Garth Webb, Jr. at Georgia Southern College

Garth Webb, Jr. at Georgia Southern College

Garth Webb, Jr. was a contestant in the 1950 baby contest at Ray City, GA. He was a brother of Betty Jo Webb. His mother was a teacher at the Ray City School, and  his father, Garth Webb, Sr., was the Ray City Postmaster.

In the 1950s the Webb family moved to Nashville, GA.

By 1966 the young man was a student at Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, GA.

Garth Webb, Jr., at Georgia Southern College, 1966.

Garth Webb, Jr., of Nashville, GA, at Georgia Southern College, 1966.

Among Berrien County students at Georgia Southern in 1966 were sophomore Patsy Partin, of Nashville, GA, and freshmen Ricky Partin and Carol Rowan, also of Nashville, GA.  Carol Bradham and James Roger Lewis, of Alapaha, GA were seniors and Carleen Chambless was a freshman. Jimmy Abney, of Enigma, GA was a junior.

Ray City students at Georgia Southern College in 1966 were seniors Eugene C. Phillips and William Ralph Bradham.

In Nashville, Garth Webb, Sr. served as Chief of Police, and Mrs. Webb taught at Nashville Elementary School.  Garth Webb, Jr. attended school at Nashville High School and played for the baseball team.  His Ray City classmate at Georgia Southern, William Ralph Bradham, had also been an athlete at Nashville High School.

Garth Webb, Jr., 1964 Nashville High School baseball team. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Garth Webb, Jr., 1964 Nashville High School baseball team. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

SAVE THE DATE!

  • August 13, 2016  Opening of the Hometown Teams Exhibit at the Nashville Community Center
  • September 10, 2016 Sports Recognition Night at the Old Ray City School Auditorium

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

On the 10th of September, as part of the Smithsonian events, there will be a Sports Recognition Night at the Old Ray City School Auditorium which will honor all athletes and supporters from all Berrien County communities. Buck Swindle of Ray City will be the speaker and Master of Ceremonies, and there will be a grand reunion of players, coaches, and fans to reminisce about their experiences in their “Hometown Team.”  The public is invited and more details will follow.

 

 

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Ray City Home of Perry Lee Pittman and Inez Webb

Ray City, GA

Perry L. Pittman and family lived in this Ray City, GA home in the 1940s.

Perry L. Pittman and family rented this Ray City, GA home in the 1930s and 1940s.

Perry L. Pitman was a son of Louranie W. “Rainey” Register and John Edward Pittman.  He was born December 3, 1898 in Clinch County, GA and lived for many years in Berrien County, GA.  As a young man, Pittman was of medium height and medium build, with blue eyes and black hair.  He first married Annie Jewel Fountain, on July 27, 1921 in Berrien County, GA.  She was daughter of William E. Fountain and Nancy Elizabeth Bradford.  After Annie’s death on July 17, 1934, Perry L. Pittman raised their children on his own of several years.

On November 27, 1935 Pittman married Vida Inez Williams,  the widow of Fred Williams.  She  was born August 9, 1903, a daughter of James Alford Webb and Pearlie Ann Register.  For a time, in the late 1930s and 1940s Perry and Inez Pittman made their home in Ray City, GA. Perry was a patrolman for the highway department, working 60 hours a week for an annual salary of $1200 dollars.

1940 census enumeration of Perry Lee Pitman and family in Ray City, GA.

1940 census enumeration of Perry Lee Pitman and family in Ray City, GA.

During this time Perry Lee Pittman also served as the State Representative from Berrien County, GA. In the state legislature he became noted for his opposition to the Grandfather Clause, the  Georgia Constitutional Amendment that violated the voting rights of African-Americans in Georgia. He was also noted for his opposition to religious ceremonies involving the practice of handling live rattlesnakes.

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Mary “Polly” Futch and John Webb

Mary “Polly” Futch and John Webb were the parents of John Thomas Webb, and the grandparents of previous subjects, Shellie Lloyd Webb and William Crawford Webb. Mary Futch was a sister of Rhoda Futch.

John Webb and Mary Polly Futch.  Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

John Webb and Mary Polly Futch. Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

Mary “Polly” Futch was born October 14, 1842 in Lowndes County (now Berrien) Georgia.  She was a daughter of daughter of John M. Futch and Phoebe Mathis.  On April  21, 1859 in Berrien County, Georgia she married John Webb,  a landowner and planter of Berrien County, GA.  John Webb, a son of Dawson Webb and Frances Beall, was  born January 22, 1834 in Wilkinson County, Georgia.

