For over 125 years “Georgia’s ‘West Point’” has been a college destination of choice for students of Berrien County, GA.
North Georgia Agricultural College (now known as the University of North Georgia), at Dahlonega, GA was founded in 1873 as a military academy where military duty was obligatory for all male students over the age of 15. Cadets at the college drilled daily in artillery, infantry and other exercises.
The school’s 1938 Undergraduate Bulletin noted:
North Georgia College was originally organized and administered on a military basis which system has prevailed from the date of its founding. The college has been classified by the United States Government as an “essentially military college,” being one of eight colleges in the United States so designated. It is the only one in Georgia, and, since “essentially military colleges” endeavor to emulate the traditions of West Point, North Georgia College has well been called “Georgia’s ‘West Point.’” General Robert Lee Bullard, formerly Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science and Tactics, referred to the college as one of the two finest military schools in the country.
Among those from Ray City who served in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia were Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953), Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966); William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000); James Arthur Grissett (1932-2010), and Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014).
Other cadets and coeds from Nashville, Berrien County, GA were:
- W. M. Giddens, who pursued a business degree at North Georgia in 1898;
- Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966), brother of E. M. “Hun” Knight, was a sub-freshman in 1898; became a pharmacist in Nashville, GA; later moved to Atlanta, then Palm Beach, FL.
- Alvah William Gaskins, (1885-1934) merchant of Nashville, GA, graduated from North Georgia Agricultural College in 1907; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- Archie Wardlaw Starling, 1922 sophomore cadet at NGC. Later served as editor of the Nashville Herald; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- William Lawton Clyatt, (1902-1987), of Nashville, was in the preparatory program in 1923; buried Old Providence Cemetery, Union County, FL
- Robert Felton Bullard, (1908-1969) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later served as Director of the Southeast Region for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- Junius Vanvechton Talley, (1907-1963) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later elected mayor of Nashville, GA; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- John Parrish Knight; sophomore in 1925 was seeking a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
- Charles Verne Parham and William Lamar Parham (1907-1932) were brothers attending North Georgia College in 1925, Verne as a senior cadet and Lamar as a freshman. Lamar was killed in a plane crash at Randolph Field, TX in 1932.
- Wilmot Earle Bulloch, graduated in 1928 with a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
- Marion June Akins, 1929 NGC freshman cadet, was seeking his bachelors degree;
- Shelby Jackson Morris was a freshman cadet and tackle on the 1930 North Georgia football team;
- Wilson Connell entered North Georgia as College as a freshman cadet in 1937 and served in the military during WWII;
- Marie Sirmans, a 1938 freshman coed at North Georgia College;
- John Franklin Miller, (1921-1999), a freshman cadet in 1939; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- Donald Rowan, (1920-2006) 1939 sophomore at NGC, was a grandson of Lucius Galveston Outlaw and Della Sutton Outlaw ; joined the Army Air Corps and was assigned duty in the Hawaiian Islands for the duration of WWII;
- Walter W. “Buddy” Dickson, (1920-1997) in the NGC Corps of Cadets in 1939 and served in the Army Air Corps during WWII; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- Donald Willis, (1921-1981) was a resident of Nashville, GA when he entered the Corp of Cadets at NGC in 1940; served in the Army during WWII; buried Oak Ridge Cemetery, Tifton, GA.
- Jamie Connell, (1920-1973) graduated from NGC and enlisted in the Army in 1943, becoming a navigator-bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII;
- John David Luke, (1921-2004) 1940 sophomore cadet, North Georgia College; In WWII served in the U.S. Army Air Corp, P-40 Pilot Instructor, Luke Field, Arizona; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- William Henry Mathis, (1922-1993) of Nashville, GA. 1940 Freshman, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
- Edison “Eddie” Brodgon, (1918-1984), of Alapaha, GA was an NGC sophomore cadet in 1940 – Enlisted in the Army, July 18, 1941; buried Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, Berrien County, GA
- George W. Chism, of Nashville, GA. 1940 freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
- Donald Keefe, of Nashville, GA; son of turpentine operator Roland E. Keefe; 1941 sophomore cadet at North Georgia College; joined the Army Air Corps and served in Europe; died in France during WWII.
- Jacob Jackson “Jack” Rutherford, (1924-2004), a 1942 NGC freshman Cadet. Served in the Army in WWII; buried at Douglas City Cemetery, Douglas, GA.
- William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000), born in Ray City, GA; moved to Nashville, GA as a boy; 1942 Freshman cadet at North Georgia College; flew with the 390th bomber squadron during WWII; flew in the Berlin airlift, 1949; career Air Force officer; ret. 1973; buried Alabama Heritage Cemetery, Montgomery, AL.
- William D. Alexander, of Nashville, GA. 1942, Freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
- Bill Roquemore (1923-1997), of Nashville, GA. 1942, sophomore cadet at North Georgia College. Enlisted in the Army in 1943; Served in WWII as a Martin B-26 bomber pilot; married Nell Patten; operated Patten Seed company in Lakeland, GA. Later mayor of Lakeland; buried City Cemetery, Lakeland, GA.
- James A. Grissett (1932-2010); born and raised in Ray City, GA; 1951 Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; later received a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech.
- Joe D. Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA; North Georgia College cadet 1949-1953; joined the Army after graduation; later moved to Rome, GA.