Charles Russell Herring ~ Killed by a Rattlesnake

As summer draws to a close  it is not unusual to spot a rattlesnake along the roadsides or fields of Berrien County, GA.   On September 3, 1937 the Clinch County News reported a fatal rattlesnake encounter at Ray City, GA

Charles Russell Herring was a son of Minnie J. and Charles B. “Barney” Herring, of Ray City, GA. He was born March 4, 1910 and raised in Berrien County, in the Connell’s Mill district just west of Ray City.  His parents owned a farm on the Hahira, Cecil & Milltown road.

Obituary of Charles Russel Herring, killed by a rattlesnake, Ray City, GA, 1937

Obituary of Charles Russel Herring, killed by a rattlesnake, Ray City, GA, 1937

Charles Russell Herring

Russell Herring, 27, Ray City farmer, was bitten Tuesday afternoon by a rattlesnake, dying the next day.  Anti-venom serum rushed  to Nashville to save his life, arrived too late.  He was bitten as he and a companion were sawing wood in a swamp near his home.

Grave of Charles Russell Herring, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave of Charles Russell Herring, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Image source:  Robert Strickland.

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Memorial Day Remembrance of the Service and Sacrifice of Hubert Felton Comer

Hubert Felton Comer

Hubert Felton Comer

Memorial Day Remembrance of the Service and Sacrifice of Hubert Felton Comer

In the 2007-2008 Georgia Legislative Session, The Georgia Senate passed a resolution to dedicate the Ray City bridge over Cat Creek in memorial to Hubert F. Comer:

A RESOLUTION

Dedicating certain portions of the state highway system; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, Hubert F. Comer served in the United States Navy and was assigned to the USS Rich, a destroyer escort during the Normandy invasion in June 1944; and

WHEREAS, the USS Rich hit three German mines off the Normandy coast two days after the Normandy invasion; and

WHEREAS, Hubert F. Comer was listed among the missing, and his body was never recovered; and

WHEREAS, Hubert F. Comer was awarded the American Area Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal, and the Purple Heart; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and appropriate to honor Hubert F. Comer for his service and ultimate sacrifice in that service to the United States of America, the State of Georgia, and Berrien County by the naming of the SR 37 bridge on Cat Creek in honor and memory of his service and sacrifice.

Hubert  Felton Comer, age nine, was enumerated along with his family in the 1930 census living in the Lois community near Ray City, GA. He was a son of Margaret Jane Hudson and Audley H. Comer.  His father was a farmer, and Hubert and his older brother, Harold, assisted with the farm labor.

Hubert Felton Comer, 8th Grade, New Lois School, Berrien County, GA.

Hubert Felton Comer, 8th Grade, New Lois School, Berrien County, GA.

Hubert, and siblings who were of age, attended the one room school house at Lois.  A 1936-37 class photo (detail at right) depicting Hubert at about age sixteen is available at the Berrien County Historical Photos Collection.

Later, Hubert attended the Ray City School where he graduated from high school about 1940  (see Glee Club Gave 1939 Christmas Cantata).

Hubert Felton Comer enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve on April 6, 1942.

Hubert Felton Comer was born July 14, 1920 and died June 8, 1944.

The Nashville Herald
September 28, 1944

Hubert F. Comer Reported Dead

    Hubert F. Comer, 24, Carpenters Mate Second Class, U.S.N.R. , missing in action since July 9, was reported dead in a letter received last week by his wife.  The letter stated that he had been carried on the official records of the Navy Department in the status of missing since June 6, 1944.  He was servicing on board the U. S. S. Rich when that vessel was lost in the European Invasion as a result of enemy action.
     News of his death read:
     “It is with deep regret you are here advised that, although the body of your husband was not recovered, his commanding officer has reported that the circumstances surrounding his disappearance have lead to a conclusion of death.  It is hoped you may find comfort in the knowledge that he was serving his country at the time of his death.”
     He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Comer of Ray City, who received similar news of his death.
     Young Comer was graduated from the Ray City high school in 1940 after which he was employed on construction projects at Augusta.  He enlisted in the Navy in April of 1942 and was married to the former Miss Paula Skinner in June 1943. His last leave at home was in March of this year.  He was a person of good moral character and his many friends are grieved to learn of his death.
     Survivors include his wife and parents, four brothers, M. Sgt. Harold Comer of Eglin Field, Fla., Sgt. James E. Comer, somewhere overseas, Jerry and Murray Comer of Ray City, and two sisters, Ms. Algerine Garner, of San Diego, Calif., and Miss Barbara Comer, of Ray City.