Marriage Certificate of John Webb and Mary Futch, April 21, 1859, Berrien County, GA. Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

Marriage Certificate of John Webb and Mary Futch, April 21, 1859, Berrien County, GA. Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

To any ordained Minister of of Gospel, Judge of the Superior Court, Justice of the Inferior Court, Justice of the Peace or any person by the laws of this state authorized to celebrate:  These are to authorize permit you to join in the Honorable State of Matrimony Mr. John Webb of the one part and Mifs Mary Futch of the other part according to the constitution and laws of this State and according to the Rites of your church; Provided there be no lawful cause to obstruct the same and this shall be your authority for so doing. 

Given under my and Seal this 20th day of April, 1859

John L. Lindsey, Ordinary

I hereby Certify that Mr. John Webb and Mary Futch were duly joined in matrimony by me this 21st day of April, 1859
Reubin Futch, J. I. C.

Recorded May 4th 1860     E. C. Morgan, Ordinary

The census of 1860 enumerates 26-year-old John Webb and 17-year-old Mary in Berrien County.  John was a farmer with $1200 dollars worth of real estate and $450 worth of personal property to his name.  According to the census neither John nor Mary could read or write, but later records would show he could at least sign his name.  Enumerated near the Webbs were John & Elizabeth Baker, and Isham Clyatt.

The following spring,1861, Georgia plunged into the Civil War. By November 1861, Federal troops made their first invasion of Georgia, occupying Tybee Island with designs on Fort Pulaski and Savannah. That winter, John Webb joined the Primitive Baptist congregation at Pleasant church, located a few miles west of his farm. According to church minutes,  John was baptized at Pleasant Church on January 1, 1862.

During the War, John Webb enlisted in Company E, 54th Georgia Regiment, along with his brother Jordan and other men of Berrien County.  John  went off to fight leaving Mary on the farm with a baby on her hip and another on the way. He fought with the 54th Regiment  throughout the war, although he was on furlough home at the time of their surrender in April of 1865.

That October, perhaps in observance of John’s safely reaching the conclusion of the war, Mary Webb joined with Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church. Church minutes show she was baptized October 14, 1865.

Like other men of Berrien County, after the war John Webb swore an oath of allegiance to the United States and to faithfully support the Constitution, and returned to his farming. According to 1867 Berrien County tax records, John Webb owned all 490 acre of land lot 410, 10th Land District.  His brother, Jordan Webb, owned 245 acres on the adjacent lot, 419. To the north, William Walters owned 612 acres on lots 373 and 374. Also on Lot 373 were John Ray, with 122 1/2 acres and David S Robinson with 60 acres. Parts of lot 418 were owned by Mary DeVane and Benjamin M. DeVane owned additional 525 acres of land on lots 418 and 419. John Baker was on 122 acres of lot 419.

The census of 1870, indicates the Webbs were getting by in the post-war period. Their land had a aggregate value of $2800, they had $754 in personal property, and now four young children.

By 1876 John Webb had acquired 1560 acres in lots 372, 409, and 410 in the 10th Land District.  He owned $200 in household  furniture, $454 in livestock,and $90 in plantation and mechanical tools.

The following year, 1877 John Webb had acquired all of lots 372, 409, and 410, 1470 acres in all.  He had $150 in furniture, $335 in livestock, and $80 in tools. His wife, Mary Futch Webb had 180 acres in her own name in Lot 373, with $265 in livestock.  To the south of the Webb place, on half of lot 419, was William Henry Outlaw, a Webb descendant on his mother’s side and a fellow veteran of Company E, 54th Georgia Regiment. Among the Webb’s other neighbors were  David M. Roberson with 212 acres of lot 365 and David S. Roberson with 550 acres on parts of 373 and 364.  William Walters  was on Lot 374 and  David J. McGee had 395 acres on lots 408 and 411. Miller F. DeVane  and George M. DeVane with 165 acres each on 411 and 412. Mary DeVane had 7 acres on 418, Michael B. DeVane with 500 acres on 418 and 419,  William DeVane on parts of 418,  John Baker on 172 acres of 419.

The 1880 census shows the Webb family continuing to grow.  The Webb sons, John Thomas and James, at least,  were “at school”.

In 1890 John Webb  had 1000 acres total on lots 372, 373, and 410 valued at $1500. From 1883 to 1890, a neighbor to the north was Noah Webster Griffin and his family on lot 371.  John Webb’s son, John Thomas Webb was on 200 acres of the neighboring lots, 408 and 409. Son-in-law Malachi W. Jones was on 490 acres that included parts of 409 and 420, and son-in-law Joel J. Carter had 140 acres of lot 372. Elizabeth J. Carter had 240 acres on lots 365 and 366.  George W. Carter had 40 acres straddling 364 and 365.  Isaac S. Weaver was on 375 acres that included parts of 418, 419, and 411. John Ray was on 245 acres of 373, and Thomas W. Ray was on 125 acres of lot 364. Aaron A. Knight  had 155 acres that included part of lot 374.  Sovin J. Knight  was on 365 acres of 364 and 365.    The Devane land to the south was now in the possession of Georgia R. DeVane.  George M. DeVane and Millard F. DeVane had the land to the west o Lots 411 and 412. William E. Fountain Jr. was on Lot 365 with 147 acres.  H.H. Green had a piece of 364.

