Melvin Plair

Melvin Plair of Lois community near Ray City, a son of Effie Mozelle Moore and Eugene Plair. In the 1940s, the Plairs rented a farm on the Nashville and Valdosta Highway.

Melvin Plair, Senior at Berrien High School, 1955. In high school he played basketball and baseball, and was a senior superlative by his classmates.  He was on the Student Council and the Annual Staff, and a member of the “N” Club.

Melvin Plair, 1955, Senior

Melvin Plair, 1955, Senior

Melvin Plair played on the 1952-53 Nashville High Sschool boys basketball team. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Melvin Plair played on the 1952-53 Nashville High Sschool boys basketball team. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Melvin Plair, 1953 at Nashville High School

Melvin Plair, 1953 at Nashville High School

In 1955, Melvin Plair played baseball for the Alapaha.

The Nashville Herald, front page, June 23, 1955 Photo caption: ALAPAHA LIONS BASEBALL SQUAD – Berrien County’s representative in the Twin-Rivers Baseball League this year is the young and talented Alapaha Lions Club team pictured above. Players, front row, L-R, James Moore, Edwin Register, Charles Matthews, Billy Sanderson, Weyman Vickers; middle row L-R, Melvin Plair, Joe Dixon, Russell Nix, Garland McMillan, Joe Peach; back row L-R, Manager Buford Powell, Tommie Vickers, J.C. Rowe, Rufus Powell, Harvey Dorsey, Coach Julian Paulk. Squad members not present for picture include Don Haskins, Hubert Moore and Pete Williams. – Photo by Wink Rogers.

The Nashville Herald, front page, June 23, 1955 Photo caption: ALAPAHA LIONS BASEBALL SQUAD – Berrien County’s representative in the Twin-Rivers Baseball League this year is the young and talented Alapaha Lions Club team pictured above. Players, front row, L-R, James Moore, Edwin Register, Charles Matthews, Billy Sanderson, Weyman Vickers; middle row L-R, Melvin Plair, Joe Dixon, Russell Nix, Garland McMillan, Joe Peach; back row L-R, Manager Buford Powell, Tommie Vickers, J.C. Rowe, Rufus Powell, Harvey Dorsey, Coach Julian Paulk. Squad members not present for picture include Don Haskins, Hubert Moore and Pete Williams. – Photo by Wink Rogers. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Senior Superlatives, BHS Class of 1955, Francis Gray and Melvin Plair

Senior Superlatives, BHS Class of 1955, Frances Gray and Melvin Plair

Melvin Plair and Frances Gray were later married.

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Frances Cornelius

Frances Cornelius, born 1938,  lived with her family on Possum Creek Road just west of Ray City, GA.  Her father, Shellie Wade Cornelius, was a bus driver for the Ray City School and her mother, Pearl Williams Cornelius was a teacher.

Frances Cornelius, 1952-53 sophomore at Ray City School

Frances Cornelius, 1952-53 sophomore at Ray City School


Frances "Frankie" Cornelius, Senior, Class of 1955, Berrien High School, Nashville, GA

Frances “Frankie” Cornelius, Senior, Class of 1955, Berrien High School, Nashville, GA

At Berrien High School, Frances Cornelius was a member of 4-H, Glee Club, Tri-Hi-Y, and Future Homemakers of America. She also play on the Girls basketball team and was a cheerleader.

Obituary of Mason Clements

Mason Clements was a son of James Irwin Clements and Annie Mae Carter Clements,  and  graduated with the Ray City High School Class of 1943.