Aboard the USS Rich:

Hubert Felton Comer aboard the USS Rich (DE 695), WWII.

Hubert Felton Comer aboard the USS Rich (DE 695), WWII.

The USS Rich was officially described as, “DE – 695: displacement 1,800; length 306’; beam 36’10”; draft 13’6”; speed 24 knots; complement 215; armament 3 3”, 4 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type), 3 21” torpedo tubes; class Buckley.”

The USS Rich (DE-695) was laid down on March 27, 1943 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, MI.; launched June 22, 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ralph McMaster Rich; and commissioned October 1, 1943, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, in command.

The USS Rich (DE-695) was laid down on March 27, 1943 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, MI.; launched June 22, 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Ralph McMaster Rich; and commissioned October 1, 1943, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, in command.

The USS Rich was laid down on 27 March 1943 at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company, Bay City, Michigan, the third destroyer escort to be built at that yard. She was launched on 22 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Ralph McMaster Rich, widow of Lt. Rich.

After completion, the USS Rich was sailed from the builder’s yard at Bay City, IL to Chicago, Illinois, arriving September 24, 1943. From there, she passed through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and down the Chicago River. At  Joliet, IL, pontoons were attached to the ship so she could be pushed down the Des Plaines River, Illinois River, and Mississippi River as part of a barge train.

USS Rich on the Mississippi River. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

USS Rich on the Mississippi River. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

The ship was docked at the Todd Johnson Shipyard in Algiers, Louisiana, on the west bank of the Mississippi at New Orleans.  Hubert Comer and the rest of the crew reported aboard, and the USS Rich was commissioned on October 1, 1943, Lieutenant Commander E. A. Michel, Jr., USNR, in command.

Crew of the USS Rich DE695 at commissioning ceremony in New Orleans, LA, October 1,1943. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

Crew of the USS Rich DE695 at commissioning ceremony in New Orleans, LA, October 1,1943. Image source: http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/Photos/PhotoGallery.htm

Hubert Felton Comer listed on the muster roll of the USS Rich (DE 695) during WWII.

Hubert Felton Comer listed on the muster roll of the USS Rich (DE 695) during WWII.

Following a shakedown cruise off Bermuda, the USS Rich was primarily engaged in coastal escort and patrol duty with Escort Division 19 (CortDiv 19) until the end of February 1944.   Then assigned to trans-Atlantic escort work, she completed three round-trip crossings by May. On May 10, 1944, Rich departed New York City in escort of a convoy to Britain in what would be her last transit of the North Atlantic.

USS Rich (DE 695)  somewhere in the Atlantic.

USS Rich (DE 695) somewhere in the Atlantic.

On May 23, 1943 the USS Rich arrived at Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and awaited a convoy to escort back to the United States. Instead, Rich was assigned to the Normandy Invasion force, and commenced preparations for “Operation Neptune”, the naval phase of the invasion of Normandy. She arrived at Plymouth, England on June 4, and was assigned as an escort to the battleship Nevada.

Delayed by weather for 24 hours, the “U” force sailed for France on 5 June, with Rich and her sister ship Bates in the screen of the bombardment group of Task Force 125 (TF 125), which consisted of the battleship Nevada and the heavy cruisers Quincy (CA-71), Tuscaloosa, and HMS Black Prince. On “D-Day”, 6 June 1944 and the two days following, she screened naval gunfire support ships off “Utah” Beach as they laid fire for the troops landed on Utah Beach to the northwest of the Carentan Estuary. On 6 June, Rich laid down a smoke screen which foiled an attack by German E-Boat.

On the morning of June, 8, 1944, soon after 08:45, she was ordered by the Commander of Task Group 125.8 (TG 125.8) aboard Tuscaloosa to proceed to Fire Support Area 3 to assist the destroyer Glennon which had struck a mine northwest of the Saint-Marcouf Islands. Rich proceeded at full speed to the area, and then followed in the wake of two minesweepers to the immediate area of the Glennon. Closing on Glennon, Rich dispatched a whaleboat, only to learn that her assistance was not needed at that point. Rich then started to round the disabled ship and take up station ahead of the minesweeper which had taken Glennon in tow. She moved at slow speed, with extra hands on the lookout for enemy planes and mines.