According to Shaw Family Newsletters, on November 5, 1898, Mary and John Webb deeded 350 acres in section 412 of land district 9 (presently under water at the southwest end of Boyette’s Pond in Cook County) to daughter Luannie Webb as a wedding gift.  She had married Chester D. Shaw earlier that year.

John Webb died December 15, 1900 in Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City).  He was buried in Futch Cemetery in present day Cook County, GA.

Children of Mary “Polly” Futch and John Webb:

  1. Martha Mary Webb, b. April 10, 1861, Berrien County, GA; d. January 30, 1929, Berrien County, GA buried in Pleasant Church Cemetery; m. (1) Joel J. Carter, January 27, 1878, Berrien County GA; m. (2) William W. Parrish, August 10, 1899, Berrien County GA.
  2. John Thomas Webb, b. January 15, 1863, Berrien County, GA; d. March 16, 1924, Ray City, GA buried in Pleasant Cemetery; m.  Mary Jane “Mollie” Patten, November 2, 1882, Berrien County, GA.
  3.  Frances “Fannie” A. Webb, b. May 6, 1866, Berrien County, GA; d. October 3, 1909, Adel, GA buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Cook County, GA; m. Malachi “Mallie” W. Jones, December 24, 1885, Berrien County, GA.
  4. Phoebe Jane Webb,  b. May 23, 1869; d. October 10, 1870.
  5. James Alfred Webb, b. July 03, 1871, Berrien County GA; d. September 30, 1938, Berrien County GA; m. Pearl “Pearlie” Register, January 18, 1894, Berrien County, GA from Marriage Certificate.
  6. Mary Delann Webb,  b. November 1, 1873; d. February 13, 1879.
  7. Luther Americus Webb, b. October 5, 1875, Berrien County, GA; d. April 30, 1909, Berrien County, GA, buried in Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County GA; m. Mary Jane Albritton, January 24, 1897, Berrien County, GA from Marriage Certificate.
  8. Leona Webb, b. 1877, Berrien County, GA.
  9. Louannie T. Webb, b. August 7, 1880; d. June 8, 1902, Lenox, GA from Typhoid Fever, buried in Pleasant Cemetery; m. Chester D. Shaw, March 16, 1898, Berrien County Georgia from Marriage Certificate.

The Valdosta Daily Times 
March 11, 1926

Mrs. Webb Died at Ray City

Mrs. Mary Webb, widow of the late John Webb, died Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Martha Carter, Ray City, after a short illness.
      Mrs. Webb was eighty-three years of age and until she suffered from an attack of flu, four or five days ago, had been in her usual good health. However, owing to her advanced age, she was unable to withstand the attack.
      Her husband preceded her to the grave twenty-six years ago and she has since made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Carter. Besides Mrs. Carter, she is survived by one son, Mr. J.A. Webb, of Ray City. The deceased was one of the pioneers of her section, and the family is well and favorably known throughout all of this section. 
      Mrs. Webb was for more than 60 years a consistent member of the Pleasant Primitive Baptist church, near Ray City, and during her days of activity, was famed for her kindly acts and generous disposition, and her death brings great sorrow to her friends and those of the family. In addition to the surviving son and daughter, Mrs. Webb leaves thirty-five grand children. The funeral services were conducted this afternoon at 3:30 by Rev. Mr. McCranie at the Futch cemetery, near Ray City.

Transcript courtesy of Skeeter Parker

Special thanks to Jimmie Webb for contribution images and portions of the content for this article.

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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.

Accidental Death of William Crawford Webb

William Crawford Webb.  Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

William Crawford Webb. Image courtesy of Jimmie Webb.

William Crawford Webb, born July 30 1907, was the twelfth of thirteen children born  Mary Jane “Mollie” Patten and John Thomas Webb.  He was born near Ray City,GA (fka Ray’s Mill) and grew up on his father’s  farm in the 1329 Georgia Militia District where, along with his ten brothers, he helped with the farm labor.

Several of his brothers served in the military. One brother,  Shellie Loyd Webb, was killed in the sinking of the Otranto during World War I.  It was not until 1928, when William was 21 years old, that his brother’s body was brought home from Islay, Scotland (see The Long Trip Home.)

During World War II, William C. Webb joined the Army enlisting on April 3, 1943 at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, GA.  He served as a Private, First Class in the Medical Corps of the Army Air Force. By December of 1943 he was at Drew Field, Tampa Florida.

That Christmas the base newspaper, The Drew Field Echo, ran a headline story on the new base hospital.  “It is the U. S. Army Medical Corps which keeps ’em healthy,” the paper said.

