Ora Kathleen Knight Swindle

Ora Kathleen Knight Swindle, of Ray City, GA.  She was a daughter of Eliza Allen and Sullivan Jordan Knight, and wife of Henry Alexander Swindle.

Ora Kathleen Knight Swindle, of Ray City, GA. She was a daughter of Eliza Allen and Sullivan Jordan Knight, and wife of Henry Alexander Swindle.  Image courtesy of Bryan Shaw.

Ora Kathleen Knight was born May 16, 1904 in Berrien County, GA, youngest daughter of Eliza Allen and Sullivan Jordan Knight. She was a sister of Rossie Knight.

As a young child Ora Kathleen Knight moved with her parents in 1911  to Brooks County, near Barney, GA. But her father died almost immediately after the move to Brooks County. Kathleen and her sister, Rachel, returned with their widowed mother to Berrien County. They moved into the farm home of Kathleen’s grandparents, Rachel Moore Allen Shaw and Francis Marion Shaw, just outside of Ray City, GA.

The Shaw farm remained their home until Kathleen married Henry Alexander Swindle on November 24, 1920.

Henry Alexander Swindle,   Ray City, GA.  Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Henry Alexander Swindle, Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

The newlyweds made their home in Ray City, GA where Kathleen’s mother, Eliza Allen Knight, came to live with them for the next 25 years.

♥ ♥ ♥

Obituary of Kathleen Swindle


RAY CITY — Kathleen Swindle, 99, of Ray City, died Monday, June 2, 2003, at Savannah Square in Savannah.

She was born on May 16, 1904, in Berrien County to the late Sullivan J. and Anne Eliza Allen Knight. She was a homemaker, member of Ray City United Methodist Church and was active in United Methodist Women and Eastern Star. She was the widow of Henry Alexander Swindle who died in 1974.

She is survived by two daughters, Carolyn Monroe, Greenville, S.C., Barbara Wood, Savannah; three grandchildren, Kathi Wood, Carol Ann Self, both of Savannah, Alex Monroe, Anderson, S.C.; and two great-grandchildren, Lindsay Brock Monroe, Jordon Alexander Monroe, both of Anderson, S.C.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 5, 2003, at Ray City United Methodist Church with the Rev. Wayne Mitchell officiating. Burial will be in New Ramah Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 7-9 p.m. today. — Lovein Funeral Home, Nashville, a member by invitation of Selected Independent Funeral Homes

Graves of Ora Kathleen Knight and Henry Alexander Swindle,  New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Graves of Ora Kathleen Knight and Henry Alexander Swindle, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Tri-Hi-Y, 1939

Tri-Hi-Y, 1939

Tri-Hi-Y Conference, Moultrie, Ga.  1939
1939-tri-hi-y-1Frances Clements , of Ray City, GA, was Secretary of the Conference. Others from Ray City attending were Mildred Clements, Lucille Carter, Jaunelle Clements and Carolyn Swindle.

Obituary of Sheriff W. L. Swindle

William Lawrence Swindle,  eldest son of pioneer settlers James Swindle and Nancy Jane Parker, was born and raised in the Ray’s Mill district of Berrien County, GA.  He  owned property and resided at Ray City,  and also at Nashville, GA.

W. L. Swindle was a Mason, and in politics he was a democrat. He was elected to three terms as Sheriff of Berrien County, after which the Nashville Herald announced February 4, 1911, “Mr. W.L. Swindle, of Nashville, has accepted a position with his brother, Mr. J.S. Swindle, of this place [Ray’s Mill – now Ray City].”  Another of his brother’s, George Emory Swindle, died of Bright’s disease in 1909.

Family of William Lawrence Swindle, circa 1900.  Left to Right: May Ola Swindle, William Lawrence Swindle, Ada Belle (standing,rear), Callie Etta Swindle (center, front), Polly Nesmith Swindle, Emma Lee Swindle. Image source: Cher Newell.

Family of William Lawrence Swindle, circa 1900. Left to Right: May Ola Swindle, William Lawrence Swindle, Ada Belle (standing,rear), Callie Etta Swindle (center, front), Polly Nesmith Swindle, Emma Lee Swindle. Image source: Cher Newell.

In January, 1914, W. L. Swindle suffered a paralyzing stroke:

1914-w-l-swindle-paralyzed

Tifton Gazette
January 30, 1914

Ex-Sheriff Swindle Paralyzed

Ex-Sheriff W. L. Swindle of Berrien County was stricken with paralysis Friday about noon while he was in the courthouse at Nashville.  His entire left side was affected.  His daughter, Mrs. C.C. Hall was notified and together with Col. Hall left for Nashville Saturday morning. Later advices from Mr. Swindle says that he shows but little improvement although he is able to take liquid nourishment.

William Lawrence Swindle

William Lawrence Swindle died March 5, 1915:

Obituary of William Lawrence Swindle

Obituary of William Lawrence Swindle

Tifton Gazette
March 12, 1915

Mr. W. L. Swindle Dead

Former Sheriff of Berrien County Passed Away Friday Night

    News was received in Tifton with deep regret Saturday morning that former Sheriff William Lawrence Swindle died at his home in Nashville Friday night at 9 o’clock.  Mr. Swindle had been in bad health for several years and last year suffered a stroke of paralysis.  He was taken seriously ill early in the week and his daughter here was summoned to his bedside.
Mr. Swindle was about fifty-eight years old and was born and raised in the Ray’s Mill section of Berrien county.  He was a son of James A. and Nancy Swindle and his father died last year.  Mr. Swindle was for some time in the mercantile business at Nashville and served Berrien county as Sheriff for three terms, making an able and zealous officer.
    Mr. Swindle was married twice.  His first wife died several years ago and one son born to them died in early manhood.  His second wife was Miss Collie Nesmith.  To this union four children, all girls, were born.  One, Miss Emmie, is dead, and three are living, Mrs. C. C. Hall, of Tifton, and Misses May and Callie Swindle, who are with their mother at the family homestead.
    The funeral services were held at Nashville Saturday afternoon.  Among those attending from Tifton were Sheriff Shaw, who was formerly Deputy Sheriff under Mr. Swindle, and Mr. W. E. Webb.
    Mr. Swindle was a Mason, a firm and loyal friend and a man who had many excellent traits of character.  He was well liked here where he had an extensive acquaintance.  This district which was then in Berrien county, contributed a strong vote towards his election each time he was a candidate.

