a daughter of William E. Langford and Mary Virginia Knight, and sister of Luther Etheldred Langford. Like Walter she had an  8th grade education.

Shortly after marrying, Walter went into the ice business.  Later he owned a cafe where Leslie worked as a waitress. By 1920,  Walter G. Altman owned a mortgaged home on Jones Street in Ray City, GA (now 506 Jones Street).

 

When census taker  Annie Patterson enumerated the household of Walter and Leslie Altman  for the 1920 census, she found the young couple with their newborn son, Walter Jr.  Walter’s parents were living in a home just a few houses down the street, along with Walter’s siblings Wilbur and Eva.  The neighbors were the Wright family, and the grocer Abe Levin and his family.  Other neighbors included merchants of Ray City:  men like Gordon V. Hardie, butcher; and Claud Clements, grocer.

At 24 years of age, Walter was working as a self-employed ice dealer, supplying the homes and businesses of Ray City with ice.   His brother Wilbur was also in the ice business. Ray City built a municipal electric plant in 1922, but dependable home electric service and electric refrigerators would not be available in the town until the 1930s.    In the 1920s, small towns  had ice delivery men, such as Wilbur and Walter, or Ferris Moore, who regularly supplied ice to chill ice boxes in local homes and businesses.

In the census of 1930, Walter Altman was again enumerated at Ray City. That year the enumeration included a count of citizens who owned radio sets.   In all of Ray City, there were only eight radio sets within the city limits, the owners being Walter Altman, James A. Grissett, John D. Luke, Henry Swindle, Marvin Purvis, John Simpkins, Joseph Johnson and Fannie Parks.  The average cost of a radio in 1929 was around $139 dollars. In terms of comparable “affordability” for an average person in today’s dollars (2010 index) this would be like making a $7,600 purchase (relative worth based on nominal GDP per capita index – see MeasuringWorth.com).

In 1928, Walter G. Altman ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the City Council:

Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929
City Officers Take Seat on January 14

The following city officers were elected in the election held in the early part of December, L. S. Giddens, mayor, J. D. Luke, J. A. Purvis, Y. F. Carter, W. H. E. Terry, councilmen.
J. M. Studstill opposed Giddens for mayor.  W. G. Altman, J. S. Clements and W. W. Woods were on the opposite ticket for councilmen.
The new officers will  be sworn in Monday night –text illegible– L. F.  Giddens over Edmond Griner.

The Altmans moved to Jacksonville, FL some time before 1935.    In that year, they had a home at 1035 East Church Street.  By 1940 they were back in Ray City renting a home for $5 a month. Census records indicate Walter G. Altman was disabled, with no income.  His neighbors included Elzie Kelly, an ex convict who served time on a chain gang, and Joe Burgman, who was farming the place next door.

1940 census enumeration of Walter G. Altman

1940 census enumeration of Walter G. Altman

Walter G. Altman died April 1, 1943.  His grave is at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA along with others of the Altman Family connection.

Graves of Walter G. Altman and Leslie A. Altman, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Graves of Walter G. Altman and Leslie A. Altman, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

 

Twiggs Caulk Felled by Typhoid Pneumonia

Twiggs Caulk

Samuel “Twiggs” Caulk was  a son of  Emma L. Henderson and James Allen Caulk, born in Madison, FL on December 31, 1889.  His father died when Twiggs was about eight years old.  When he was 15, his mother was remarried to Ray’s Mill widower Edward J. Boyette.

In the Census of  1910, Twigg’s mother and sisters were enumerated in the household of Edward J. Boyette at Ray’s Mill, GA. The Boyette home was on Jones Street near the home of Dr. Charles X. Jones.  Boyette was a butcher, operating a meat market in Ray City on his own account. Twiggs Caulk was not enumerated in his step-father’s house, and his home at that time is not known.

The obituary below indicates that Twiggs Caulk contracted Typhoid pneumonia in 1911.  In an apparent mis-print the obituary refers to E.J. Boyette as his father-in-law, rather than as his step-father.