USS Rich with the USS Glennon

USS Rich with the USS Glennon

At approximately 0920, a mine exploded 50 yards off Rich’s starboard beam.

“Although men were shaken and power and lights lost temporarily, no serious damage occurred from the mine blast.  The ship was not so lucky when a second mine was encountered three minutes later.  A deafening explosion thundered from beneath RICH.  Men were thrown from the bridge to the deck.  A 50-foot section of the ship’s stern was torn off and set adrift.  Survivors attempted to cling to debris or swim to safety and the seriously wounded were helpless in the mangled wreckage.  A series of emergency reports reached the bridge – several torpedoes were making hot runs in their tubes; the main deck had sagged, vicinity of No. 2 engine-room; compartments forward of the engineering spaces had suffered only minor damage.  But, there was never time to assess the reports.  Only minutes later, a third mine unleashed its fury on RICH.  She stayed afloat less than thirty minutes before settling into the sea.  RICH and 89 crewmembers were gone.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward A. Michel, Jr. received the Navy Cross for heroism and devotion to duty.  USS RICH DE 695 was the last DesLant ship to go down to Nazi mines off Normandy.”

Roscoe, Theodore, “United States Destroyer Operations In World War II”, 1953, US Naval Institute.

One year after the sinking of the USS Rich, a memorial service was held in Ray City for Hubert Comer:

The Nashville Herald
June 7, 1945  Pg1

Memorial Services for Hubert Comer At Ray City Friday

      Memorial services for Hubert F. Comer, C. M. 2-C,  U.S.N.R., will be held Friday, June 8, at 4 E.W.T. at the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City.
       Seaman Comer served on the Destroyer Rich and participated in the invasion of France last June.  The U.S.S. Rich served as an escort ship and screening vessel in protection of heavier ships.
       During the invasion it stood by to render aid to another destroyer when it struck several mines and went down.   Seaman Comer went down with his ship and was never seen again.  He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Pauline S. Comer of Nashville, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.T. Comer of Ray City, four brothers, Harold Comer of Eglin Field, Fla., James and Jerry Comer, who are overseas, and Murray Comer of Ray City, two sisters, Mrs. Algerine Garner, and Miss Barbara Comer of Ray City, and his grandparents, Elder and Mrs. Joe Hudson, of Bartow, Fla.
       Primitive hymns will be sung. Elder M. S. Peavy and Elder C. H. Vickers will officiate. A marker will be placed in the cemetery.

Memorial marker, New Ramah Cemetery. In Memory of Hubert F. Comer who died at sea, Jul 14 1920 - Jun 8 1944. "Nobly he fell while fighting for liberty."

Memorial marker, New Ramah Cemetery. In Memory of Hubert F. Comer who died at sea, Jul 14 1920 – Jun 8 1944. “Nobly he fell while fighting for liberty.”

Memorial marker for Hubert Felton Comer, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Memorial marker for Hubert Felton Comer, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Ola Crews and Otis Mikell

The Minutes of the One Hundred Twentieth Annual Session of the Union Primitive Baptist Association, October 18-20, 1975 noted the passing of Ola Crews Mikell:

MEMORIAL COMMITTEE

WE, YOUR COMMITTEE ON MEMORIALS BEG TO SUBMIT OUR REPORT IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR DEAR DECEASED MEMBERS WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED AWAY SINCE OUR LAST SESSION.

…SISTER LEALA MIKELL WAS BORN SEPT. 14, 1891, MARRIED BROTHER O.W. MIKELL MARCH 7, 1909, UNITED WITH OLIVE LEAF CHURCH SEPT. 1911, CAME TO NEW RAMAH CHURCH BY LETTER FEB. 12, 1916, DEPARTED THIS LIFE FEB 14, 1975.

IT IS WITH MUCH SADNESS THAT WE RECORD THESE MEMORIALS, BUT WE SAY TO ALL THAT MOURN THEIR PASSING, WE SHARE IN YOUR LOSS, BUT WE BELIEVE THAT OUR LOSS IS THEIR ETERNAL GAIN, OUR PRAYERS THAT GOD’S RICHEST BLESSINGS WILL FILL THE EMPTINESS THAT IS LEFT BY THEIR ABSENCE.

