William Lonnie Royal and the Turkey Heist

William Lonnie Royal  (1897 – 1981)

Lonnie Royal, 1973.

Lonnie Royal, 1973.

William Lonnie Royal was born June 13, 1897, at  Homerville, Clinch County, GA.  He was a son of Gabriel Marion Royal and Vercy Lee Fender. Some time after 1910 his father rented a farm at Ray City, GA and this is where Lonnie grew to be a man.

On June 21, 1917  William  Lonnie Royal married Utha Gertrude Mixon in Berrien, Georgia.  The ceremony was performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens, who was Justice of the Peace at Ray City.  Utha Mixon was a daughter of Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon, of Ray City.

Marriage Certificate of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Berrien County, GA

Marriage Certificate of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Berrien County, GA

When the 1918  WWI draft registration occurred, Lonnie Royal was 21 years old and living and working at Ray City. He was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was working for Daniel Jackson “Jack” Gaskins, a farmer in the Lois District just west of town. He listed Frank Royal, of Ray City, as his next of kin.

In the spring of 1919 Lonnie and Utha, now with an infant son, were trying to make a home. It’s unclear just how Lonnie came to such a desperate state, but  he was charged in a number of thefts in the Ray City vicinity. The first case involved the heist of a turkey, said fowl being the property of a Mr. Connell. A second case involved the burglary of the residence of Lonnie’s employer, Jack Gaskins.  Mr. Connell may have been Clinton D. Connell, who was a neighbor of Jack Gaskins. The disposition of these cases was reported in the Nashville Herald:

April 4, 1919 - Lonnie Royal was convicted of a misdemeanor theft.

April 4, 1919 – Lonnie Royal was convicted of a misdemeanor theft.

“Nashville Herald:  Two of the cases against Lonnie Royals, a young white man living near the Berrien-Lowndes line, were tried.  He was acquitted of stealing Mr. Connell’s turkey, but was convicted of burglarizing the home of Mr. Jack Gaskins.  The jury recommended that he be punished as for a misdemeanor.”

Lonnie was acquitted in the case of the turkey heist, and apparently the jury took pity on him in the burglary case as they recommended sentencing for a misdemeanor crime.

Lonnie and Utha made their home in the Ray City area for many years.

Children of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Gertrude Mixon:

  1. Samuel Clarence Royal, b.  Jul 26 1918, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; married Mary Sue Smith; died  March 4, 2008 Louis Smith Hospital, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia
  2. Clara Mae Royal, b.  Jan 21 1920, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  Dec 25 1923, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia
  3. William Clyde Royal, b.  May 14 1921, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia; married Dora Brown; d.  Feb 27 1997, Columbus, Muscogee, Georgia
  4. Velma Louise Royal, b.  Dec 26 1922, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  Dec 12 1923, New Bethel Cemetery, Berrien, Georgia
  5. Alva Inez ‘Mickie’ Royal, b.  May 03 1924 Ray City, Lanier, Georgia; married 1) Woodard Bailey, 2) Horace L. Grayson; died  Jan 09 2010, Beaumont, Texas
  6. Gola Wylene Royal
  7. Agnes Kathleen Royal, b.  Jul 22 1929, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; m. Dale Wilson; died  Dec 04 1972, Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Jewel Christine Royal, b.  Aug 23 1930, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  May 28 1944, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia
  9. Gladys Helen Royal, b.  Aug 18 1933, Ray City, Lanier, Georgia; m. Ralph Henderson ; died  July 23, 2006, Bryon, Olmsted, Minnesota

William Lonnie Royal died March 2, 1981 in Berrien County, GA.  He was buried at Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Graves of Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Graves of Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

 

Images and information on Mixon family history contributed in part by http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

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Fate Mixon

Thomas Lafayette “Fate” Mixon (1862-1919)  was the brother of William Henry Mixon ( 1854-1915), and the son of Michael Mixon (1830-1911), subjects of earlier posts.

Thomas Lafayette "Fate" Mixon with wife, Julia Clance and another Clance girl. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com

Thomas Lafayette “Fate” Mixon with wife, Julia Clance and a Clance girl (Ophelia Taylor?). Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com

The two brothers, Fate and William, married two sisters, Julia and Mary Clance, respectively.

Fate Mixon was born during the Civil War in December of 1862 while his father, James Michael Mixon, was  serving in the Confederate Army as a private in Jack Brown’s Company H of the 59th Georgia Regiment. After the war, his father came home to Marion County, GA but within a few years his parents had maritial troubles.  At least by the time Fate was seven years old his parents had separated.

Fate, and his older brothers and sisters remained with his father.  By the time of the 1870 census, they had moved to Twiggs county, GA where they lived with Fate’s grandmother, Sena Mixon. Also enumerated in the household was twentysomething-year-old Amanda Smith, who would soon become Fate’s step-mother, and her one year old daughter, Rosetta. Everyone in the household who could walk helped with the farm labor.