1950

1950

From Ray City, Georgia… Mason Clements was a three-year letterman for The Professors baseball team  at Georgia Teachers College in 1947, 1948 and 1949… Played major role in the rebirth of the baseball program after 12-year hiatus… Played for three coaches – R.I. DeWitt in ‘47, J.B. Scearce in ‘48 and J.I. Clements in ‘49… Helped Professors to three-year record of 41-21.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Mr. Mason C. Clements entered in to rest at his residence on Wednesday April 19, 2006. He was the son of the late James Irwin Clements and Annie Mae Carter Clements. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Fay Joyner Clements; two sons, Mason Carter Clements, Jr., and wife, Donna, of Atlanta, GA, James Bert Clements, and wife, Sondra, of Atlanta, GA; one daughter Beverly Fay Clements Dye, and husband, Nathaniel, of Evans; six grandchildren, Katherine Clements Epilito, Bonnie Leigh Clements Sapp, Ashley Lauren Clements, Mason Bert Clements, Michelle Weltch Dye, and Jennifer Carter Dye; one great grandchild, Gavin Keith Sapp; and one brother, William Keith Clements, and wife, Joanne of Arlington, TX Mr. Clements was born in Palmetto, FL, having made Augusta his home since 1952. He served with honor during World War II in the United States Marine Corps at the Battle of Iwo Jima. He further distinguished himself as a student athlete at Georgia Southern University where he graduated in 1950. There he was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities and to the Athletic Hall of Fame. Almost fifty-five years after graduation, Georgia Southern honored him with the Mason Clements Wall of Fame at the newly renovated J.I. Clements Stadium which was named after his late brother. He has received recognition throughout his business and community life through his service as President of Ammons Grocery Company, the Georgia Wholesale Grocers Association, and the Exchange Club of Augusta. He was a past member of the Board of Governors of the Augusta Country Club, the Board of Directors of Wachovia Bank of Georgia, and the Athletic Association Board of Georgia Southern University. Mr. Clements was a life long Baptist and a member of the First Baptist Church of Augusta for 52 years where he served on the Board of Deacons. Internment will be at Westover Memorial Park on Friday, April 21, 2006 at 11:00 am with Dr. Timothy Owings and Dr. Rodger Murchison officiating. Pallbearers will be Mr. Daniel P. Matheny, Mr. A. Roy Krouse, Mr. William E. Blanchard, Mr. Patrick G. Smith, Dr. John J. Cudd, Mr. William P. Stevens, Mr. W.T. Bolick, Jr., and Mr. Royce Boone. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Crusaders Sunday School Class and the Exchange Club of Augusta. In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the First Baptist Church Chapel Fund, 3500 Walton Way, Augusta, GA, 30909, American Cancer Society, 2623 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 30904, American Heart Association, 1105-D Fury’s Lane, Martinez, GA, 30907. Platt’s Funeral Home, 721 Crawford Ave. Augusta, GA 30904 706-733-3636 – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/augustachronicle/obituary.aspx?n=mason-c-clements&pid=17494951&fhid=6207#sthash.4XD8KVyD.dpuf

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J.I. Clements, Jr. Goes to College

Clements Lumber Company and the Company Town

November 6, 1923 ~ Big Fire Loss at the Ray City Sawmill

Jack Knight, Valdosta State Slugger

Jack Knight (March 2, 1934 – November 28, 2009)

As a young man, Judge William Daniel “Jack” Knight was among the hometown athletes of Ray City, GA. He was , son of Elias M. “Hun” Knight and Gladys Daniel Knight.

Jack Knight, Class of 1951, Ray City School, Ray City, GA

Jack Knight was raised at Ray City, GA where he attended the Ray City public schools. His father built the Mayhaw Lake Resort in 1914 and was a farmer and businessman of Ray City. Jack graduated with the Ray City High School class of 1951.  He continued his education at Valdosta State College. He excelled at sports in high school and college; he was the leading scorer for the Ray City Beavers basketball team, and was a member of the first baseball team ever fielded by Valdosta State College.