Obituary of William J. Lamb ~ died June 13, 1908

William Joseph Lamb was a confederate veteran who long resided in Georgia Militia District 1144, the Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City) District, Berrien County, GA. His father was William Lamb and his mother was parents, Margaret Carroll, sister of Jesse and James Carroll.  His parents were early settlers of Milltown, now Lakeland, GA.

1908 Photo Detail - William Joseph Lamb (1837-1908) ~ Confederate Veteran

1908 Photo Detail – William Joseph Lamb (1837-1908) ~ Confederate Veteran

William Joseph Lamb, subject of this post, was the younger brother of John C. Lamb, who owned and operated a store in Milltown prior to the Civil War. When the war broke out William J Lamb joined General Levi J. Knight’sBerrien County Minute Men,” Company C , Georgia 29th Infantry Regiment in Nashville, GA on August 1, 1861 (see William J. Lamb ~ Confederate Veteran.)  His brother John joined Company K, 29th Infantry at Milltown. In “Early Settlers of South Georgia“, historian Folks Huxford wrote, “Mr. [John C.] Lamb was elected its first captain. At a re-organizaton of the company, held a few months later, Captain Lamb was promoted to major of his regiment, and Thomas S. Wiley succeeded him as captain. This company took part in all the battles of the western wing of the Confederate army, which suffered much in the Mississippi campaign of 1864. In the battle at or near Jackson, Miss., Major Lamb was killed.”

William J. Lamb survived the war and afterward returned to Berrien County, GA where he married Mary Elizabeth Carroll (see The Poetry of Mary Elizabeth Carroll.) He died at the age of 71, and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

William Joseph Lamb died June 13, 1908.  His obituary appeared in th June 23, 1908 edition of The Valdosta Times.

William Joseph Lamb died June 13, 1908. His obituary appeared in th June 23, 1908 edition of The Valdosta Times.

Mr. Wm. Lamb Dead.

      Mr. Wm. Lamb, a prominent citizen of the Rays Mill district died Saturday at the home of a son just over in Lowndes county.
      Mr. Lamb  was about seventy years of age and was reared in this county.  He had lived at his home in this county many years and was well known by the people of the county.    The deceased was an upright man, a devout member of the Christian church and was held in esteem by his neighbors and friends.  He is survived by several children, his wife having died about a year ago.
    The funeral was held at Beaver Dam cemetery Sunday. – Adel News.

William Joseph Lamb (1837 - 1908).  Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

William Joseph Lamb (1837 – 1908). Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Knight Family Outing

Knight Family of Ray City, GA

Knight family of Ray City, GA.  Walter Knight is among those pictured.

Knight family of Ray City, GA. Walter Knight is among those pictured.

Walter Howard Knight, a son of William Washington Knight (1829 – 1863) and  Mary E Carroll (1839 – 1906), is among the Knight family members in the photo above.  He was born November 28, 1859 in Berrien Co., GA and died June  13, 1934.  Walter Howard Knight is buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Luther E Langford

Luther Elthedred Langford, Ray City, GA native and descendant of General Levi J. Knight.

Luther Elthedred Langford, Ray City, GA native and descendant of General Levi J. Knight.

Luther Etheldred Langford (1879-1957)

Luther Etheldred Langford was born November 12, 1879 at Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA, the firstborn child of William E. Langford (1854 – 1933) and Mary Virginia Knight (1856 – 1916). His paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Ray, the sister of Thomas M. Ray who co-founded Ray’s Mill. His paternal grandfather, Etheldred Langford, was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Gettysburg. On his mother’s side, he was a grandson of William Washington Knight, and a great grandson of Levi J. Knight, original settler of Ray City.

Luther E. Langford married Amanda Asbell October 23, 1910 in Colquitt County, GA.  She was born February 7, 1887.

Luther Etheldred Langford and Amanda Asbell

Luther Etheldred Langford and Amanda Asbell “Mandy” Langford, of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Johnnie Mobley.