Fate’s mother, Drucilla Balcomb Mixon, and his youngest brother, Madison Bartow Mixon, remained behind in Marion County.

In the 1880 census of Lowndes County, GA  seventeen-year-old Fate was enumerated in the Cat Creek district along with his blended family, which by this time included his older brother Benjamin (age 20), step sister  Rosella J. (age 11), and half siblings  Zelphian V. (age 7), Drica D. (age 5), John (age 2) and Nancy (age 10 months).

In 1900,  the bachelor Fate Mixon was living in the household of his brother, Benjamin Franklin Mixon, in the Rays Mill district of Berrien county, GA. There he apparently met and married Julia Clance. Berrien County marriage records show they were married  on May 28, 1905.  In actuality, the bride was Julia Clance Taylor, at 27 a widow with a seven year-old daughter, Ophelia Taylor; Fate Mixon was 41.

Marriage certificate of Thomas Lafayette Mixon and Julia Clance, 1905, Berrien County, GA. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Marriage certificate of Thomas Lafayette Mixon and Julia Clance, 1905, Berrien County, GA. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Fate and  Julia, with Julia’s daughter Ophelia, established a household in the Rays Mill District, where they were enumerated in 1910. Fate Mixon rented a farm there, which he worked on his own account.

This union, however, did not endure. Some say Fate and Julia separated. Other say Fate died around 1919; his grave marker does not give his date of death.

Gravemarker of Thomas L. Mixon, 1862 - 19__. New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Thomas Lafayette “Fate” Mixon, 1862 – 19__. New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

It is known that Julia was re-married on March 27, 1919 to James William Coleman , and that she and Ophelia went with him in Macon, GA

 

Related Posts:

 

Mixon Graves at New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery

At the New Bethel Church cemetery in Lowndes County, about seven miles south of Ray City, Berrien County, GA, there lies six Mixon family graves.

Gravemarker of Michael Mixon, Private, Company H, 59th Georgia Infantry, CSA, 19 Mar 1830 - 6 Jan 1911, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery.

Gravemarker of Michael Mixon, Private, Company H, 59th Georgia Infantry, CSA, 19 Mar 1830 – 6 Jan 1911, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery.

 Amanda Smith married Michael Mixon about 1870 in Twiggs County, Georgia and shortly thereafter moved they moved to Pulaski County. Around 1874, Michael and Amanda moved to Cat Creek, Lowndes County, GA. She was enumerated with her husband in the Rays Mill District, Berrien County, in 1900.

Gravemarker of Amanda Smith Mixon, 1842 - 19__, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Amanda Smith Mixon, 1842 – 19__, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Katie Connell Mixon, 13 Feb 1870 - 2 Dec 1951, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Katie Connell Mixon, 13 Feb 1870 – 2 Dec 1951, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Benjamin Franklin Mixon was a son of James Michael Mixon and Drucilla Balcomb. B. F. Mixon and wife, Katie Connell, were enumerated in the Rays Mill district, Berrien County, Georgia in the Census of 1900.

Gravemarker of Benjamin Franklin Mixon, 15 Feb 1860 - 7 May 1920, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Benjamin Franklin Mixon, 15 Feb 1860 – 7 May 1920, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Johnny Mixon, died 7 Jun 1920, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Johnny Mixon, died 7 Jun 1920, New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

  Johnny Mixon, a son of Katie Connell and Benjamin Franklin Mixon, was born in 1912 and died June 7, 1920.

 Thomas Lafayette “Fate” Mixon was born during the Civil War, a son of Drucilla Balcomb and James Michael Mixon.  In the early 1900s he lived with his brother and sister-in-law, Benjamin and Katie Connell Mixon, in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County. He died in Ray City, GA about 1919.

Gravemarker of Thomas L. Mixon, 1862 - 19__. New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Gravemarker of Thomas L. Mixon, 1862 – 19__. New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA

Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon

Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon came to Ray City, GA some time around 1901 and made it their home for the remainder of their lives.

William Henry Mixon and Mary I. Clance

William Henry Mixon and Mary I. Clance. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

William Henry Mixon was born November 27, 1854 in Marion County, GA. He was a son of Drucilla Balcom and James  Michael Mixon. His grandfather was Michael Mixon (1794-1838), believed to have been killed in  Lowndes County, GA while fighting in the Indian Wars in 1838. William’s father,  James Michael Mixon (1830-1911),  was a Confederate veteran who was wounded during the Civil War.

William’s parents separated after the Civil War, and William moved with his father to Twiggs County, GA to the home of his great-grandmother, Sena Mixon.   When William’s father moved on to Pulaski County, William stayed behind in Twiggs County. It appears that around 1874, William’s father  moved with his second wife, Amanda Smith, and their minor children from Pulaski County, GA to Lowndes County.  In the census of 1900,  James M. Mixon was enumerated in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, Georgia Militia District 1144.