Graves of William Lawrence Swindle and Mary Pollie Neesmith, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Graves of William Lawrence Swindle and Mary Pollie Neesmith, Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA

Children of William Lawrence Swindle (1856-1915) and Mary Polly Nesmith (1853 – 1936):

  1. Ada Bell Swindle. Birth July 2, 1886 in Berrien Co., GA. Married Christopher Columbus Hall in 1904. Death January 16, 1941 in Washington, DC.
  2. May Ola Swindle. Birth May 6, 1888 in Berrien Co., GA.
  3. Emily Swindle. Birth April 6, 1890 in Berrien, GA.  Died of Typhoid Fever July 9, 1904 in Berrien County, GA.
  4. Infant Swindle. 1892.
  5. Callie Etta Swindle. Birth August 14, 1894 in Berrien County, GA. Married Walter Jordan Adams.   Death July 27, 1977 in Berrien Co., GA.

Big Blaze of 1915

The big fire at Rays Mill broke out just a few minutes after sunrise on a Sunday morning, April 25, 1915.  The flames originated in the business district in a small store operated by Johnnie Clements, Jr. and soon spread to nearby buildings including the two story Rays Mill Hotel. The J.M. Parrish & Company store owned by Joseph Math Parrish was also damaged; bookkeeper at the store was Leon Lacy Parrish.  At that time there was no water system in the town, and no way to effectively fight the blaze.

The Nashville Herald
April 30, 1915

Destructive Fire Visits Rays Mill

      One of the most disastrous fires in the history of Rays Mill visited that place Sunday morning about 6 o’clock.  Several stores and considerable amount of goods were destroyed by the flames.

      The fire started in a store owned by John Clements of Milltown, in which building his son, Johnnie Clements, Jr., was operating a small store, and the store and contents were completely destroyed.  The loss in this instance was about $1,000 on the building and about the same amount on the stock.  There was insurance covering about half the loss.

      The flames leaped over a brick building and it was completely consumed [missing] & Co. and set fire to the Rays Mill hotel.  The hotel was a two-story building and it was completely consumed by the fire.  It was owned by Messrs. J.H. and Jas. S. Swindle and was valued at $5,000 or $6,000.  The hotel was destroyed with most of its contents.  Mr. J.F. Hineley, who operated the hotel, also had a small store which was entirely destroyed.

      The flames when the hotel was burning were so hot that the brick store of J.M. Parrish & Co. caught and was entirely destroyed.  The building was valued at about $4,000 and the stock of goods was valued at about $15,000.  The stock was largely the property of Mr. G.W. Varn, of Valdosta.  There was insurance for about half of this loss.

      Two other store buildings belonging to Mr. Will Studstill of Valdosta were destroyed by the flames.  These small buildings were valued at about $1,000, while the stocks of goods in them were small.

      It was impossible to control the flames as there was no water supply sufficient to cope with the fire and about all that could be done was to stand by and watch the different buildings burns and try to prevent any spreading.  The losses are heavy ones and will injure the town materially.

      The total loss is figured at $23,000, and the total amount of insurance carried was $14,000, according to Mr. J.S. Swindle, who was in Nashville yesterday.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

«««<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<♦>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>»»»

The Tifton Gazette
April 30, 1915

BAD FIRE AT RAY’S MILL

Flames Destroyed Hotel and Stores.  $30,000 Loss

Valdosta, April 26. – One-third of the business section of Rays Mill, a flourishing town fourteen miles from Valdosta, was destroyed by fire on Sunday.  A number of merchants lost their stores and stocks and the Rays Mill hotel, a large two-story building, was entirely destroyed with most of the furnishings.

The losses will amount to about $30,000, the property being partly covered by insurance.  J.F. Hinely, proprietor of the hotel; J.M. Parrish & Company, John J. Clements, Jr., J.H. and J.S. Swindle and W.M. Studstill are the principal losers.

The town has no water facilities and the block in which the flames started was burned before the fire could be checked.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

«««<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<♦>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>»»»

The Nashville Herald
May 21, 1915

Rays Mill, The Week’s Doings In and Around

      The debris has been cleared away and work on the new buildings which will replace those destroyed by the recent disastrous fire is progressing rapidly.  With the completion of these new brick buildings, we will have what appears from the depot, almost a solid brick block, which we trust will be a reality in the near future.  The J.M. Parrish Company’s store which was only partially destroyed, will be ready for occupancy again within a few days.  This should be good news to all their many customers and friends, as they will have a new and complete line of general merchandise.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

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Feb 4, 1911 Ray’s Mill News Items

Rays Mill news items appearing in the Feb 4, 1911 Valdosta Times were about the business and social scene in the new town.

The Valdosta Times
 Saturday, February 4, 1911, page 7,
Rays Mill News Items

     Mr. A.L. Bridges has moved into his new building here.
     Mr. W. L. Swindle, of Nashville, has accepted a position with his brother, Mr. J.S. Swindle, of this place.
     Miss Leslie Langford returned to Rays Mill Wednesday night from Vidalia.
Mrs. L.  J. Clements is spending a few days in Milltown this week.
    Mr. G. V. Hardee, druggist of this place, moved in his new building Wednesday.
    Mr. I. Burkhalter made a business trip to Nashville Wednesday.
    Mr. Floyd Fender, of Tifton, is visiting Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Fender for a few days.
    Mrs. Baskin, Mrs. Terry, Mrs. Dr. Clements, Miss Fannie Clements and Miss Lessie Carter represented Beaver Dam Missionary Society at the missionary rally in Valdosta last Tuesday, January 31, and lunch was served at the Tabernacle. They report a good meeting, also a pleasant time for all who attended.
    Mr. A. L. Taylor, of Nashville, has bought Mr. J.T. Webb’s store.
    Mr. W. M. Carter, of Rays Mill, visited Tifton last Saturday returning Sunday night.
    Mr. W. H. Terry made a business trip to Valdosta Wednesday.
    Mr. George Norton spent a few days in Macon last week returning Monday night.