Luther and Amanda Langford made their home in  Berrien County, Georgia.  On Sept 12, 1918 Luther reported to the Berrien county draft registration board, where his WWI draft card was completed by registrar D.A. Sapp. Luther’s occupation at the time he registered was farming, self-employed. At 39 years of age, he was tall and slender with gray eyes and light hair. His farm place on Rt 2, Ray City, Ga,  was located about 1 mile east of town on the old Milltown (now Lakeland) – Ray City Road.

Luther and Amanda spent their lives in Berrien County raising crops and children.

Sadly, one child was taken from them while just a tot.  The September 4, 1925  Nashville Herald reported the tragic death: “Little Muriel Langford, the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Langford, who resides about a mile from Ray City on the Milltown-Ray City road died Tuesday morning from what was thought to be the bite of a rattle snake.”  (See Ray City Child Dies From Bite of Rattle Snake, 1925)
Children of Amanda Asbell and Luther E. Langford:

  1. Edwin Vasco Langford, born August 2,  1917 ; died 2005  – Served in WWII; taught at Ray City School after the War.
  2. Leland Etheldred Langford, born July 10, 1919; died 1949
  3. Merle Elizabeth Langford  born May 31, 1922; died 1925
  4. Merice Lancing Langford  born June 22, 1926; died 1993
  5. Lillian Allene Langford born September 16, 1929 –
  6. Clyde Rudolph Langford born September 15, 1931; died 2006

Luther Etheldred Langford died 11 May 1957. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia, USA

Gravemarker of Luther Etheldred Langford and Amanda Asbell Langford, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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RAY CITY RESIDENTS LAID TO FINAL REST

Eighty-eight years ago today…

Atlanta Constitution Nov 11, 1923

RAY CITY RESIDENTS LAID TO FINAL REST

Milltown, Ga., November 10.-(Special.)- Two funerals were held in Ray City Thursday, Jewel, 8, son of Mr. and Mrs. Manning Surcey, died of acute Bright’s disease Wednesday night and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery Thursday afternoon. Elder Aaron Knight conducted the funeral services. Henery Purvis, 52, died Wednesday night at his home in Ray City, following a stroke of paralysis. He is survived by his wife. His body was taken to New Adeal late Thursday afternoon for burial.

Data from the 1920 Census shows that Jewel Cersey was the son of Lula Goodin and  Manning A. Cersey.  Jewel’s father, a sawmill fireman, was an employee of the Clements Lumber Company, which was situated about a mile north of Ray City, GA. The family lived in rented house at the sawmill, one of many in the sawmill neighborhood probably owned by the company.

Name Relationship Birth Place of Birth Race Occupation
Manning A Cersey Head of household abt 1889 Georgia White Sawmill Fireman
Lula Cersey Wife abt 1896 Georgia White
Vera J Cersey Daughter abt 1911 Georgia White
Clinton A Cersey Son abt 1913 Georgia White
Jewel T Cersey Son abt 1916 Georgia White
Grave of Jewel Cersey (1916-1923), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave of Jewel Cersey (1916-1923), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Beagles/Biggles/Beigles of Rays Mill

After the Civil War, John Jefferson Beagles, subject of previous post, and his family made their home in Alachua County, Florida and took their mail at Gainesville, FL.  He was enumerated there in 1870 as Jefferson Beigle.

John Jefferson Beagles

John Jefferson Beagles

The confusion over the family surname seems obvious, and additional recorded variations of the name include Bigles, Beigles, Beacols, Birgles, Bugles, or Beagley.  No doubt, the illiteracy of John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright was a contributing factor in the proliferation of Beagles variants.

http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,77217

John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright Beagles

John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright Beagles. (Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation http://berriencountyga.com/)C 1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family. 1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family.

The previous post gave the account of John Jefferson Beagles Confederate service, and his time in the Pioneer Corps.

The 1870 census enumerated John Jefferson Beagles at age 40. He was working on a farm in Alachua County, FL.  His wife, Nancy Catherine, age 30, was keeping house. Living with them were their children Thomas,  Mena, William, and as yet unnamed infant daughter Mary.