Anne Leola “Ola” Crews was born in Clinch County, GA on   September 14, 1891, the eldest child of Perry Crews and Rhoda Guthrie. She appeared with her family in the Census of 1900 in the Mud Creek district of Clinch County. Her father was working a rented farm there.

In 1909, Ola Crews married Otis Willie Mikell in Clinch County.  Born April 8, 1885 in Berrien County, he was a tall and slender young man, with dark hair and blue eyes.  His  mother was Rebecca Lee (1845-1932). His father, John A. Mikell (1848-1889), served terms as Justice of the Peace, Road commissioner, and Deputy Sheriff in Clinch County, GA.

Otis Mikell and Ola Crews marriage certificate.

Otis Mikell and Ola Crews marriage certificate.

While the Clinch County marriage license clearly shows that O.W. Mikell and Ola Crews were joined in matrimony on March 7, 1909, census records from this period are confusing.

On the one hand, it appears that Ola continued to live with her mother for some time after her marriage.  In the 1910 census of of the Mud Creek district, Ola Crews was enumerated on April 19 in her widowed mother’s household, under her maiden name, as a single female.  Her mother, Rhoda Crews, was head-of-household, a farmer, working her land on her own account.

On the other hand, the census of Militia District 1280 in Clinch County, enumerated in May, 1910 shows  O.W. Mikell as head of household with his wife, Ola Mikell, married one year.  Otis and Ola were renting a house on the farm owned by his mother. Otis’ brother, George Calhoun Mikell,  and his family were renting the house next door.

Ola and Otis Mikell were members of the Primitive Baptist faith.  Church records show that Ola Mikell united with Olive Leaf Primitive Baptist Church near Dupont, GA in September, 1911.

Some time before 1916, Otis and Ola moved to Ray City, GA. On February 12, 1916 Ola joined with New Ramah Church at Ray City by letter.  The WWI draft registration records show Otis worked as a farmer at M.C. Lee’s place.

In the Census of 1920, Otis W. Mikell was renting a farm on a settlement road near Ray City.  By this time, the Otis and Ola’s household included their five children: Annie C., Alvin L., Cleo,  and the twins  Clementine and Pauline. Also in the Mikell home was Otis’ brother, Augustus.  Farming next door was  John Troutman from Bavaria, Germany, and boarding with him was the Primitive Baptist preacher, Alfred F. Fender.

In the 1930s,  Otis and Ola  were renting a farm and raising their children in the Lois district, near Ray City.

Children of Ola Crews and Otis Mikell:

  1. Annie Clarice Mikell 1911 – December 12, 2002
  2. Alvin Lee Mikell 1913 – 1987
  3. Lula Cleo Mikell, April 4, 1915 – October 27, 2013
  4. Pauline Mikell 1919 – 2006
  5. Clementine Mikell 1919 – 1992
  6. Ola Mae Mikell 1929 –

 

Otis Mikell died February 19, 1958. Ola Crews Mikell died Feb 14, 1975. They are both buried at New Ramah Cemetery in Ray City, along with others  of the Mikell family connection.

Ola Crews and Otis Mikell, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Ola Crews and Otis Mikell, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

A Brief History of New Ramah Baptist Church at Ray City, GA

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, at Ray City, GA, was built on land donated by   Elias M “Hun” Knight, John T. “Coot” Knight, Alexander “Bub” Knight, and  Levi Jackson Knight, the four sons of  Sarah “Sallie” Moore and Henry Harrison Knight,  and grandsons of pioneer settler John Knight.

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

In 1976, B.L. Johnson wrote a brief history of the church:

NEW RAMAH PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH

The land for the church and cemetery was donated by A.S. Knight, E.M. Knight, L.J. Knight, and John Knight, all sons of Henry H. Knight.

On August 30, 1913 the following brethren met and established the new church:  Elder I.A. Wetherington, Unity Church; Elder H.W. Parrish, Salem Church; Elder A.A. Knight, Pleasant Church; Elder E.R. Rhoden, Pleasant Hill; and Elder Ed Lindsey, Ty Ty Church.

Public donations from twenty-five cents on upwards to thirty-five dollars were given to build the church.  Elder A.A. Knight was the first pastor and served for twelve years from August 1913 until July 1925.  He was the father of June Knight,  Mrs. Martha Burkhalter, and Mrs. J.L. Lee, all former residents of the community.