Ray City News appeared in The Valdosta Times, Feb 4, 1911.

Ray City News appeared in The Valdosta Times, Feb 4, 1911.

Austin Lawrence Bridges was a merchant from who came to Ray City in 1909 with his bride, Della Pope.  He bought a house on Jones Street and opened a dry goods store.

William Lawrence Swindle was a farmer of the Ray City area and former Sheriff of Berrien County.  He was a brother of James S. Swindle, and son of James Swindle, Pioneer Settler.

Leslie Alma Langford was the daughter of William E. Langford and Mary Virginia Knight, and sister of Luther Etheldred Langford. In 1918 she married Walter Greene Altman. At the time he was a clerk working for Nix & Miller Company, a sawmill in Ray City, GA, but shortly thereafter he became an ice dealer.  Later Walter owned a cafe where Leslie worked as a waitress.

Mrs. L. J. Clements was Eugenia  Watkins Clements, wife of Lucius J. Clements. Her parents were Sarah and Thomas H. Watkins, of Whitesburg, Carroll County, GA.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from La Grange College in 1907.

Gordon Vancie Hardie was a druggist and entrepreneur of Ray City.

Isaac Burkhalter, Jr was born 1863 in Clinch County, GA just weeks before his father, Captain Isaac Burkhalter was killed at Gettysburg. Isaac Burkhalter, the son, made his home at Rays Mill some time before 1900 with his wife, Marentha Sirmans, where he engaged in farming until his death.

Wilson W. Fender was the owner of the Fender Hotel in Ray City.  His wife Lena Fender was in millinery. His eldest son was telephone lineman Floyd Fender, of Tifton, and his younger son’s were Ike and Lutie. Ike Fender was a telephone operator and Lutie Fender was a soda jerk.

The Ladies of the Beaver Dam Missionary Society

  • Mrs. Baskin mentioned in the story could have been one of several Baskin women: Mary Ann Harrell Baskin, second wife of James B. Baskin; her step-daughter, Fannie Ellen Hagan Baskin; or another of the Baskin wives.  The Baskin family  helped found the Baptist Church at Ray City.
  • Mrs. Terry was Nebbie Luckie Terry. She was a daughter of William F. Luckie and wife of W. H. E. Terry, also mentioned in the article.
  • Mrs. Dr. Clements was Pauline Nelson Clements, wife of Dr. Henry Warren Clements. Dr. Clements owned  the second gasoline powered automobile in Berrien County, a Maxwell Doctor’s Roadster.
  • Miss Fannie Lola Clements was a daughter of Martha J. Cements and David C. Clements.
  • Miss Lessie E. Carter was a daughter of Lorenzo D. Carter and Anna Eliza Fender.

Jesse Thomas Webb, who sold his store in Rays Mill, was a son of Mary and John L. Webb, of the Connells Mill District. After selling his store in Rays Mill he moved to Tifton, GA and opened a store there.

William Manson Carter was a son of Lorenzo D. Carter and Anna Eliza Fender, and brother of Lessie E. Carter. In 1917 he worked as a druggist for C. O. Terry.

William Henry Edward Terry came to Ray City about 1910 and built the first brick building in the new town.

In 1934 Ray City was ‘Noted Section’ of Berrien County

Ray City began 1934 on an optimistic note.  A “booster” story from the Nashville Herald praised the farming, education, churches, municipal government, roads and businesses of Ray City.

The Nashville Herald, 
January 25, 1934, Pg 1

RAY CITY IS NOTED SECTION

Excellent Community of Berrien County and South Georgia – Fine Farming Section

In writing about different communities of Berrien County it is next to impossible to neglect the city of Ray City and the large farming territory surrounding it.  The Ray City section constitutes the southern portion of Berrien County, where extensive farm operations are carried on during every month of the year in all lines of endeavor.

The trading point is the city of Ray City, just ten miles south of Nashville, the county seat.  It has a population of around 500 people, all of whom are industrious and hospitable, with fine schools, churches and live wire merchants.  There is no better place in south Georgia to live than Ray City.

The farming population surrounding Ray City constitute an industrious and progressive people.  To a certain measure they are prosperous, because everything to be raised on a farm can be grown on their fertile lands, and each year their products find ready markets, returning to them cash in abundance.  The section is noted for its fine tobacco and cotton lands and is a hog and cattle raising territory of excellent possibilities.

The city of Ray City affords every convenience and comfort for the citizens of the community.  There is a fine school system, which is under the capable and efficient supervision of Prof. P. M. Shultz.  Prof. Ulmer Crosby is principal, and the other teachers are:  Mrs. P. M. Shultz, Miss Jessie Aycock, Mrs. A.B. Baskins, Miss Lillian Ford and Mrs. Eulalie Dickson.

The school has nine grades, with an enrollment of a few over the two hundred mark.  A number of fine students complete the school each year, advancing to higher institutions of learning.  The school system in Ray City is really a big asset, (illegible) a higher type of citizenry.

The school board is composed of the following gentlemen who handle their duties in a most admirable manner and of benefit to patrons and students combined.  H.A. Swindle, chairman, M.A. Studstill, sec.-treasl., C.H. Vickers, J.M. Studstill and W.M. Creech, members.