1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family.

1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family.

http://www.archive.org/stream/populationschedu0128unit#page/n160/mode/1up

By 1880 the Beagles relocated to Cat Creek, about 10 miles southwest of Ray City. Their home was in Lowndes County,  in the 1307 Georgia Militia District. John Jefferson Beagles was enumerated as “John Biggles,” with his wife, Nancy, and children William, Mary, Ella, Bryant, Hiram, Nancy, and Lacy.

http://www.archive.org/stream/10thcensus0156unit#page/n99/mode/1up

In 1887 John Jefferson Beagles and his son, James Thomas Biggles, were involved in a family quarrel with in which James shot and killed his brother-in-law, Madison Pearson.  The shooting occurred at H.H. Knight’s store in Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City). Afterwards, J. J. Beagles helped his son to escape the crowd that witnessed the killing.

The younger Beagles fled the area but eventually returned to Berrien County to stand trial before Judge Augustin H. Hansell.  James Thomas Beagles was convicted and sentenced to serve time in the convict camp at Fargo, GA.

In 1900 John J. Beagles was enumerated in the 1144 Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill district.  At age 70, he was working as a brick mason.  John and Nancy were living in a rented house. Their son, Hiram, was renting the house next door.

http://www.archive.org/stream/12thcensusofpopu179unit#page/n764/mode/1up

Nancy Catherine Wright Biggles

Grave marker of Nancy Catherine Wright Biggles, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

In 1903, J. J. Beagles was left a widower when his wife of  42 years died.  Nancy  Catherine Wright Beagles died on the 5th of January.  She was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Her grave marker bears the surname, Biggles.

The census of 1910 shows the widower J.J. Beagles was  back in the Cat Creek District. living in the household of his son, L. O. Beagles.  At 81, the senior Beagles was still working on his own account as a brick mason.

Some time before 1920, John Jefferson Beagles died. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, as stated above.


http://www.archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po202unit#page/n512/mode/1up

Children of John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright (1835 – 1903)

  1. James Thomas Beagles 1861 – 1911
  2. William “Willie” Beagles 1866 – 1957
  3. Mary Catherine “Minnie” Beagles 1868 – 1929
  4. Ella A. C. Beagles 1870 – 1928
  5. Bryant Beagles 1872 – 1954
  6. Hiram B. Beagles 1874 – 1957
  7. Nancy Catherine Beagles 1835-1903

 

Related articles

The Pioneer Corps

John Jefferson Beagles (1829-1916)

John Jefferson Beagles, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave of John Jefferson Beagles, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

At Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA a simple white marble headstone marks the grave of Confederate veteran John Jefferson Beagles. John Jefferson Beagles was the father of James Thomas Beagles, subject of previous posts (Family Feud at Rays Mill, The Biggles Farm). The marker commemorates the senior Beagles’ service in the Pioneer Corps, Company K, 61st Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry.

Just three months before the cannon fire on Fort Sumter signaled the opening of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, John Jefferson Beagles married Nancy Catherine Wright  in Laurens County, GA.  They were joined in matrimony on January 10, 1861 by Justice of the Peace Andrew Bedingfield.

By July of 1861, the newlywed J.J. Beagles had enlisted in the Confederate Infantry. He was mustered in September 13, 1861 at Whitesville, GA.

John Jefferson Beagles

John Jefferson Beagles

From Company Muster Rolls, it appears that John Jefferson Beagles spent the first three months of service with Company C, of the 26th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry,

Private G. W. Nichols Describes the 26th Regiment

The Twenty-Sixth Georgia Regiment was organized in Brunswick, Ga., October, 1861. It was armed with Enfield rifles and was soon ordered to St. Simon’s Island, seven miles east of Brunswick. Here it had to work very hard, building a fort and other batteries, and fighting sand flies and mosquitos and drilling with its heavy siege-guns, and company and battalion drills with the small arms. They had to do a lot of picketing. After they finished the fort and other batteries, they were ordered to move all of their heavy guns back to Brunswick and the regiment was ordered to Savannah, Ga. From here it was ordered to Camp Beulah, twelve miles from Savannah, near Green Island Sound, and back to the shell road, where the regiment reorganized and re-enlisted for three years, or during the war.