Elder C.H. Vickers succeeded Elder Knight and he served as pastor until December 1970, having served continuously for almost 45 years. Serving shorter terms as pastor were Elder J.R. Stallings from January 1971 to January 1972; and Elder Elisha Roberts from January 1972 until August 1973.  The present pastor, Marcus Peavy, began his pastorate in August 1973.

Brethren who have served the church as clerks are George Mikell, Terrell Richardson, Lloyd Cribb and the present clerk, Austin Register.

There are presently eighteen members of the church.

Ferris Moore ~ Ray City Iceman

Ferris Moore (1906-1978)

Born Feb 17, 1906, Ferris Moore was the son of Hattie and J. Lacy Moore, and the grandson of Rachel J. Shaw and James Burton Moore.

About 1929  Ferris C. Moore married Bertice Vickers. The couple first made their home not far from Ray City in Lois, GA  where Ferris worked as a farmer.  Later, they moved to Ray City to live next door to Ferris’ father.  Their house was on the south side of Main Street and just east of Cat Creek.

Home of Ferris and Bertice Moore. Ray City, GA.

Home of Ferris and Bertice Moore. Ray City, GA.

In Ray City, Ferris Moore worked as an iceman. He delivered ice to local residences every other day.  He had an icehouse located on Paralleled Street, next to the tracks of Georgia & Florida Railroad.  The icehouse was a small shed, perhaps 10 by 10 feet. There was a small porch that served as a loading dock.

The  ice came from an ice plant in 300 pound blocks, and the iceman used an ice pick to cut what ever size blocks were needed. An eight pound block of ice sold for a nickel. The ice delivery man worked alone, with the ice loaded on an open truck and covered with a tarp.  Most people had an “ice box”  that served as a refrigerator of sorts,  and an eight  pound block of ice would last just about two days.

The 1940 census of Ray City shows Ferris Moore was a businessman and employer, managing a cold storage facility.  His father, James Lacy Moore was working as an ice dealer.

At times, Ferris Moore took handyman jobs in Ray City.  In 1951, when Rossie and Lessie Futch moved the home  at 507 Jones Street, Ferris Moore helped to paint the interior.

Ferris Moore died July 1, 1978 in Ray City, GA.  He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery.

Ferris G. Moore and Bertice Vickers Moore, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

Ferris G. Moore and Bertice Vickers Moore, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

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Almost Gone ~ Graves of D. Edwin Griner and Sarah Rouse at New Ramah Cemetery

Grave marker of D. Edwin Griner (June 21, 1870 - March 12, 1942), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Grave marker of D. Edwin Griner (June 21, 1870 – March 12, 1942), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

In the 1930’s D. Edwin Griner  was a miller working at a grist mill in Ray City, GA.  He and his wife, Sarah “Sallie” Rouse grew up in Berrien County, GA and lived for many years in and around Ray City.   They are buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA, although their grave markers have become almost illegible.

The cemetery at New Ramah is well tended these days, although the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church was torn down last year. The concrete markers of Edwin and Sallie Griner have not suffered from neglect, just from the wear of time. Concrete is less durable than granite: Memory less durable than concrete.

Here, then, is a brief tribute to the memory of  Edwin and Sallie Griner:

D. Edwin Griner was born June 21, 1870 in Berrien County, GA, a scion of the earliest pioneer families of Georgia and of Berrien County. He was the eldest son of Sallie Gaskins and Samuel Griner.

His father was Samuel Jackson Griner (1848-1909). He was descended from the Greiner family who came to Georgia with the Salzberger immigration. Edwin’s Great Grandfather, Captain John Griner fought in the Revolutionary War.

His mother, Sarah C. “Sallie” Gaskins, was the daughter of Harmon and Malissa Gaskins, early settlers of Berrien County.  Her father fought in the Battle of Brushy Creek, the last real engagement with the Indians in this region.

Although the grave marker of D. Edwin Griner bears the birthdate of June 21, 1870, he is not recorded in his parents household in the Census of 1870, since the census that year only enumerated “the name of each Person whose place of abode, on 1st day of June, 1870, was in this family.” At the time of his birth, Edwin’s parents were living in the 1148th Georgia Militia District, and posting their mail in Nashville, GA.