Ray City is not short either along the spiritual line, having four active churches as follows:  Baptist, Rev. Walter Branch, pastor; Methodist, Rev. F.A. Ratcliffe, pastor; Primitive Baptist, Elder C.H. Vickers, pastor; Christian, supply pastor.  The Baptist and Methodist churches conduct Sunday Schools, and young people’s organizations.

The affairs of the city of Ray City are in the hands of men who apparently have the united support of the people, as the entire body was recently re-elected to office.  J. H. Swindle is mayor, and the councilmen are:  G.V. Hardie, Y.F. Carter, H.P. Clements and W.M. Creech.

The standing committees for the year 1934 are:  Water and lights, G.V. Hardie and Y.F. Carter; Street, W.M. Creech and H.P. Clements; Sanitary, entire city council.

In questioning the mayor, Mr. J. H. Swindle, he stated that the city enjoyed a very good administration the past year, and that 1934 was begun with the city in much better financial condition than a year ago.

Ray City is soon to enjoy one of the best highway outlets of any small city in south Georgia.  It is located on Route No. 11, the short route into Florida from Atlanta.  This highway has been recently graded for paving and at some future date this work will be a reality.  Other good roads lead out in all directions as well.  It is located on the Georgia and Florida railroad, and is one of the railroad’s most important shipping points.  Mr. T.W. Thompson is the G. & F. Agent, having served in that capacity for a long number of years.

The postmistress is Mrs. J. F. Fountain, and the rural mail carriers are James Grissett and L.A. McDonald.

There are also several industries which add to the progressiveness of the town and community.

The Ray City Ice & Storage Company, of which Mr. D.T. Sharpe is manager, serves a wide territory.  At present this concern has on storage over 100,000 pounds of meat being cured for farmers.

The Y.F. Carter Naval Stores concern is the largest firm in the community, where approximately fifty men are given employment.  This firm operates over ten crops of boxes, the leases affording additional revenue for landowners.  It has been in operation for about eighteen years.

The J.H. Swindle Gins and Warehouse is another concern of benefit to the entire section.  Plants are located at Ray City and Barrett, being among the most up to date in south Georgia.  Mr. Swindle buys cotton and cotton seed, corn, peanuts, hay and other country produce.  Besides gin and warehouse activities he operates a twelve horse farm.

The Peoples Banking Company, a private institution, is owned by Mr. J. H. Swindle, with Mr. E. J. Patten as cashier.  This bank was organized several years ago by Mr. Swindle when Ray City lost its regular bank, so as to carry on the business operations locally and without interruptions.

Mrs. R.N. Warr is owner of old Ray Pond, famous for its fishing for the past hundred years.  Mrs. Warr acquired the pond about two years ago, and since has created a good income out of the sale of minnows, pond plants, frogs, and tadpoles.  The pond covers an area of approximately 4,000 acres.

Among Ray City’s most enterprising merchants are:  Swindle & Clements, B. Ridgell Jones Drug Store, Purvis Grocery Store, Weeks Grocery Store, Hardie Filling Station, South Georgia Oil Company, Bradford Barber Shop, Putnell Barber Shop, Swain Garage, Woodward Blacksmith Shop, Griner Corn Mill and others.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

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James Henry Swindle ~ Businessman and Public Servant

James Henry Swindle ~ Businessman and Public Servant

James Henry  “Jim” Swindle was a businessman and politician of Ray City, GA.  He was born near Ray City Aug 6, 1886, a son of Margaret Melvina Futch and George Emory Swindle.  A previous post gave his bio from the Georgia Official and Statistical Register.  He was involved in many civic organizations including the Baptist church, Masons, and Lions Club, and served in public offices from Mayor of Ray City to Representative in the Georgia Assembly.

James H. Swindle

James H. Swindle

Jim Swindle was a brother of Leonard Columbus Swindle, John N. Swindle, George Perry Swindle, Roy C. Swindle, and Leonidas A. Swindle.

In the Census of 1900 James H. Swindle was enumerated with his parents and brothers in his father’s household in the Connell’s Mill District near Rays Mill, GA. The Swindle family farm was located on the Rays Mill & Cat Creek Road. Jim and his younger brothers all attended school, while his older brother, Leonard, helped his father with the farm labor.

After the 1909 death of  his father, G.E. Swindle, at Buffalo Lithia Springs, VA , Jim became the head of the household and took over the family farm.

James Henry “Jim” Swindle became a prominent businessman of Berrien County. By 1908, he was involved in the organization of the Bank of  Rays Mill, which later became the Citizens Bank of Ray City.  It is said that the Swindle family owned much of the land where present day Ray City is located, and when the town was officially incorporated in 1909, he became one of the first residents.  In 1912 he married Sarah Ellen  “Stell” Daniel in Nashville, GA, and the couple made their home at Ray City.

J. H. Swindle of Rays Mill was a dealer for the Georgia Fertilizer & Oil Company. 1912 Advertisement.

J. H. Swindle of Rays Mill was a dealer for the Georgia Fertilizer & Oil Company. 1912 Advertisement.

Together with James S. Swindle, James Henry Swindle owned the Ray City Hotel, which stood on the location later occupied by the Clements Fountain. The Swindles employed J.F. Hineley to operate the hotel. The hotel and all of its contents were destroyed, along with several other buildings, in the Ray City fire of Sunday, April 25, 1915.

James Henry Swindle was 30 years old when he registered for the draft in WWI on June 5, 1917.  He gave his occupation as  a self-employed farmer  and merchant working in Ray City, Ga. He was described as medium height, medium build, black hair, and blue eyes.  His draft card was signed by D.A. Sapp.

By 1920 James H. Swindle had located his wife and family in a house on Main Street in Ray City, Georgia. They owned the home free and clear.  Their neighbors were C . Oscar Terry and Leon L. Parrish.  J.H. Swindle was a merchant, operating a grain and feed store on his own account.

Among other elected positions, Jim Swindle served 12 years on the Berrien County Board of Education, including four years as Chairman.