1950-51 Beavers, Ray City School boys basketball team, Ray City, GA

Jack Knight with the 1950-51 Beavers, Ray City School boys basketball team, Ray City, GA. Team mates at Ray City included Billy Moore, Wendell Clements, Curtis Skinner, James Walter Temples, Jimmy Gaskins, Murray Comer, Thomas Studstill, Charles Scarboro, Robert Conner Jimmy Grissett, Talton Rouse, and Junior Cornelius.

Jack graduated from VSC with a Bachelor of Science degree, and went on to the University of Georgia Law School where he received his L. L. B. degree.  He practiced law in Nashville, Georgia.  He served as a Ray City Councilman, State Representative, and as a judge of the Superior Courts of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, 1977-1996.

Jack Knight on the 1955 Valdosta State College baseball team.

Jack Knight played on the 1955 Valdosta State College baseball team.  The VSC Rebel Diamondmen included Jack Knight and Murray Comer of Ray City, GA, Sam McGowen, Buck Pafford, Ashley Hill, Jack Bates, Ed Deaton, John Mobley, Gene Gray, Robert McElvey, Milton Blaine, Bob Green, Noel George, Coach Cottingham.

The Valdosta State College baseball team, under the coaching of Walter Cottingham, showed up very well under fire last year.  VSC is entering its second year of intercollegiate baseball competition and has become affiliated with the Georgia Intercollegiate Baseball Conference. A total of eighteen games are scheduled for this season. Victory may not be certain but excitement is!  – 1955 VSC Pinecone

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SAVE THE DATE!

Many interesting sports stories are coming to light as the Berrien County Historical Foundation prepares for an exhibit on  Hometown Teams, A Smithsonian Exhibit. The Hometown Teams Exhibit opens August 13 – September 24, 2016, at the Nashville Community Center, Nashville, GA.

berrien-hometown-teams-b

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William Lamar Parham ~ Scholar, Athlete, Soldier

Some interesting stories are coming to light as the Berrien County Historical Foundation prepares for an exhibit on  Hometown Teams, A Smithsonian Exhibit, to open in 2016. One local sports standout was William Lamar Parham – a scholar, athlete and soldier of Berrien County.

William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA. West Point Class of 1931.

William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA. West Point Class of 1931.

William Lamar Parham (1907-1932) was a son of Charlie S. Parham and Lola Lee Giddens. His father came to live at Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA in 1898 where he met Lola, a daughter of  Fannie Baskins and  William Knight Giddens.  After marriage, his parents made their home in Nashville, GA.

A previous post on the Ray City history blog gave a sketch of  Lamar’s father, Charlie S. Parham, written in 1937, but  Bryan Shaw, of the Berrien Historical Foundation, noted the conspicuous absence of Lamar in that biography:

“The 1937 biography of Charlie S. Parham  indicates he had two children in 1936. Actually he had two children surviving at that time [Verne Parham, b. 1905; Lola Marie Parham, b. abt 1911]. Charlie and Lola actually had four children. One of their first children died in infancy, no name known. However they had another child, William Lamar Parham who was born in 1907.

Like his father, Lamar was an aggressive learner. He completed his high schooling in Nashville at the age of 16, and entered college … that same year. He earned a B.A. degree in three years, graduating in 1927, age 19.

At North Georgia Agricultural College (now the University of North Georgia), William Lamar Parham played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the literary society and the Sigma Nu Fraternity.

At North Georgia Agricultural College (now the University of North Georgia), William Lamar Parham played football, basketball, and baseball. He was a member of the literary society, the Sigma Nu Fraternity, and the college band.

Lamar went to college  at North Georgia Agricultural College (now known as the University of North Georgia), at Dahlonega, GA.  North Georgia was founded as a military college, sometimes known as “Georgia’s ‘West Point’,” and Lamar enrolled as a military cadet.   Among others  from Berrien County who were in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia  were Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953), Jamie Connell (1920-1973), James Arthur Grissett (1932-2010), and Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014).

Lamar completed his Bachelors degree at North Georgia and graduated in 1927.