According to census records William Henry Mixon married Mary I. Clance about 1880 in Twiggs County, GA. His occupation in 1880 was working as a miller at a grist mill.  Mary Clance was a daughter of Mary L. Blaylock and Wiley Clance. Her father once served as Justice of the Peace for Twiggs County, GA, and was also a wounded Confederate veteran.

About 1901 William and Mary followed William’s father south to Berrien County, GA.  The census of 1910 shows them in the Rays Mill district of Berrien County, GA where William was farming on his own account.  William Henry Mixon died on Christmas day, 1915 and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Children of William and Mary Clance Mixon were:

  1. Annie Bell Mixon: born  Jun 1882 in Wilkinson County, Georgia; married William Carl Griner on 17 Jan 1904;  died 1917 in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.
  2. Hattie Leona Mixon: born  June 1886 in Wilkinson County GA; married Lee Knox (son of Alton Knox) on 14 Dec 1904 in Berrien County, GA; died 29 Oct 1963 in Colquitt, Georgia.
  3. Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon: born  1 Jan 1890 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Joseph John “Joe” Spells on 15 Jul 1917 in Berrien County, Georgia; died  29 Jul  1926 in Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.
  4. Ida Mae Mixon: born 12 Feb 1893 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Joseph Browning about 1921 in Clinch County, GA; died 18 Jun 1980 in Lanier County, GA; buried at Fender Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia.
  5. Ethel “Effie” Pearl Mixon; born in Wilkinson County, Georgia on 11 Sep 1899; married Joseph “Leroy” Brown on 25 Aug 1927; died 28 Nov 1984 in Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia; and buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia.
  6. Alva Lorine Mixon: born 25 Mar 1895 in Wilkinson County, GA; married Thomas Henry Kirk about 1910, died 23 Jan 1977 in Lake Worth, Florida.
  7. Samuel E. “Sammie” Mixon;  born 7 Jun 1898 in Wilkinson County, Georgia; died of pneumonia 19 Oct 1918 while serving in France during WWI; buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia.
  8. Utha Gertrude Mixon: born 27 May 1902 in Nashville, Berrien , Georgia; married William  Lonnie Royal 21 Jun 1917 in Berrien, Georgia –
    divorced; died 10 Aug 1991 in Columbus, GA; buried at Fender Cemetery, Lakeland, Lanier County, Georgia.
  9. Bessie Mixon: born 9 Jun 1906 at Nashville, Georgia; died 11 Jul 1908; buried between her parents at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.
Mary I. Clance, circa 1948. Married 1) William H. Mixon, 2) H.T. Cearsey. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Mary I. Clance, circa 1948. Married 1) William H. Mixon, 2) H.T. Cearsey. Image courtesy of http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

Grave marker of William Henry Mixon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of William Henry Mixon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

After the death of William Henry Mixon, his widow, Mary Clance Mixon, married Henry Thomas Cersey. When she died in 1948, she was buried near her first husband at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Nashville Herald
August 26, 1948
Mrs. Mary Cersey, 83, Died last Saturday; Final Rites Monday     Mrs. Mary Cersey, lifetime resident of Berrien County, died in a Hahira Hospital Saturday afternoon after a long illness. A resident of Ray City, she was 83 years of age, having been born in Wilkerson County on May 26, 1863.
     Mrs. Cersey is survived by five daughters, Mrs. Lee Macks, Moultrie; Mrs. Joseph Browning, Ray City; Mrs. Oliver L. Kirk, Lakewood, Fla; Mrs. Effie Brown, Ray City; and Mrs. Lonnie Royals, Stockton; two sisters, Mrs. J. E. Kitchens and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, Wintergreen, Fla; 20 grandchildern, and 36 great-grandchildren.
     Funeral services were conducted Monday afternoon at 3 o’clock at Beaver Dam Primitive Baptist church by Elder C. H. Vickers and Elder M. E. Peavy.  Interment was in the church cemetery at Ray City. Active pallbearers were D. J. Skinner, J. T. Richardson, G. B. McLendon, B. J. Akridge, O. V. Conner, and M. W. McLendon, Honorary pallbearers were G. G. Mikell, O. W. Mikell, B. F. Skinner and J. J. Spell.  A selected choir sang Primitive hymns.

NOTE: Beaver Dam church (now known as Ray City Baptist Church) was not Primitive Baptist.  The Primitive Baptist church in Ray City was New Ramah Church.  Charlie Vickers and Marcus Peavey were pastors at New Ramah.

Grave marker of Mary I. Mixon Cersey, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Mary I. Mixon Cersey, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Images and information on Mixon family history contributed in part by http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

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.

Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells

Mary Lee “Mamie” Mixon was born on New Year’s Day, 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. On Christmas day, 1915 her father died; he was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Before a year had passed, on October 29, 1916 Mamie’s widowed mother remarried. Mamie’s new step-father was Henry Thomas Cersey.

The following summer Mamie herself was a bride. She married Joseph John “Joe” Spells on July 15, 1917 in Berrien County, Georgia.  He was a son of Mary Matilda Browning and George Spells, a pioneer settler of Lowndes County, GA. The marriage was performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens, Justice of the Peace in Ray City.

Marriage certificate of Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells.

Marriage certificate of Mamie Mixon and Joe Spells.

At 22, Joe Spells was tall with a medium build, blue eyes and light-colored hair. He was working for his brother, William, as a farmer. At the time, Joe Spells was illiterate, signing his WWI draft registration with his “X” mark.

Joe Spells registered for selective service for World War I in 1917.  He was drafted and served in WWI as did Mamie’s brother, Sammie E. Mixon. Sammie died of pneumonia while serving in France, but Joe survived the war and came home to Mamie.

After the war, the Spells made their home on the farm of Mamie’s step-father, Henry T. Cersey, located in the 1157 Georgia Militia District on the Nashville and Valdosta Road. Joe worked as a laborer.

Joe and Mamie Spells had two children:

  1. Joseph W. Spells, born May 1, 1918; Ray City High School class of 1937; married Eloise McKay (Nov 5, 1914 – July 7, 1986);  died in Winter Park, Florida July 7, 1986.
  2. Edward Samuel Spells, born April 25, 1921, Ray City, Berrien County, GA and died June 2, 1992, Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL

A third child, a baby girl, was born and died in the summer of 1926. According to records, the child died on July 30, 1926, although the death certificate was not filed until August 4, 1926. The death certificate attributed the cause of death to “convulsions in childbirth.”  The infant girl was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Death Certificate for infant girl Spells, daughter of Mamie and Joe Spells, Ray City, GA..

Death Certificate for infant girl Spells, daughter of Mamie and Joe Spells, Ray City, GA..

Mamie Spells would survive her daughter by only one day.  She was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Mamie Mixon Spells

Mrs. Joe Spells Passed Away Sat. July 31

The funeral services for Mrs. Joe Spells who died at the home of her mother, Mrs. H. T. Cersey, Saturday, July 31, were conducted last Sunday morning at the Baptist church at Ray City at 11 o’clock in the presence of a large crowd of relatives and friends. Mrs. Spells was 36 years of age and was a member of the Ray City Baptist church and was a christian woman, a true wife, a loving daughter and mother. To know her was to love her. She had been in declining health for some time, but was in bed only about ten days. Her death was not unexpected to her love ones, but was a shock to her friends who knew not of her illness.

She is survived by her husband and two small children, J. W. and Edward, 8 and 5 years old respectively; her mother and five sisters. They are Mrs. Lee Knox and Mrs. Lonnie Royals, of Ray City, GA.; Mrs. Joe Browning, of Lakeland, GA.; Mrs. Effie Chance, of Macon,GA., and Mrs. J.H. Kirk, of West Palm Beach, Fla.

_____________________________

CARD OF THANKS

We wish to take this method of thanking our many friends for the kindness shown us during the illness and death of our wife, daughter and sister, Mrs. Joe Spells.

Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Cersey.
Mrs. Lee Knox.
Mrs. Joe Browning.
Mrs. Effie Chance.
Mrs. Lonnie Royals.

The Census of 1930 shows the  widower Joe Spells and his two sons living in the Rays Mill Precinct, Georgia Militia District 1144.  Also living with them was Mamie’s  widowed mother,  Mary Mixon Cersey.

Joe Spells later remarried.  He died in 1961 and was also buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Daily Times
Spell, Joseph John March 12, 1961

Joe Spell

      LAKELAND- Joe Spell, 65, died at the local hospital early Sunday morning following a sudden attack suffered Saturday morning. He was born and had lived all his life in the Lower Tenth District section of Berrien County where he was a prominent farmer.   Mr. Spell was a veteran of World War I and a member of the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City

      Survivors include his wife, the former Matilda Richardson: two sons M Sgt J. W. Spell with the U. S. Air Force in Germany; Edward Samuel Spell of Atlanta; three sisters, Mrs. Henry Spires of Adel, Mrs. Cauley Downing of Florida and Mrs. Morris Daniels of Jacksonville, Fla.: one brother, John Spell of Valdosta: seven grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.

      Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 3 p. m. at New Ramah Church with burial in Beaver Dam Cemetery with Music Funeral Home of Lakeland in charge. The body will remain at the home of his brother-in-law, Pope Howell until the hour of the service.