1925 Berrien County Board of Education
D. J. Gaskins, Ch. Ray City
A. L. Akins.. . .Nashville
J. H. Swindle …Ray City
C.B.Harris–. -Enigma
George P. Griffin Nashville

1927 Berrien County Board of Education
D. J. Gaskins, Chm., Ray City
J. R. McLamb
J. H. Swindle, Ray City
A. L. Akins, Nashville
W. K. Sikes

In the census of 1930, Swindle listed his principle occupation as operator of a gin. He owned cotton gins in Ray City, and at Barretts in Lowndes County, GA.

“The J.H. Swindle Gins and Warehouse is another concern of benefit to the entire section.  Plants are located at Ray City and Barrett, being among the most up to date in south Georgia.  Mr. Swindle buys cotton and cotton seed, corn, peanuts, hay and other country produce.  Besides gin and warehouse activities he operates a twelve horse farm.”

Another of his 1930s business concerns was the operation of a bank at Ray City.

“The Peoples Banking Company, a private institution, is owned by Mr. J.H. Swindle, with Mr. E.J. Patten as cashier.  This bank was organized several years ago by Mr. Swindle when Ray City lost its regular bank, so as to carry on the business operations locally and without interruptions.”

Later, J.I. Clements worked for a while as cashier of the Peoples Banking Company.  Jim Swindle’s brother, L. C. Swindle also operated a bank at Ray City, the Farmers Bank.

In 1932 J. H. Swindle again served on the Berrien County Board of Education and in 1934 he was Mayor of Ray City.

On Jan 14, 1939 the Speaker of the House of the Georgia Assembly announced the Legislative Committee Chairmen. James H. Swindle of Berrien was named as chair of the General Agriculture Committee No. 1.   Just a few days later on January 31, 1939 the Atlanta Constitution reported that James Henry Swindle, of Ray City, was declaring as a candidate for State Commissioner of Agriculture.

J.H. Swindle, ‘Just a Small Farmer,’ Says Markets Aren’t Working.
January 31, 1939

By the Associated Press.

  Representative J.H. Swindle, of Berrien, who describes himself as “just a small farmer,” announced yesterday he would seek election as state commissioner of agriculture in 1940.

  Swindle, a veteran of three terms in the legislature, is chairman of the house committee on agriculture No. 1.

  Columbus Roberts, present commissioner of agriculture, concludes his present term in 1940. He has been mentioned as a likely candidate to succeed Governor Rivers.

  Swindle said he would favor revision of the state’s present agricultural policy to give greater assistance to the farmers in disposing of their products.

  “The farmer can dump his stuff anywhere,” he said. “The present system (of farmers’ markets) is not working any special good to the farmers.”

  Swindle urged that the state provide price reporting service as well as a place where farmers may bring their produce for sale. He also suggested that the state assist the farmers “to put his produce in proper shape for disposal” by grading and collecting individual shipments into single lots.

  “I would even be willing to try the auction system,” often results in the price for a commodity being set at an unfairly low level because one or more of the earliest sellers were unaware of the correct price and disposed of their produce below the market level.

  Swindle, a 52-year-old native of Berrien county, has served two years as mayor of Ray city, eight years on the city council, and 12 years on the county board of education, including four years as chairman. He is engaged in farming, operates a cotton gin, and purchases cotton and farm products for resale. He is married, and has two daughters and a son.

In 1941, James H. Swindle was appointed to serve again on the Berrien County Board of Education to replace Henry A. Swindle who had resigned from the Board in December 1940.  In October, the Board members elected J.H. Swindle as Chairman of the Board.

A 1941 mention in the Nashville Herald said:

Mr. J.H. Swindle is a prominent citizen of this city [Ray City].  He owns most of the business buildings in Ray City.  He is our past representative, having served four years.  He owns extensive farms and the gin.  He is a cotton buyer, a cottonseed buyer, and a corn buyer.

James H. Swindle continued his involvement in civic affairs. In the 1940s he worked to bring better roads to Ray City, and in 1947 served on the building committee for the new Ray City School gym.

In 1953 he was elected vice-president of the South Georgia Cattlemen’s Association.

Children of Stell Daniel and James Henry Swindle:

  1. Margaret Virginia Swindle  (Oct 28, 1914)
  2. Doris E. Swindle  (1916-1941)
  3. Grace E Swindle
  4. James Aaron Swindle (1920-1993)
Grave marker of James Henry "Jim" Swindle, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave marker of James Henry “Jim” Swindle, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Related Posts:

Perry Swindle and the Twin Lakes Field Trip

Perry Swindle, born George Perry Swindle,  was a prominent businessman and employer of Ray City, GA, where he operated a general mercantile store. He was born March 24, 1889, a son of George Emory Swindle and Margaret M. Futch. As a boy, Perry Swindle attended Kings Chapel School, southwest of Ray City.

Perry Swindle married  Cynthia E. Pafford.  The Swindle home was located on the southwest corner of Main Street and the Ray City – Valdosta highway.  The Swindle family had neighbors like Dr. Lawson S. Rentz, pharmacist C.O. Terry, businessmen W.H.E. Terry and Arthur Miller, and Mayor J. Lacy Moore, among others.

The Swindle children, Helen and Earl Pafford Swindle attended the Ray City School.  In the 194os Perry Swindle provided an annual field trip for the students of Ray City School, an excursion to the Twin Lakes Resort Pavillion at Lake Park, GA.

In 1926 a developer opened the Twin Lake Resort Pavilion on Long Pond at a cost of $5 million, an extreme amount for then. Many South Georgia and North Florida residents remember picnicking and learning to swim and ski there especially during the 1940’s and 1950’s.