He then was accepted at Army’s West Point Academy, where he spent 4 years, earning his commission. While at West Point he was on the varsity football, baseball, and wrestling teams, lettering in all sports. He was the starting tackle for two years on the football team, catcher and one of the best hitters on the baseball team, and had a winning record in the heavy weight class on the wrestling team.

William Lamar Parham. 1929 letterman, Army football team, West Point

William Lamar Parham. 1929 letterman, Army football team, West Point

At West Point,  Lamar joined another former North Georgia College football player, Charles Ingram “Polly” Humber, who became captain of the Army team. Lamar played football on the same West Point teams with Humber, Robert L. Carver, and Red Cagle, who were nationally known college football stars. After graduating from West Point Parham, Humber and Carver all went on to Army Flight School at Randolph Field, Texas.   Red Cagle, who was an All American college player,  left West Point to become a professional football player with the New York Giants and co-owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team. Cagle died at age 37, after falling down a stairwell in a Manhattan subway station. Polly Humber served in WWII as a Lt. Colonel and was captured by the Japanese in the invasion of the Philippines in 1942.  Humber died  at age 39, while being held as a prisoner of war on the infamous “Cruise of Death” aboard the Japanese transport ship Oryoku Maru.  Robert L. Carver, who quarterbacked the 1931 and 1932 West Point teams, died in 1935, age 28, when his plane crashed into a Florida swamp.  Lamar Parham would be the youngest of the four to be taken.

William Lamar Parham Nashville, Georgia Eleventh District, Georgia From sunny Georgia's peach orchards and cotton fields to West Point's grey walls and soggy dress coats is a step which few men could endure with the equanimity that has marked Blondy's four-year sojourn midst these hallowed halls. But then his nature is such that he regards classes and drills with their attendant miseries as mere trivialities, and that is essential to equanimity in this institution. Besides what is there in any textbook to bother a man already holding a university degree, who possesses at the same time a decided penchant for sleeping? Apparently none, and yet somehow Blondy has always been close to the top academically. Personality he called it, but others laid it to his natural ability to spout bigger words faster than anyone else. Argument was his best bet. Ask him why all light haired men aren't Swedes. Despite his violent dislike for physical exertion he found time to play football and baseball with wrestling as a mid-winter diversion. Football (4-3-2-1); Wrestling (4-2-1); Baseball (4-3-2-1); Gun Club; Camp Illumination Committee; Rifle Sharpshooter; Pistol Marksman; Color Line; Major "A"; Minor "A"; Corporal (2); Lieutenant (1)

1931 West Point Yearbook
William Lamar Parham
Nashville, Georgia
Eleventh District, Georgia
From sunny Georgia’s peach orchards and cotton fields to West Point’s grey walls and soggy dress coats is a step which few men could endure with the equanimity that has marked Blondy’s four-year sojourn midst these hallowed halls. But then his nature is such that he regards classes and drills with their attendant miseries as mere trivialities, and that is essential to equanimity in this institution.
Besides what is there in any textbook to bother a man already holding a university degree, who possesses at the same time a decided penchant for sleeping? Apparently none, and yet somehow Blondy has always been close to the top academically. Personality he called it, but others laid it to his natural ability to spout bigger words faster than anyone else. Argument was his best bet. Ask him why all light haired men aren’t Swedes.
Despite his violent dislike for physical exertion he found time to play football and baseball with wrestling as a mid-winter diversion.
Football (4-3-2-1); Wrestling (4-2-1); Baseball (4-3-2-1); Gun Club; Camp Illumination Committee; Rifle Sharpshooter; Pistol Marksman; Color Line; Major “A”; Minor “A”; Corporal (2); Lieutenant (1)

After graduating in 1931 from the West Point Academy, Parham entered Army flight school, first at Kelly Field then at Randolph Field, TX.

Douglas BT2B biplane at Randolph Field, TX. William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA was on a solo training flight in a Douglas BT2B Basic Trainer, when his plane suddenly dived into the ground. Parham was the first airman killed at Randolph Field.