Drew Field Echo, 1942 Christmas Edition, Drew Army Air Field, Tampa Florida

Drew Field Echo, 1942 Christmas Edition, Drew Army Air Field, Tampa Florida. Image source: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076231/00041

The story continued, “In the Station Hospital at Drew Field, the medical staff consists of doctors, dentists, sanitary engineers, veterinary officers, administrative officers, nurses, and highly trained enlisted men of all ranks and grades. The entire staff is bound together by a common ideal — to remove the fetters of disease and injury from the men in training in order to make them more effective combatants on the far-flung battle fields of the global war.”

His corps was honored in the Christmas paper, but Christmas was not to be for William Crawford Webb.  In late December, he had been furloughed and had gone home to Ray City, GA.  Following a tragic accident,  he was classified DNB by the Army –   “Died, Non-Battle.”

His obituary ran in the Nashville Herald:

The Nashville Herald
January 4, 1944

PFC William Crawford Webb Passed Away in Atlanta, Dec 23

PFC William Crawford Webb, 37, died a the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta Saturday afternoon December 23 at 1 o’clock following injuries received when he fell out of a car enroute from Ray City to Moody Field a fews days earlier in the week.
    PFC Webb had spent his entire life in this county before entering the U.S. Army in April, 1942.  He was the son of the late J. T. Webb and Mrs. J. T. Webb of Ray City. In 1927 he was married to the former Miss Doris Knight, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lester Knight.
    At the time of the accident PFC Webb was at home on furlough and had been stationed at Drew Field, Tampa Fla. in the Medical Corps.  Following his injury he was rushed to the hospital at Moody Field and then carried by plane to the hospital in Atlanta on Tuesday.
    Funeral services were held December 26 at 3:30 o’clock at Pleasant Church in Berrien County.  Rev. Charlie Vickers of Nashville, and Elder John Davis of Pearson, conducting the services.  Burial was in the church cemetery.
    Survivors include beside the wife nine children.  Terrell, Heyward, Louise, Donald, Thomas, Bennie K., Jimmie, Linda, and Dean, all at home, his mother, Mrs. J. T. Webb of Ray City, and nine brothers, Dr. M. L. Webb and L. O. Webb of Tifton, L. H. Webb, H. P. Webb, and M. B. Webb of Ray City; H. W. Webb of Valdosta, U. T. Webb, J. T. Webb of Miami, Fla., and Sgt. Homer Webb of U. S. Army, Ill.

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The Long Trip Home

Shellie Loyd Webb was among the Berrien County men who were drafted in the summer of 1918 as replacement troops for the war in France.

Private Webb entered service in July 16, 1918. Was attached to First Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Over-seas Replacement Draft, Ft. Screven, Ga. Embarked for over-seas service in September, 1918, sailing on the ill-fated transport "Otranto," which was sunk off the Scottish Coast in a collision October 6, 1918. Private Webb was one of the soldiers drowned.

Private Webb entered service in July 16, 1918. Was attached to First Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Over-seas Replacement Draft, Ft. Screven, Ga. Embarked for over-seas service in September, 1918, sailing on the ill-fated transport “Otranto,” which was sunk off the Scottish Coast in a collision October 6, 1918. Private Webb was one of the soldiers drowned.

He was born near Ray City,GA (fka Ray’s Mill) on  August 25, 1894, one of eleven sons born to John Thomas Webb and Mary Webb.  He grew up on his father’s farm in the 1329 Georgia Militia District, where he worked as a farm laborer.

Shellie Webb registered for the draft in Berrien County on June 5, 1917.  He was a tall, dark and handsome young man, nearly six and a half feet, with medium build, blue eyes and dark hair.  Still single at age 23, he worked on his own account and for his father as a farmer.

Inducted into the army at Nashville, GA on July 15 as a part of the Over-seas Replacement Draft, he was immediately sent along with other men of Berrien county to Ft. Screven, GA. There,   Private Webb  entered service in July 16, 1918.  He was attached to First Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Ft. Screven, Ga.  Many of the Berrien men were placed into other companies of the Coast Artillery Corps including Bennie Griner, Ralph Knight, John F. Moore, Thomas J. Sirmons, George Hutto, James M. Deloach, and Benjamin F. McCranie among others.

WWI soldiers drilling on the beach, Ft. Screven, GA.

WWI soldiers drilling on the beach, Ft. Screven, GA.

Shellie Webb trained on artillery through the late summer. On September 25, 1918 he and other Berrien men embarked for over-seas service, sailing on the armed  transport  HMS Otranto.  The Otranto joined Convoy HX50, a convoy of troop ships and escorts crossing the North Atlantic, and about 10 days into the voyage was off the coast of Scotland.