The Pier at Twin Lakes Resort Pavilion, Lake Park, GA. Image source: http://www.pinkstonrealty.com/galleries.php

The Pier at Twin Lakes Resort Pavilion, Lake Park, GA. Image source: http://www.pinkstonrealty.com/galleries.php

For 25 cents per student, Perry provided round-trip transportation from Ray City to Twin Lakes for the group of students on the back of his large flat-bed, stake-side farm truck. Students were excused from school for the entire day.  They brought their own bag lunches, usually fried chicken or other picnic fare, and spent all day at the park. Students paid an additional 25 cents for admission to the park where there was swimming and other activities.   For a small extra charge park patron could rent a swimsuit for the day, or take a trip around the lake in a big in-board motor boat.

For at least some Ray City students, the Pavilion was the place where they learned to swim. Indeed, the Twin Lakes field trips provided by Perry Swindle are still fondly recalled.

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Ray City Bank Woes ~ 1931

1928 Letterhead of The Citizens Bank of Ray City, GA

1928 Letterhead of The Citizens Bank of Ray City, GA

The Citizens Bank, Ray City, GA – 1929 newspaper advertisement from the Ray City News

Through the stock market crash of 1929 The Citizens Bank of Ray City remained in business , and the local ”boosters” remained optimistic. (see Bank of Ray City, GA through Optimism and Depression)  The firm’s letterhead from 1928 shows George W. Varn was president; James H. “Jim” Swindle, Vice President; John D. Luke, Cashier; and J. W. Johnson, assistant cashier.

Nashville Herald November 21, 1929

As we understand it the Citizens Bank of Ray City is one of the strongest financial institutions in the county and its business is growing steadily as will be shown by the last financial statement as called for by the superintendent of state banks.  It has total resources of over $150,000, and deposits of over $100,000 and shows that it has no notes and bills rediscounted. Berrien county is justly proud of its banking institutions and conservative business men do not hesitate to place the Citizens Bank of Ray City along with the head of list.

In fact, in July of 1930, the Atlanta Constitution had reported that the banks of Berrien County, including the Ray City bank were financially sound.

But by the end of December, the Citizens Bank of Ray City had failed.

The closing of The Citizens Bank of Ray City was among those announced in December of 1930.

The closing of The Citizens Bank of Ray City was among those announced in December of 1930.

MORE BANKS CLOSED IN SOUTHERN STATES

New York Times.  Dec 21, 1930.

ATLANTA, Ga., Dec. 20 (AP) – A. B. Mobley, State Superintendent of Banks, announced today his department had been asked to take over the affairs of the Union Banking Company of Douglas, operating branches at Barxton and Nichols, the Toombs County Bank at Lyons and the Citizens Bank of Ray City. Cause of the closings was not stated.

In 1931, the Ray City Bank underwent reorganization. A series of Nashville Herald articles reported on the situation:

The Nashville Herald
January 29, 1931, front page,

R.E. Dean in Charge of Ray City Bank

      Mr. R.E. Dean who is in charge of the affairs of the closed Ray City bank is making satisfactory progress with his work.  Optimism prevails in regard to the opening of the bank, for there can be no better location for a banking institution than Ray City, situated as it is in the heart of one of the finest farming sections in South Georgia, and the land tilled by experienced and reliable farmers who are good for their contracts.

The Nashville Herald
  February 19, 1931, front page,

Citizens Bank, Ray City Applies to Sell Assets

If Offer Is Accepted Depositors Will Receive 50 Per Cent Net.

      According to an announcement of a hearing to be held before Judge W.R. Smith at the court house in this city Saturday, Feb. 21, an application will be made by the State Superintendent of Banks, A.B. Mobley, to sell the assets of the Citizens Bank of Ray City, which closed a short while before Christmas.  It is understood that the depositors have recommended that the offer be accepted.
       An extract from the notice reads as follows:  “Notice is hereby given that the undersigned has received an offer for the purchase of the assets of The Citizens Bank of Ray City, by the terms of which officer the depositors of said Bank are to receive fifty per cent of their claims net, the preferred claims against said Bank being fully paid under the terms of said offer, in addition to the payment of the fifty per cent net to the depositors.”
       The Herald was unable to learn whether or not the bank would be reopened for business.

The Nashville Herald
February 26, 1931, front page,

Ray City Bank Opened Tuesday

      As we go to press encouraging news reaches us, that while permanent arrangements has not yet been perfected for the opening of the bank there, yet tentative arrangements have and the bank has been doing business since Tuesday.  This good news will increase the optimism, now prevailing in this section over the picking-up of business generally.

The Nashville Herald
March 12, 1931, front page

Ray City Bank Pays Depositors 50 Per Cent

John D. Luke, Cashier of Old Bank In Charge of New Organization

      The Ray City Banking Company has reopened for business under an agreement to pay the depositors 50 per cent cash for the amount of their deposits, and has been making these payments since last Thursday.  It is understood that many of the depositors are leaving their money in the bank, which although a private institution is said to be doing a good business, and receiving large deposits.
       The above arrangement was made possible through the efforts of Messrs. George W. Varn, A.D. Lee and Y.F. Carter, who put up the money with which to pay off the depositors.  Mr. John D. Luke, cashier before the bank was closed, is again acting in this capacity.
      The institution is known as the Citizens Banking Company, and serves one of the best communities in this section.  The general prediction is that the institution will continue to prosper.

Article transcriptions provided in part by Skeeter Parker.

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James Aaron Swindle and the “Sarah E” B-26 Marauder

James A. Swindle, Sept 3, 1942, Ft McPherson, GA

James A. Swindle, Sept 3, 1942, Ft McPherson, GA

Captain James Aaron Swindle

James Aaron Swindle was born January 1, 1920, a son of  Sarah Ellen “Stell” Daniel and James H. Swindle of Ray City, GA.  His father was a farmer and merchant of Ray City who served as a City Councilman, Mayor, Chairman of the County Board of Education, and Georgia State Assemblyman (see James Henry Swindle). James A. Swindle graduated from Ray City High School in 1936.  He attended two years of college and was afterwards employed by the U.S. Engineers at Florence, S.C. He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet on Jan 2, 1942 at Turner Field, Albany, GA. It appears that James attended basic training at Ft. McPherson, East Point, GA. He attended  advanced flight training at the Columbus Army Flying School in Mississippi where he learned to fly the B-26 Martin Marauder. This aircraft, while eventually becoming one of the chief bombardment weapons in the European Theater, was regarded as challenging to fly.  James Swindle graduated September 6, 1942 commissioned a Second Lieutenant,  and received the silver wings of a flying officer in the  U.S. Army Air Force.