Douglas BT2B biplane at Randolph Field, TX, 1931
William Lamar Parham, of Berrien County, GA was on a solo training flight in a Douglas BT2B Basic Trainer, when his plane suddenly dived into the ground. Parham was the first airman killed at Randolph Field. Image source: The Portal to Texas History.

Parham was training solo at Randolph Field, Texas when his plane crashed and he was burned to death in 1932. He was just 24.

The Texas newspapers first reported the story:

William Lamar Parham, Berrien County, GA

William Lamar Parham, Berrien County, GA Dies at Randolph Field, TX, Corsicana Daily Sun, March 21, 1932

Corsicana Daily Sun
March 21, 1932

Student Officer
Randolph Field
Dies in Crash

      San Antonio, March 21. Second Lieut. William Lamar Parham, 23, of Nashville, Ga., student officer at Randolph Field, near San Antonio, was killed today when the plane he was flying crashed near Marion, a mile west of the huge airdrome.
      The crash was the first fatal accident for a Randolph Field flier since the field was opened last November.
      Lieutenant Parham was practicing maneuvers outlined by his instructor for basic training when the accident occurred. He was flying alone when the plane suddenly fell and burst into flames. The pilots’ body was badly charred.

——————†——————

1932-mar-22-abilene-reporter-william-lamar-parham-killed

Abilene Reporter
March 22, 1932

Randolph Field Student is Killed

San Antonio, March 21. – Funeral arrangements for Second Lieutenant William Lamar Parham, 24, student officer at Randolph Field, who was killed when his plan crashed and burned near Marion this morning were delayed tonight pending word from his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham of Nashville, Ga.
Services will be held at the field with full military honors Tuesday or Wednesday. A board of three officers, consisting of Major D. N. Grant, medical corps, Captain George W. Polk, Jr., engineering officer, and Lieut. Albert F. Glenn, operations officer, has been appointed to investigate the accident.
Lieut. Parham had just completed a dual flight with a instructor and was practicing various maneuvers solo at the time of the crash.

—————•–♦–•—————

william-lamar-parham-military-funeral

San Antonio Express, March 23, 1932

 

San Antonio Express
March 23, 1932

Air Victim Given Military Funeral

Classmate Will Escort Body To Home in Georgia

Full military honors were accorded Second Lieut. William L. Parham, who was killed Monday when in a plane crash near Marion, Tuesday afternonn, in the Zizik-Kearns Undertaking Company chapel, Chaplain W. B. Hill officiating. All student officers in the basic class at the field, classmates of Lieut. Parham at West Point attended the services.
Lieut. Boyden E. Beebo Jr., a classmate, will escort the body to Nashville, Ga., Wednesday, for burial.
The officer died when his plane dove into the ground from an altitude of about 300 feet. It burst into flames as it crashed, burning the pilot beyond recognition.
He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham. He was 24 years old.

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William Lamar Parham killed in plane crash. Atlanta Constitution, March 22, 1932

William Lamar Parham killed in plane crash. Atlanta Constitution, March 22, 1932

Atlanta Constitution
March 22, 1932

GEORGIA BOY DIES IN ARMY AIR CRASH

Second Lieutenant William Lamar Parham, 23, of Nashville, Ga., one of the most promising students of the army aviation school at Randolph field, San Antonio, Texas, was instantly killed during maneuvers there Monday, when the plane he was piloting crashed.

Lieutenant Parham had been regarded as the topmost aviation student during his courses at Kelly field, before he was assigned to Randolph field. He was graduated from the Kelly field class in September of last year as honor student flier, and had been assigned to Randolph field since that time.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham, prominent Berrien county citizens, Lieutenant Parham was graduated from the Nashville High School in 1923, after which he attended North Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Dahlonega from which he graduated in 1927.