On October 10, 1918 the British Admiralty issued a statement that another transport, the Kashmir, had collided with the Otranto.  The collision occurred on Sunday, October 6, 1918.

ADMIRALTY STATEMENT

     “At 11 o’clock on Sunday the armed merchantile cruiser Otranto,  Acting Captain Ernest Davidson in command, was in collision with the steamship Kashmir. Both vessels were carrying United States troops. The weather was very bad and the ships drifted apart and soon lost sight of each other.  The torpedo boat destroyer Mounsey, was called by wireless and by skillful handling succeeded in taking off 24 officers and 239 men of the crew and 300 United States soldiers and 30 French sailors. They were landed at a North Irish port.
     The Otranto drifted ashore on the island of Islay.  She became a total wreck.  Sixteen survivors have been picked up. There are missing and it is feared drowned, 335 United States soldiers, 11 officers, 85 men of the crew, including men with merchantile ratings.
     The Kashmir reached a Scottish port and landed its troops without casualties.

For days, newspapers around the world carried accounts of the the disaster; the heroics of the survivors and tragedy of the dead.  Hundreds of bodies washed up on the shores of Islay, among them the body of Shellie Loyd Webb.  The people of Islay labored to inter the dead soldiers with dignity and respect.

BURIAL AT KILCHOMAN

     ISLAND OF ISLAY (Scotland) Thursday October 10.  – American dead from the transport ship Otranto will be buried in the little churchyard at Kilchoman in wide graves accommodating twenty bodies each. The church was too small to hold more than a hundred bodies, and scores were placed under improvised shelters in the churchyard.
    As rapidly as the bodies can be assembled from now on they will be buried in groups of twenty in an open field on the edge of a cliff commanding a wide view of the sea and directly overlooking the scene of the wreck.
    A memorial service will be held tomorrow at the church. It will be conducted by the Rev. Donald Grant, who, with Mrs. Grant, were leaders in rescue work.  American and British officers, the Islay authorities and islanders will attend. After the simple service has been read a military salute will be fired over the graves.

1918 Funeral Service for Victims of the Otranto Disaster, Island of Islay, Scotland

1918 Funeral Service for Victims of the Otranto Disaster, Island of Islay, Scotland

The Atlanta Constitution
Nov 17, 1918 Pg B10

American Anthem Sung at Funeral of Otranto Victims

Britons Broke Time-Hallowed Custom That Called for “God Save the King” and Sang “Star Spangled Banner.”

     Bridgend, Island of Islay, Scotland, October 12. — The time-hallowed custom of singing “God Save the King” at the conclusion of every formal British ceremony was broken at the funeral services last Friday for the American soldiers who lost their lives with the sinking of the transport Otranto in collision off the Scotch coast with the Kashmir.
     As a tribute to the American soldiers buried side by side with the naval officers and men from the wrecked British transport, the British national anthem was followed by the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which included several high naval and military officers and virtually the entire population of the island joined.  Few new the words, but the islanders carried the tune with their soft Gaelic voices, standing with their heads bared to the sharp wind from the sea.
     It was a delicate courtesy that was deeply appreciated by the United States army officers and American Red Cross officials present.
     To attend the funeral the islanders came from the remotest parts of Islay, some driving 30 miles in the springless, jolting “box carts,” familiar to Americans who have toured Ireland and Scotland.
     Up to that time the bodies of 100 victims had been recovered and given temporary burial in an open field near the little church at Kilchoman, which looks out over the cliff to the scene of the wreck.  The procession, which formed in the churchyard, followed the bodies of the Otranto’s captain, G.W. Davidson, and the ship’s chief engineer to the burial ground.  The Laird of Islay’s pipers headed the cortege, playing Scotch dirges as they marched.  Then came a firing party, with arms reversed; next, the three clergymen of the island, the Rev. Donald Grant, of the Scottish Presbyterian church; an Episcopal minister and a Roman Catholic priest.  Then  came the bearers of the British and American flags. the latter being Sergeant C. A. McDonald of Galesburg, Ill., one of the survivors.  United States army and American Red Cross officers marched, as the chief mourners, behind the flags, followed by British naval and military officers, the laird, Hugh Morrison, and other prominent men of Islay.
     A guard of the Argyllshire constabulary, brought from the mainland, had been posted around the graves.
     Simple services, consisting chiefly of the reading of prayers, were conducted by Mr. Grant, assisted by the priest and the Episcopal minister.  A salute of six volleys was then fired, after which the British and American national anthems were sung.
     The graves were wide shallow pits, the bodies being  covered only with sod, while American soldiers were making coffins for the regular internment which was soon to follow.

Military Salute to Otranto Victims, Kilchoman Cemetery, Island of Islay, Scotland. A military salute being fired over the mass graves of American troops killed in the wreck of the Otranto which occured October 6, 1918. Among the dead were two soldiers from Ray City, GA, Shellie Loyd Webb and Ralph Knight.