James A. Swindle graduated from Advanced Flight School, September 3, 1942.

James A. Swindle graduated from Advanced Flight School, September 3, 1942.

The Atlanta Constitution September 3, 1942  The Army and Navy in Georgia       Two Atlantans and five Georgians are members of a class of flying cadets which graduated from the new Columbus Army Flying School near Columbus, Miss. September 6.  They received the silver wings of a flying officer and commissions as second lieutenants in the Army Air Forces.      They are Mario M. Hulsey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Monroe Hulsey, of 701 Elkmont drive, Guy Blalock Harris, son of Mr. and Mrs. Covert Durham Harris, of 792 Cumberland road; Edward D. Gillespie, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Gillespie, of Savannah; Richard L. Lang, son of Mrs. E. M. Lang, of Calhoun; James A. Swindle, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Swindle, of Ray City; Richard A. Young, of Savannah, and Berton Hugh Ramsey Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Berton Hugh Ramsey, of Statesboro.

James A. Swindle was a pilot  of the B-26 Marauder “Sarah E”.  The plane may have been named after his mother, Sarah Ellen Swindle. His Crew Chief was Tech Sergeant D.H. Snyder, the Assistant Crew Chief  was Cpl. Vincent J. Mosca, and Sgt. Chief McCarry was Grease Monkey. Other members of the crew have not been identified.

The "Sarah E"  B-26 Marauder, flown by James A. Swindle during WWII. Image Source: Vincent Mosca http://www.b26.com/marauderman/vincent_j_mosca.htm

The “Sarah E” B-26 Marauder, flown by James A. Swindle during WWII. Image Source: Vincent Mosca http://www.b26.com/marauderman/vincent_j_mosca.htm

James and his crew were assigned to the 451st Squadron, 322d Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force.  Part of the 322d Bombardment Group moved overseas to RAF Bury St Edmunds, England,  through November and December of 1942 with planes and crews following  March through April of 1943.  Swindle departed for overseas in early 1943.  Ongoing construction at Bury St. Edmunds forced two of the group’s squadrons to locate at RAF Rattlesden, and the group’s aircraft did not arrive until late in March 1943.

James A. Swindle (far right, kneeling) with his crew in front of the "Sarah E".  The names of Lt. J.A. Swindle, Pilot, and Tech Sgt. D.H. Snyder are visible on the fuselage below the cockpit. Image Source: Ron O'Neal.

James A. Swindle (far right, kneeling) with his crew in front of the “Sarah E”. The names of Lt. J.A. Swindle, Pilot, and Tech Sgt. D.H. Snyder are visible on the fuselage below the cockpit. Image Source: Ron O’Neal.

James Swindle, pilot of the "Sarah E"  B-26 Marauder, flew 74 missions in WWII.

James Swindle, pilot of the “Sarah E” B-26 Marauder, flew 74 missions in WWII. Corporal Vincent J. Mosca served as Assistant Crew Chief, and Sgt. Chief McCarry was Grease Monkey. Source: Vincent Mosca http://www.b26.com/marauderman/vincent_j_mosca.htm

Once operational, the 322d flew two low-level bombing operations from Bury St. Edmunds. The first, on May 14, 1943 put up 12 planes for a minimum-level attack on an electrical generating plant near Ijtnuiden, a port city in North Holland. This was the first operational combat mission flown by B-26s in Europe. The second was a disastrous return mission to Holland.  On May 17, 1943, 11 B-26 Marauders of the 322nd Bombardment Group (BG) took off for a low altitude bombing mission against the Ijmuiden and Haarlem Power Stations in Holland. With the exception of one aborting aircraft, all were shot down in German occupied territory.  Sixty crewmen were lost to flak and interceptors. Group morale was not improved when, on 29 May, a B-26 crashed onto the airfield, killing the crew and damaging a hangar. After these missions, the group was re-equipped and trained for medium-altitude operations for several weeks before returning to combat operations. On 13 June, the 322d moved to RAF Andrews Field in Essex.

B-26 of the 322d Medium Bomb Group at RAF Andrews Field, on the perimeter track prior to takeoff - Spring 1944. (World War II)

B-26 of the 451st Squadron 322nd Medium Bomb Group at RAF Andrews Field, on the perimeter track prior to takeoff – Spring 1944. (World War II)

The 322nd Bomber Group and other aircraft stationed in England were carrying out daylight bombing raids on German targets. The most direct bombing route to took the planes within reach of German interceptors at the Amsterdam/Schiphol airfield in Nazi occupied Holland. The Germans stationed dayfighters (mainly Me 109’s and some Fw 190’s) at Amsterdam/Schiphol airfield to attack the American bomber formations on their way to Germany. The strategic importance of the airfield and the growing threat to the success of attacks against Germany meant Amsterdam/Schiphol airfield had to be bombed.

James A. Swindle at the controls of the B-26 Marauder.

James A. Swindle at the controls of the B-26 Marauder.