Edwin’s father, Samuel J. Griner, worked as a farmer, although at 21 years of age he did not yet have any land of his own – he had $284 in his personal estate. Perhaps he was working the land owned by one of his  many Gaskins in-laws who lived nearby.

Through 1880, Edwin’s father continued to farm in the 1148th Georgia Militia District. Ten-year-old Edwin attended school, as did his younger siblings who were old enough. Although his mother was occupied “keeping house,” she had evidently suffered a disability of some type, for the 1880 census record shows that she was, “Maimed, Crippled, Bedridden, or otherwise disabled.”

On October 22, 1894 D. Edwin Griner married Sarah “Sallie” Rouse in Berrien County, GA.  She was the daughter of Robert and Kizzia Rouse. The couple made their home in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District where the census of 1900 shows they owned a farm near Sallie’s parents and others of the family connection.

D. Edwin Griner and Sallie Rouse were married October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.

D. Edwin Griner and Sallie Rouse were married October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.

In 1910, Edwin  and Sarah Griner were enumerated by census taker Redding D. Swindle there in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District, along with son William, and daughter Sarah V.  The Griners owned a farm, free and clear of mortgage, where Edwin was farming on his own account. Sarah’s family was farming in the same neighborhood. Her brother, Joseph Rouse, was working the farm next door, and also in Joseph’s household was her widowed mother, Kizzie N. Rouse. Nearby, was the farm of another brother, Alfred Rouse.

Some time prior to 1920 D. Edwin Griner moved his family to Clinch County, GA where he owned a farm on the Stockton Road in the Mud Creek District.  Edwin and  son, Willie, did the farming while his Sarah and daughter, Sarah V., kept house.

By 1930, the Griners had moved back to Ray City, Berrien County, GA.  They had a house in town valued at $700.  The household included Edwin, Sarah, and their son,  William, who had lost his wife.    Thelma Sirmans and her boys were renting the place next door, and the blacksmith, Henry Woodard, was another neighbor.  Edwin worked as a miller, a wage employee at a local grist mill.  His gravemarker shows that he was also a Mason, perhaps a member of the Ray City lodge No. 553, or one of the other local lodges.

D. Edwin Griner died March 12, 1942. He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery on Park Street, Ray City, GA.  At his side rests Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner.  No date of death is discernible on the concrete headstone marking her grave, but her obituary gives her date of death as January 29, 1951.

Sarah "Sallie" Rouse Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Griner graves at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Left: Sarah "Sallie" Rouse Griner. Middle: D. E. Griner. Right: Willie "Bill" Edwin Griner.

Griner graves at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Left: Sarah “Sallie” Rouse Griner. Middle: D. E. Griner. Right: Willie “Bill” Edwin Griner.

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“Black John” Griner Buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

According to Tharon Griffin, who published The Descendents of Emanuel Griner, John Martin Griner, Jr.  was known as  “Black John” Griner or sometimes as Johnnie Griner.  Black John Griner was the son of John Martin Griner and Emily Taylor.

His grandfather was one of the earlier settlers of Lowndes County, GA, and his father, John Martin Griner, Sr.  served as a Private  in Company I, 50th Infantry Regiment Georgia.  He was a brother of Robert Lee Griner.

Black John Griner married Francis Elizabeth Meyers on September 13, 1883 in Berrien County, GA.

John Griner and Lizze Meyers marriage Certificate, September 13, 1883, Berrien County, GA

John Griner and Lizze Meyers marriage Certificate, September 13, 1883, Berrien County, GA. Marriage Books, Berrien County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives. http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,187634

John Griner died August 8, 1929.  He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.     His widow, Lizzie Griner,  was living at Ray City with her daughter Maggie and son-in-law Raymond R. Knight in the census of 1930.   Lizzie died in 1939 and was buried next to her husband.