Military Salute to Otranto Victims, Kilchoman Cemetery, Island of Islay, Scotland. A military salute being fired over the mass graves of American troops killed in the wreck of the Otranto which occured October 6, 1918. Among the dead were two soldiers from Ray City, GA, Shellie Loyd Webb and Ralph Knight.

Graves of Otranto Men, Kilchoman Cemetery, Island of Islay, Scotland.

Graves of Otranto Men, Kilchoman Cemetery, Island of Islay, Scotland.

It is not definitively known that Shellie L. Webb was included in the processional and burial described above, as bodies continued to wash up on the shores of Islay for weeks after the Otranto was destroyed.  When military authorities were able to make a full accounting of the surviving and the  dead, his father, John Thomas Webb ,  of RFD #1 Ray City, was notified of his death.

After the war a decision was reached to bring home the remains of the soldiers who died in the Otranto disaster.

The Atlanta Constitution
June 26, 1920

DEAD OF THE OTRANTO TO BE BROUGHT HOME.

Paris, June 25.  — The exhumation of the bodies of 489 American soldiers which were washed upon the rocky shores of the Island of Islay, off the Scottish coast, after the sinking of the transports Tuscania and Otranto in 1918 will be started July 1, it was announced here today.
     The Scottish clan which inhabits the lonely spot has taken the most tender care of the graves and the Chief had given a pledge that the clan would look after the graves as if they were its own until the end of time.  The Chief pleaded that the bodies be left on the island, but the relatives in many cases wished them to be returned and it was decided by the Graves Registration Service to remove them all.
     The coast of Islay is so steep and rocky that the coffins will have to be carried down trails cut in the rocks or lowered by ropes and tackles to a waiting barge, which will convey them to a transport off shore.

But with the exhumation of the Scottish graves the authorities were unable to account for the  remains of Shellie Loyd Webb.  While the bodies of other soldiers were returned and re-interred on American soil, the whereabouts of Shellie Webb was an unsolved mystery.  Despite earlier reports, the Webb family did not know if he had been lost at sea, or if his body had been recovered and buried in Scotland.

Finally, ten years after the fact,  Shellie Webb’s mother received word that the grave of her son had been located in Scotland.

The Adel News
Friday October 12, 1928, pg 1

Shellie L. Webb Otranto Victim
Sleeps in his native soil
Funeral Services Held at Morris Cemetery Sunday Morning

     The remains of Mr. Shellie Lloyd Webb, one of the twenty-seven Berrien county young men who perished on the ill-fated Otranto which had a collision with another vessel and went down off the coast of Ireland during the world war, to be exact on the 6th day of October, 1918, was buried at the Morris cemetery in Berrien county Sunday morning at eleven o’clock.  Mr. Webb was a son of Mrs. J.T. Webb of Ray City. He was about twenty-two years of age when he paid the supreme sacrifice for his country, being on his way to France when the ship went down.  His body was recovered and during these years was buried temporarily in Ireland.  He was unaccounted for and during all these years his mother and brothers have waited anxiously to know if he had been buried or had been lost in the ocean.  The authorities had been unable to tell them definitely.  All the while they had the request of the mother on file in Washington for information on her boy.  A short while ago when the Government had determined to move the bodies of the heroes from their temporary resting place in the National cemetery and when they had been exhumed it was found that the young man’s identification card was on his coffin and upon notification Mrs. Webb  requested that his body be sent home, which was done.  Of the thirty young men from Berrien county, which then included Cook and most of Lanier on the Otranto, only three escaped death.  They are all living today and are:  Mr. Earlie Stewart, of Nashville, Mr. Grady Wright, of Jacksonville, and Mr. Ange Wetherington of Colquitt county.  Mr. Wright and Mr. Wetherington jumped to another boat which had come to the rescue and Mr. Wright had his foot and leg badly injured. Mr. Stewart got to land.  The accident occurred in sight of land, it is said.

    The funeral services for Mr. Webb were largely attended and were deeply impressive.  They were conducted by Elder Davis of Alapaha, assisted by Elder Carver.  The pall bearers were Dr. M.L. Webb, Mr. U.T. Webb, Dr. F. W. Austin, Mr. C.R. Tillman, Mr. G.H. Flowers, and Col. H.W. Nelson.  Mr. Webb was a perfect specimen of manhood being nearly six and a half feet high and weighing close to two hundred pounds.  He was a gallant young man and had many friends who were grieved when he died. Indeed, Berrien county and this section felt the pang of anguish in every home almost when so many of her brave young men met death at once time while on their way across the mighty deep to meet a foreign foe.  Mr. Webb is survived by his devoted mother and ten brothers.  Dr. M.L., L.H., T.J., L.O., M.B., U.T., H.P., H.W., W.C., and Homer Webb.