On the 29th of July, 1943 B-26 bombers of 323 Bombardment Group tried to attack Amsterdam/Schiphol airfield for the first time, but the mission failed due to problems with the flight navigation. The mission was repeated on October 3, 1943, this time with Swindle’s squadron participating. The heavily defended target was bombed – but the airfield was only slightly damaged. All aircraft returned, despite the attacks by German fighters and heavy flak fire. A third strike on Amsterdam/Schiphol was planned for October 16, but this mission was canceled. Along with other Marauder units of the 3rd Bomb Wing, the 322d was transferred to Ninth Air Force on October 16, 1943. The group continued to attack enemy targets in France, Belgium, and Holland attacking the principal targets but the group also attacked secondary targets such as power stations, shipyards, construction works, and marshalling yards. On the afternoon of November 3, 1943, eighteen B-26’s from the 322, 323, 386 and 387 Bomber Groups again took off to attack the heavily defended Nazi airfield at Amsterdam/Schiphol. The American B-26 bombers reached the target in the late afternoon and began their bomb run at about 3:50 PM. The Germans threw up heavy defenses with intense flak cover over the field. Swindle’s group, the 322nd Bomber Group, were the first to attack, followed by the 387th and the 323rd Bomber Groups. One B-26 was shot down on this mission, the first of Swindle’s squadron mates to be lost. On December 11, 1943 Andrews Field was attacked by the Luftwaffe but little damage was done. Two days later on December 13, 1943 Swindle’s squadron, the 451st Bomber Squadron, struck back returning for the third time to Amsterdam/Schiphol. This attack was successful – the airfield was inundated by water pouring through broken dikes as result of bombing. By January of 1944, James A. Swindle and the “Sarah E”  had flown 25  combat missions. James was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross  for “outstanding Achievement while serving as pilot of a B-26 Marauder in hazardous bombing missions over enemy-occupied continental Europe.”

The January 13, 1944 Valdosta Times reported that James A. Swindle had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross after flying twenty-five combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

The January 13, 1944 Valdosta Times reported that James A. Swindle had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross after flying twenty-five combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. B-26 of the 322d Medium Bomb Group at RAF Andrews Field, on the perimeter track prior to takeoff – Spring 1944. (World War II)

Beginning in March 1944 the 322nd bombed railway and highway bridges, oil tanks, and missile sites in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. A later newspaper article gave an update after James had completed 40 combat missions.

Lt. Swindle has piloted a Marauder in 40 attacks against Nazi installations in enemy-occupied Holland, Belgium and France thus far. In addition to the D.F.C. he also wears the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters. He rates as his most interesting mission a recent attack against the Luftwaffe base at Amsterdam Schipol, in Holland, when flak fragments hit the windshield of his aircraft and spattered glass all over his lap. ” It was the most concentrated flak that I have ever seen,” he said upon return from the mission.

Maintenance on the "Sarah E", B-26 Marauder flown by James A. Swindle, of Ray City, GA

Maintenance on the “Sarah E”, B-26 Marauder flown by James A. Swindle, of Ray City, GA Source: Vincent Mosca http://www.b26.com/marauderman/vincent_j_mosca.htm

On D-Day, 6 June 1944 the 322d Bomb Group attacked coastal defenses and gun batteries. Afterwards, during the Normandy campaign, the 322d pounded fuel and ammunition dumps, bridges, and road junctions, supporting the Allied offensive.

B-26 Maruder of the 322d Bomb Group at on a bomb run during World War II. Source: National Archives via the United States Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB Alabama

B-26 Marauder of the 322d Bomb Group on a bomb run during World War II. Source: National Archives via the United States Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB Alabama

On June 25th, 1944 a German Buzz bomb hit near the end of the runway where the 451st squadron was stationed. That day,  the “Sarah E” completed her 100th mission.

From Andrews Field the 322d received a Distinguished Unit Citation for the period 14 May 1943 – 24 July 1944. The group moved during September 1944, transferring to Beauvais (A-61) Airfield in northern France, and aiding the drive of Third Army across France.

After D-Day Swindle’s group deployed to Advanced Landing Grounds in France and later Belgium. The 322nd Bomber Group Provided tactical air support and bombardment of enemy strong points and military targets to disrupt resistance to Allied ground forces advancing from the French invasion beaches and the ensuing offensives on the continent; 1944-1945.  They attacked enemy forces as part of the Western Allied invasion of Germany in 1945 and continued offensive tactical operations in support of ground forces until German surrender in May 1945. T

he 322nd flew its last mission on 24 April 1945. After V-E Day, the group was assigned to occupation duty in Germany beginning in June 1945, engaging in inventorying and disassembling German Air Force equipment and facilities.  The 322nd returned to Camp Kilmer in New Jersey in December 1945, and was deactivated on 15 December.

In all, James Aaron Swindle was decorated with the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the African-European Campaign Medal, Caribbean Campaign Medal, and a Presidential Group Citation. He flew 74 combat missions between July 1943 and November 1944. The B-26 Marauder “Sarah E” that was “his” plane was flown by other pilots. According to Marauder historian Trevor Allen, at www.b26.com, “Sarah E”  completed 140 combat missions before running out of fuel and crashing into a cow pasture in France November 1944.

Other Ray City AAF men included B-24 Liberator pilot Max Maurice Johnson, and flying officer Jim Paulk. Charles Shaw  entered the Army Air Force and was trained as a mechanic for the B-17 Flying Fortress.    Sgt. Mitchell Moore was assigned  to the 854 AAF Bomber Squadron, 491st Bomber Group, flying as a crewman on a B-24 Liberator. Howell Shaw served at Sedalia Army Air Field and William C. Webb served in the Medical Corps of the Army Air Force. Lt. Jamie Connell, of Nashville, served as a  navigator-bombardier. Saunto Sollami served in the Army Air Corp and came to the area after the war. Sergeant Dillard Markham was stationed at Moody Army Air Base when he married Ray City girl Ruth Boyette.

After the war,  James A. Swindle returned to his home town, Ray City, GA.  He became a cattle rancher with land on Possum Creek Road near Ray City, a spread he called “Rolling Green Farm”. He married Betty Ann Patten from Lakeland, GA, a UGA Class of 1943 graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Heath Education.

James A. Swindle was killed on September 10, 1993 when he was gored by one of his bulls. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

James Aaron Swindle (1920-1993), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

James Aaron Swindle (1920-1993), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

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