Following his graduation from North Georgia College Parham was nominated to West Point, and was graduated from that institution in 1931 with rank of second lieutenant. During his West Point career he was one of the leading athletes of the institution, being a member of the varsity wrestling, football and baseball teams. He was a close friend of “Red” Cagle and “Polly” Humber, playing tackle on the same teams as those two famous grid stars.

Advices Monday from San Antonio stated that Lieutenant Parham’s plane dived suddenly during manoeuvers, and burst into flames the moment it crashed about a mile west of the huge aerodrome at Randolph field. The young officer’s body was charred.

In addition to his parents, Parham is survived by one brother, Charles V. Parham, of Atlanta, and a sister, Miss Marie Parham, of Nashville. Funeral arrangements will be announced following the arrival at Nashville of the body.

—————==≡≡≡≡≡≡≡==—————

1932-mar-23-atl-const--william-lamar-parham-funeral

Atlanta Constitution
March 23, 1932

Funeral Rites Held for Lt. W. L. Parham

San Antonio, Texas. March 22. Military funeral services for Second Lieutenant William L. Parham, who was killed Monday when his plane crashed and burnd near Marion, were held here this afternoon with Chaplain W. B. Hall officiating. All student officers in the basic class at Randolph field, who were classmates of Lieutenant Parham at West Point, attended the services.

The body will be taken to Nashville, Ga. tomorrow for burial, with Lieutenant Boyden E Boebe Jr., also a member of the basic class, as escort. The accident occurred when Lieutenant Parham’s plane was circling to the ground and suddenly dived earthward from an altitude of about 300 feet.

He is survived by his parents Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Parham, of Nashville, Ga.

——————†——————

Bryan Shaw concludes, “His body was returned to Nashville and was buried at the Old City Cemetery across from the Methodist Church. His death was the first to occur at the Randolph Field. The Lt. W. L. Parham Youth Center at Randolph Field is named in his honor.”

Grave of William Lamar Parham (1907-1932), Nashville, GA

Grave of William Lamar Parham (1907-1932), Nashville, GA

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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

 

 

 

Ray City Girls Form Athletic Club, 1947

Ray City, Ga in the 1940s took particular pride in the girls athletic teams of the Ray City School.  The local newspapers were full of stories about the girls basketball team challenging the neighboring communities or competing in tournament play. After the construction of the gym at the Ray City School hometown pride swelled even further.  The gym, which could seat 1,100 spectators, was dedicated in 1947. That year the Ray City girls organized their own Athletic Club.

1947-Ray-City-Girls-Athletic-Club

The Nashville Herald
September 18, 1947

Ray City Girls Form Athletic Club and Name New Officers

RAY CITY – The Ray City High School girls met September 9 in order to form an Athletic club and elect officers.
They are: Louise Williams, president, Virginia Dampier, vice president, Carolyn Scarborough, secretary and treasurer, Jean Studstill reporter.
Other members of the club are Farlene Wilson, Judith Moore, Dianne Miley, Helen Wood, Winona Williams, Ruth Webb, Betty Jean Huff, Marlene Knight, Jeanette Fender, Hilda Faye Register, Peggy Johnson, Lullene Rouse, Jeraldine Sirmans, Edith Monk, Betty Rose Purvis, Carolyn McLendon, Betty Jo Cook, Hazel Gray, Mary Register, Carolyn Register.

Winona Williams, 1948, Ray City High School

Winona Williams, 1948, Ray City High School

Helen Wood, 1948, Ray City High School

Helen Wood, 1948, Ray City High School

Jean Studstill, 1948, Ray City High School

Jean Studstill, 1948, Ray City High School

Judy Moore, of Ray City, GA, 1950 freshman at Georgia State Womans College.

Judy Moore, of Ray City, GA, 1950 freshman at Georgia State Womans College.

Diane Miley, 1948-1949 school photo.

Diane Miley, 1948-1949 school photo.