      Funeral arrangements were in charge of Undertaker A.D. Wiseman of Adel.

After a journey of ten years and 4000 miles   Shellie Loyd Webb was laid to rest  for the final time at Pleasant Cemetery (formerly Morris Cemetery) about 10 miles west of Ray City, GA.

Grave Marker of Shellie Loyd Webb, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Grave Marker of Shellie Loyd Webb,  Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

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Ray City Girls Retreat at Epworth on St. Simons Island

In 1950, the Methodists of south Georgia established a religious center on the Georgia coast. Epworth by the Sea began as “a small rustic camp facility with a few old plantation buildings” on St. Simons Island.

Patricia Bradford, 1951 Junior Class portrait, Ray City School, Ray City, GA.

Patricia Bradford attended a retreat for Methodist youth at Epworth by the Sea, St. Simons Island, GA. 1951 Junior Class portrait, Ray City School, Ray City, GA.

Young Methodist from all over the state were drawn to the new retreat center, and in the summer of 1951 two young women from Ray City, GA attended the annual retreat.

   Nashville Herald
   June 14, 1951

    Ray City Girls attend Retreat

    Miss Betty Jo Webb and Miss Patricia Bradford attended the annual district officer’s retreat on June the 7, 8, 9, and 10.
    The event was at Epworth by the Sea, the Youth Center for Methodist Young people on St. Simon’s Island.

Betty Jo Webb and Patricia Bradford lived in neighboring houses on Main Street in Ray City, GA.  Betty Jo Webb’s parents were Garth Webb, Postmaster of Ray City, and Jessie Francis Webb, a teacher at the Ray City School.  Patricia Bradford’s parents were Leon Bradford, a Ray City Barber, and Lula Eudora Bradford.  Patricia Bradford later married  Ray City lumberman Thomas Studstill, a son of Thomas Julian “Boots” Studstill and Maudell Vaughn Studstill.

The  historical marker at the site of Epworth by the Sea describes how the center was founded.

 Epworth Pioneers

In 1945, South Georgia Methodists resolved to establish a religious center. After searching four years for a site, the Sea Island Company offered to sell them 43.53 acres of the Hamilton Plantation. Because the Conference did not have the $40,000, Bishop Arthur J. Moore asked nine laymen to join him in signing a bank note for a tenth of the purchase price. Not one refused. Since D. Abbott Turner never signed a note, he gave $4,000 in cash. Later known as Epworth Pioneers, they were A.J. Strickland, Jr., Alfred W. Jones, Sr., Blasingame, J. Slater Wright, Ben J. Tarbutton, Sr., Leo B. Huckabee, Jerome Crawley, George T. Morris and D. Abbott Turner. On July 25, 1950, in the Wesley tradition, almost 800 Methodists met under moss draped live oaks for the formal opening. Churches and individuals responded, paid the debt and began a tradition of love, prayers and financial support which makes God’s ministry at Epworth possible. 

 
 
 

 

 

Epworth Pioneers Historical Marker. Image courtesy of David Seibert and http://www.hmdb.org

Epworth Pioneers Historical Marker. Image courtesy of David Seibert and http://www.hmdb.org

Epworth

More on Berrien County, GA Desperado, Benjamin William Furlong

By request, an additional follow-up on Benjamin William Furlong.  His ghost was said to haunt the mill where he worked at the time of his last heinous crime.  The location was the “Sniff Mill,”  situated at or near Alapaha, GA on the route of the Brunswick & Albany Railroad.  So far, no additional details as to the actual site of the mill are known.

In 1886, the story of the Berrien County, GA desperado Benjamin W. Furlong made the national newspapers, and was published as far away as Maitland, Australia.

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser
Thursday 25 November 1886, Pg 7

End of a Noted Desperado.

Allapaha, Ga., Oct. 8.-Benjamin W. Furlong, who committed suicide here two weeks ago, had led a life of singular desperation. From the time when he was a boy to the hour of his death he was a terror to every neighbourhood in which he lived. At the age of 15 a responsible position in a sawmill, owned by his brother-in-law, at Pine Bloom, was given him. One day a coloured teamster was found in his waggon dead, with his throat cut. It was developed that young Furlong had had a quarrel with the teamster, which ended in the tragedy. The murderer disappeared, and was gone several years. When he returned he resumed his desperate career, without ever having been called to account.

A little over two years ago Mr. R. P. Reppard, a wealthy gentleman of Savannah, fitted up a sawmill at Vanceville, on the Brunswick and Albany road, in which he invested 30,000 dols. He placed Ben Furlong and his brother John in charge of it, and, having the utmost confidence in them, left it entirely to their management. The charge of such a large business turned Furlong’s head completely. He began drinking heavily, neglected his wife and family, and took to the companionship of wantons. One day he rode up to his house with a woman from Savannah, and, taking her in, presented her to his wife, saying :

” Pocahontas, how do you like this. Ain’t she a beauty ?”