The Twenty-sixth Georgia Regiment was made up entirely with South Georgians, who were brought up in a thinly settled country where there were but few schools. The most of them were taught early how to handle and use a gun, and could kill the fleet-footed deer, panther, wolf, bear, wild-cat and fox running at break-neck speed or could take off a squirrel’s head with the old plantation rifle.

From January  to May of 1862 Beagles was detailed to Company E, 26th Regiment (later known as Company E, 61st Regiment),  a Montgomery County unit known as the Montgomery Sharpshooters.

With the May Reorganization, Beagles was transferred to the newly formed Company K, 61st Regiment under Captain E. F. Sharp.

The 61st Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry was present at the Battle of Gaines' Mill. The Battle of Gaines's Mill, sometimes known as the First Battle of Cold Harbor or the Battle of Chickahominy River, took place on June 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia, as the third of the Seven Days Battles.

The 61st Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry was present at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill. The Battle of Gaines’ Mill, sometimes known as the First Battle of Cold Harbor or the Battle of Chickahominy River, took place on June 27, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia, as the third of the Seven Days Battles.

Muster rolls show that John Jefferson Beagles was with Company K , 61st Regiment  Georgia Volunteer Infantry from May 1862 through April 1863. In August, 1862 the 61st Regiment was at the Second Battle of Bull Run. In September they were at the Battle of Antietam; in December, at Fredericksburg. In May of 1863, the 61st Georgia Regiment was at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

It appears that around that time, Beagles may have left his unit temporarily.

According to the New Georgia encyclopedia:

Desertion plagued Georgia regiments during the Civil War (1861-65) and, in addition to other factors, debilitated the Confederate war effort. Deserters were not merely cowards or ne’er-do-wells; some were seasoned veterans from battle-hardened regiments…Georgians’ sense of duty to alleviate the social and economic hardships endured by their families and communities encouraged Confederates to abandon the ranks and return home.

At any rate, Beagles returned to his unit, for the records show that on May 18,1863 he was court martialed under  General Orders No. 64. General Orders No. 64, offered amnesty to Confederate deserters who returned to service. This was in contrast to the fate of Yaller Chapman, even though he fought with other units.

In July and August, 1863 Beagles was “Absent – sick in hospital.” He may have been out during the Battle of Gettysburg, but in September he was again with his unit and was present through February of 1864.  During this period, the 61st GA Regiment was not engaged in any major battles.

The actions and engagements of the 61st Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry have been chronicled in A soldier’s story of his regiment (61st Georgia) and incidentally of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans brigade, Army northern Virginia” by Private G. W. Nichols.

In  March of 1864, Beagles was detailed to the Pioneer Corps.

The soldiers in the Pioneer Corps were assigned from Infantry divisions to work under the direction of the Engineer Corps. The confederate engineers were responsible for the construction and maintenance of river, coast and harbor defenses, and other constructions of war. The Pioneer Corps would have participated in the construction of earthworks and entrenchments,  fortifications, pontoon bridges and the like.

The Photographic History of the Civil War: Forts and artillery describes the works of the Pioneer Corps and the Engineer Corps:

“The great battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, on the way to Petersburg, were but a succession of attacks upon improvised fortresses, defeats for the assaulting troops, flank movements to a new position, new entrenchments, new assaults, new flank movements, and so on continuously. The stronger Northern army never overcame the weaker Southern legions so long as the latter remained in the trenches. The preponderance of numbers enabled the Federal armies to extend ever to the left, reaching out the long left arm to get around the flank of the Confederate positions. This was the final operation in front of Petersburg. To meet the continuously extending left of the Federals, Lee’s lines became dangerously thin, and he had to evacuate his works. He was not driven out by the foes assaulting the works themselves until his lines became so thin that they were broken by weight of numbers.”