Peggy Johnson, 1949, Ray City High School

Peggy Johnson, 1949, Ray City High School

Betty Jean Huff, 1949, Ray City High School

Betty Jean Huff, 1949, Ray City High School

Lullene Rouse, 1950, Ray City School

Lullene Rouse, 1950, Ray City School

Betty Jo Cook, 1949, Ray City High School

Betty Jo Cook, 1949, Ray City High School

Betty Purvis, 1950, Ray City High School

Betty Purvis, 1950, Ray City High School

Hazel Croy, 1950, Ray City High School

Hazel Croy, 1950, Ray City High School

Geraldine Sirmans, 1948, Ray City High School

Geraldine Sirmans, 1948, Ray City High School

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Clements Brothers at Georgia Teachers College

Mason and Keith Clements of Ray City, GA, were sons of James Irwin Clements and Annie Mae Carter Clements.

Mason and Keith Clements attended Georgia Teachers College, now Georgia Southern University, in 1948.

Mason and Keith Clements attended Georgia Teachers College, now Georgia Southern University, in 1948.

Keith graduated from Ray City High School with the RCHS Class of 1942 and Mason graduated with the RCHS Class of 1943. Their older brother, J.I.Clements graduated with the RCHS class of 1938. All three entered the service during WWII, and after the war all three made their way to Georgia Teachers College (now Georgia Southern University),  Statesboro, GA.  In 1948, Mason and Keith were undergraduates while J.I. Clements had already started his long career coaching and teaching physical education for the college.

The Nashville Herald
March 30, 1950, front page,

Ray City Men to Play with G.T.C. Baseball Team

COLLEGEBORO, Ga. – The new baseball season will receive a four-day initiation at Georgia Teachers College this week.

The Teacher nine will entertain Erskine College Wednesday and Thursday and North Georgia College Friday and Saturday. They will oppose Mercer University April 4 and Presbyterian College April 6 before making their first trip.

With eight lettermen and five promising pitching recruits, the Professors are in for a good season, Coach J.I. Clement, Jr., says.

Old hands who will retain positions are Mason Clements and Keith Clements of Ray City, the coach’s brothers, in the outfield; W.G. (Red) Bullock, Jr., of Valdosta, at first base; Roger Parsons of Harlan, Ky., at second base or in the outfield; Joe Middlebrooks of Warwick, catcher; and F.M. (Sonny) Clements of Rhine, unbeaten as a freshman pitcher last season.

Keith married Joan Griffin,  Georgia Teachers College Class of 1953, and went on to a career with a pharmaceutical company. Mason married Fay Joyner, Class of 1951, and  went into the wholesale grocery business with his father-in-law in Augusta, GA.

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Preacher Shaw and the Berrien Blue Jays

Preacher Shaw in uniform of the Berrien Blue Jays, 1948.   Image courtesy of www,berriencountyga.com

Preacher Shaw in uniform of the Berrien Blue Jays, 1948. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

From at least the 1880s, baseball was popular among the small towns of Berrien County, GA.  Ray City has produced a number of high school, college and minor league baseball players and coaches, and at least one major league player.  One local baseball legend was Fondren Willie Mitchell Shaw of Ray City, GA, better known as Preacher Shaw.

According to family member Bryan Shaw, Preacher Shaw, was the seventh born child of Jesse Shelby “Dock” Shaw and Susie Bullard Shaw.  He was born May 13, 1906, in a log home on the west bank of Possum Branch, in the New Lois community near Ray City, Georgia and grew up in a nearby home. He was educated in county schools at Pine Grove and Kings Chapel.

From Bryan Shaw’s family newsletter comes the following:

[Preacher Shaw had a] great love of baseball. During his adult years, he became a gifted ball player, always ready to be coaxed away from the mule and plow to engage in any pick-up game his fellow ball players would draft for him.