The dishonored wife broke into tears, whereupon her husband seized her by the hair and dragged her across the floor, stamping upon her and breaking a chair to pieces across her body. The pair then re-entered the buggy and drove off, leaving the wife unconscious upon the floor. There she was found several hours later by some passing neighbors. When her story became know the utmost indignation prevailed. Parties of men started out in pursuit of the recreant husband. He was caught up with at a country house, where he sat with a Winchester rifle across his knee.

” I’ll blow the brains out of the first man who dares to come near me,” he said determinedly.

For several hours the posse stood at a respectful distance, deeming discretion the better part of valor, and then retired and left Furlong master of

the situation.

Mr. Reppard soon became aware of the state of affairs, and dispatched a trusted agent to Vance- ville to take charge of the business. When the agent arrived at the mill he found that John Furlong had received information of his coming, and, had scraped together 10,000 dols of the mill’s money and skipped out for Texas. Three months later news was received of John’s tragic death in that State. He bid in some property at the Sheriff’s sale, and offered part payment in notes.

“That was not in the bargain,” said the Sheriff, “You are a liar,” retorted John.

The reply was a bullet from the Sheriff’s revolver, which pierced John’s heart.

In the meantime Ben Furlong threw off all restraints. Whenever he made his appearance, all the officers seemed to withdraw in his favour. On one occasion he boarded the train bound for Brunswick, and going into the colored coach, took a seat. In front of him sat a negro.

” Throw that cigar out of the window,” ordered Furlong.

” I have paid for my seat and do not want to be disturbed.”

Instantly, Furlong caught the negro by the head, pulled it back over the seat, and made several lunges with his knife into the negro’s throat. Furlong jumped off the car and escaped into the woods.

On another occasion Furlong sought out Engineer Brock on the Brunswick and Albany road, and asked him if he wanted the money which was due him. On Brock making an affirmative reply, Furlong said: “If you do, just take that,” firing at the same time and striking the engineer in the abdomen.

About six months ago Furlong gave some evidence of reformation, to encourage which his friends united and started him once more in the business, with headquarters at Sniff, on the Brunswick and Albany road. But his reformation was of short duration. He always went armed, and would shoot into a crowd of coloured people just for the purpose of seeing them scatter. On September 1 he started on a big debauch, and was so desperate that even his confederates feared him. On the night of Thursday, September 23, he called his wife and children to him, asked them to pardon him for his past bad conduct, and declared that the morning’s light would find him a new man. After kissing them he retired to his room, where he was found, an hour later in a comatose condition, and by his side was an empty laudanum vial. The end came before morning, and with the news of Furlong’s death went rumours of a darker crime. No one would speak for over a week, and then the story came out, which established the fact that Furlong had been driven to suicide because of a murder which he had committed two weeks before, and in the commission of which he had two confederates.

On the down freight train on Sept. 7 was Jesse Webb, coloured, who was in search of employment. He was put off the train at the Sniff mill, where Furlong spotted him as a man who had previously entered into a contract with him. Webb refused to go with Furlong, whereupon the latter seized him, and, handcuffing him, put him under guard of J. M. Lofton, a white man from Atlanta, and Tom Sharon. Webb made a break for liberty, running toward the swamp, with Furlong in full pursuit. A discharge from Furlong’s rifle brought Webb to the ground in a clump of bushes about 400 yards from the house. When Furlong returned to the house he put all under notice that he would kill the first one that “peached.” Furlong, Lofton, and Sharon, each carrying a double-barreled shot- gun, went down to where the wounded negro lay. Furlong, in his desperation, cut the victim’s throat. For three days and three nights they kept the victim there in sight of help and yet giving him none. On the third day they killed him, and dragged the body into the back yard, where it was buried. When the body was exhumed by the Coroner it was found that the skull was crushed in three places. In the man’s mouth was a roll of waste as is used for packing boxes on car wheels.

The strange part of the story is that for three weeks fully fifty men knew of the murder, talked of it among themselves, and yet stood in such mortal dread of Furlong that they did not dare to tell the story until his suicide removed all danger. The two accomplices in the murder have fled the country.

End of a Noted Desperado. (1886, November 25). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843-1893), p. 7.   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18898807

End of a Career of Blood. (1886, October 9).  The New York SunQuick View

Shellie Loyd Webb – Lost at Sea

Private Webb entered service in July 16, 1918. Was attached to First Company, Coast Artillery Corps, Over-seas Replacement Draft, Ft. Screven, Ga. Embarked for over-seas service in September, 1918, sailing on the ill-fated transport “Otranto,” which was sunk off the Scottish Coast in a collision October 6, 1918. Private Web was one of the soldiers drowned.