The cost of assaults on entrenchments during all these late campaigns of the war was tremendous. The losses in Grant’s army from the time he crossed the Rapidan until he reached the James—a little over a month—were nearly equal to the strength of the entire Confederate army opposing him at the outset. Again, at Petersburg, the attack cost the Union army, in killed and wounded, a number almost equal to the entire force of the foe actually opposed.
As for the profile, showing the strength of parapet of the works employed, there was no fixed rule, and the troops used arbitrary measures. Ten to fifteen feet of fairly solid earth generally sufficed to withstand the heaviest cannon, while a thickness of two feet and a low parapet would protect against rifle fire. If logs or other heavy timber were at hand, the thickness of the parapet could be correspondingly reduced. It was found that even a slight work, if held by strong rifle fire, always prevailed against the advancing force, unless the latter attacked in overwhelming numbers.

Beagles was with the Pioneer Corps when the 61st Georgia Regiment was engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness in early May. The battle was bloody but inconclusive, and was immediately followed by sporadic fighting from May 8 through May 21, 1864 at the strategic crossroads near Spotsylvania Court House. Again inconclusive, the Battle of Spotsylvania was even bloodier with almost 32,000 casualties on both sides.

The Pioneer Corps, details from the Confederate Infantry Divisions, worked under the supervision of the Engineer Corps to build earthworks, fortifications, pontoon bridges, and other structures for war. The soldiers of the 61st Georgia Regiment detailed to the Pioneer Corp probably helped to construct the extensive confederate entrenchments at the Siege of Petersburg, fought June 9, 1864 to March 25, 1865.

The Pioneer Corps, details from the Confederate Infantry Divisions, worked under the supervision of the Engineer Corps to build earthworks, fortifications, pontoon bridges, and other structures for war. The soldiers of the 61st Georgia Regiment detailed to the Pioneer Corps probably helped to construct the extensive confederate entrenchments at the Siege of Petersburg, fought June 9, 1864 to March 25, 1865.

On June 16, 1864 J. J. Beagles drew new clothing.  In September he drew new clothing again. The records show that in 1864 on Oct 17 John Jefferson Beagles deserted. This was just two days before  Confederate General Early decided to launch a surprise attack across Cedar Creek, VA in the early morning hours of October 19, 1864. The 61st regiment was involved in the Battle of Cedar Creek, along with the 5oth Georgia Regiment , and other confederate units.

In the last regimental  note on John Beagles, he appears on a list  of paroled prisoners at Provost Marshal’s office, Bowling Green, VA,  May 4, 1865.  The record notes that he was sent to Montgomery County, GA.

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Related Posts:

Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon, subject of the previous post (Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells), was born on January 1, 1890, a daughter of Mary I. Clance and William Henry Mixon. The census of 1910 shows Mamie living with her parents in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, GA where her father was farming on his own account.  After her marriage to Joe Spells, she and her husband made their home  in the 1157 Georgia Militia District on the farm of her step-father, Henry T. Cersey.  Mamie died in childbirth in 1926 and was buried in Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Mary Lee "Mamie" Mixon Spells, Wife of J.J. Spells, January 1, 1890 -  July 29, 1926, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon Spells, Wife of J.J. Spells, January 1, 1890 – July 29, 1926, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

The obituary for Mamie Spells published in the Valdosta Times gave the date of her death as July 31, 1926, but the grave marker gives the death date as July 29, 1926.

Joseph John “Joe” Spells was a son of Mary Matilda Browning and George Spells.  Joe’s father was one of the pioneer settlers of Lowndes County, GA.

Joseph John "Joe" Spells (April 15, 1895 - March 13, 1961), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Joseph John “Joe” Spells (April 15, 1895 – March 13, 1961), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Joe Spell (or Spells) is buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County,  GA. He rests with the grave of his first wife, Mamie Mixon Spells, on his left and the grave of his second wife,  Matilda “Della” Richardson Spell, on his right.

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