Children  of  John Griner and Francis Elizabeth “Lizzie” Meyers were:

  • Jesse Waldon Griner -born May 9, 1896, Berrien County, GA; enlisted Navy, apprentice Seaman, December 28, 1917; later lived at Jasper, Fl.
  • Maggie Griner wife of Raymond R. Knight – Ray City, GA
  • Effie Griner  (married Harley D. Bostick) – Ray City, GA
  • Fannie Texas Griner – born November 24, 1891; married Abraham B. Lane; died April 3, 1965

John Martin Griner was survived by five siblings:

Henry Perry Griner
Lee Griner – [Robert Lee Griner]
Colon Griner
Mrs. Tom Myers – Ray City, GA
Mrs. G. A. Wheeless, Ray City, GA

Elizabeth Meyers and John M. Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

Elizabeth Meyers and John M. Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

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Tessica Vining (1888-1969), Ray City, GA

Tessica Vining of Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Tessica Vining of Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Tessica “Tessie” Vining, was born on was born March 28, 1888 in Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City), Georgia.  Her Father was Bani J. “Bench” Vining, her mother Martha Crosby Vining.

Tessica Vining married three times.

On September 14, 1902, she married Lucious Randal Miley  in Echols County, Georgia, son of Jane Monzingo and Randall Miley. He was born December 1875 in Lowndes County, Georgia, and died 1910 in Berrien County, Georgia.  Burial: Salem Methodist Church Cemetery, Lowndes County, Georgia

Children of TESSIE VINING and LUCIUS MILEY:

  1. ETHEL CELESTIAL MILEY, b. November 07, 1905,  Ray’s Mill (nka Ray City), Berrien County, Georgia; d. May 17, 1972, San Diego, California.
  2. CHARLES JONES MILEY, b. 1911, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia; d. January 05, 1965, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio.

She married John M. Booth on November 26, 1911 in Berrien County, Georgia, son of  William Booth and Henrietta Broxton.  He was born 1849 in Marlboro, Ware County, Georgia, and died 1914 in Berrien County, Georgia.

Children of TESSIE VINING and JOHN BOOTH is:

  1. HENRY CHARLES BOOTH, b. November 22, 1912, Berrien County, Georgia; d. April 29, 1991, Putnam County, Florida.

Her third husband was Robert Lee Griner. They were married  October 20, 1915 in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. He was the son of John Griner and Emily Taylor. He was born February 07, 1869 in Nashville, Berrien County, Georgia, and died February 2, 1940 in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Robert Lee Griner already had eight children by his first wife, Fannie Lewis.  The children of Robert Lee Griner and Fannie Lewis were: Ora, Lula, Ruth, Robert James, Annie, Bartow, Leon L., and Elsie.  

Together, Tessica Vining and Robert Lee Griner had five more children.

Children of TESSIE VINING and ROBERT GRINER are:

  1. CLARENCE LEE GRINER, b. May 1915, Berrien County, Georgia; d. March 1946, Berrien County, Georgia. Burial: Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia
  2. ALICE LUDELL GRINER, b. November 07, 1917, Berrien County, Georgia; d. November 08, 1918, Berrien County, Georgia. Burial: Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia
  3. WILLIAM E. GRINER, b. May 16, 1919, Berrien County, Georgia; d. March 10, 1977, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.
  4. ARTHUR HARON GRINER, b. April 16, 1922, Berrien County, Georgia; d. September 20, 1981, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. Burial: Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia
  5. SADIE IRENE GRINER, b. October 01, 1927, Berrien County, Georgia; d. January 09, 2005, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida.

Tessie Vining Griner died Oct 19, 1961 in Echols County, GA, and was buried Beaver Dam Cemetery,  Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

 TIMES – UNION JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA

October 28, 1961 page 7- B

MRS. TESSIE R. GRINER, 73 of 525 E. 60th St. died Thursday evening at a local hospital. Mrs Griner was born in Ray City, Ga, and had lived in Jacksonville a year. She was a Baptist. Survivors include four sons, Henry Booth, Jacksonville, A. Herring Griner, Jacksonville, Charlie Miley, Springfield, Ohio, William Griner, Highland City. Two daughters, Mrs. W.D. Gilleland, Los Angeles, Cal. and Mrs. Sadie Beauchamp, Tampa. Four step-daughters and 3 step-sons. Several grandchildren. Funeral will be at 4P.M. Sat. in the Beaver Dam Baptist Church, Ray City, Ga. Internment will be in Beaver Dam Cemetery, the body was taken to Ray City, Ga. Friday evening. Gidden Funeral Home is in Charge. 

 

Robert Lee Griner (1869-1940) and Tessie Vining (1888-1961), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

Robert Lee Griner (1869-1940) and Tessie Vining (1888-1961), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia.

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