In Lamar Blanton’s book, “Tales of Ray’s Mill,” he reflects on his recollection of Preacher Shaw the ball player:

The most famous of the baseball players in our part of the state was a man nicknamed “Preacher,” a title that he somehow obtained without any evident relevant behavior on his part.  Preacher was considerably older than the other members of our team, but age is no handicap to a pitcher who is the complete master of a baseball.  His repertoire included virtually every pitch that has ever been named in baseball jargon. Being past his prime, his fastball did not exactly whistle any more, but he resorted to a vast variety of curves, and speed did not really matter, for it was only an infrequent accident that the hitter was able to get his bat anywhere near a pitch thrown by Preacher.  And all of the time that old son-of-a-gun would just stand there on the mound, grinning with infuriating devilishment as batter after batter left the plate to sit down in complete frustration.

Some of the visiting teams refused to play unless it was agreed that Preacher would not pitch.  He could hold any other position, for he was no better than an average ball player in a non-pitching role, but it was considered an unfair advantage for him to be on the mound.

He and his brother Charlie, who played shortstop, were often recruited by the local ball clubs to beef up their rosters. (Charlie was killed in an auto-train accident in 1937). Preacher actively played he sport until 1948, being listed on the April roster of the semi-pro Berrien Blue Jays that year. However, he was not listed as an active player by the end of the season.

Reprint courtesy of Bryan Shaw.

Preacher Shaw (standing, far right), of Ray City, GA played for the Berrien Blue Jays semi-pro baseball team in 1948.

Preacher Shaw (standing, far right), of Ray City, GA played for the Berrien Blue Jays semi-pro baseball team in 1948. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

See more photos of the Berrien Blue Jays at http://www.berriencountyga.com

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1914 Nashville Nine

At age 16 Dewey Knight was a coach and player for the Nashville High School baseball team of 1914. A son of Jonathan Perry Knight and Ada Parrish, he  was born at Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City) on May 1, 1898, but grew up in Nashville, Georgia.   Team mascot Lucius Eugene Griner was a son of James B. “Jim” Griner, who would later serve as Police Chief of Ray City.

 

1914 Nashville Nine

Nashville High School Nine.  The players in the photo are, left to right: Standing, Dewey Knight, Sub and coach; Noble Hull, pitcher and manager; Emory Gary, first base; Robert Hendricks,second base; June Norwood, short-stop; Willie Peeples, catcher and captain.  Sitting: Homer Connell, centerfield; Lucius Griner, mascot; Basom Webb, left field; Hobart Alexander, third base; Alvah Webb, right field.

Nashville High School Nine. The players in the photo are, left to right: Standing, Dewey Knight, Sub and coach; Noble Hull, pitcher and manager; Emory Gary, first base; Robert Hendricks,second base; June Norwood, short-stop; Willie Peeples, catcher and captain. Sitting: Homer Connell, center field; Lucius Griner, mascot; Basom Webb, left field; Hobart Alexander, third base; Alvah Webb, right field.

The Atlanta Constitution
March 8, 1914

Nashville High School Nine 1914

Nashville, Ga., March 7. – (Special.) The Nashville High school ball team was organized Friday, February 12. The boys elected Noble Hull manager unanimously. Willie Peeples was made captain of the squad, while June Norwood will be treasurer.

The school heretofore has not had an organized ball team, and there it is very evident that it will make a “hit” with the school as well as the surrounding community.

The teachers have all pledged themselves to do all they can for the maintenance of the organization financially and otherwise.

The team is preparing a play from which the proceeds will go for the support of said team. Other measures of obtaining funds have and will be resorted to.

The boys work together “better than any bunch that have ever worn Nashville uniforms.” They are all about the same size and are capable of understanding each other magnificently.

The boys of said team claim that they are “unbeatable” by any high school team of south Georgia. Beginning with March 14 the boys challenge any high school for one or three games.

Address all challenges to N. A. Hull, Manager

 

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