Eulogy of Elder Ansel Parrish

Ansel Parrish (1824 -1891)

 Elder Ansel Parrish, of Berrien County, GA was one of the ablest and best known Primitive Baptist preachers of his time.  Ansel Parrish joined Pleasant Church at the age of 19 and was baptized by Elder Moses Westberry, Jr.  He thereafter dedicated his life to the service of the Primitive Baptist faith. During the Civil War he ministered to the confederate soldiers in 50th Georgia Regiment at their encampment near Savannah, GA.  He became a leader among the Primitive Baptists, and preached at many of the churches in the area.  From the death of Elder William A. Knight in 1860 until 1865, the close of the Civil War,  Ansel Parrish served as pastor of Union Church, the mother church of all the Primitive Baptist churches in this section. He died January 16, 1891 leaving a widow and seventeen children, and eighty grandchildren.

Ansel Parrish (1824 - 1891). Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Ansel Parrish (1824 – 1891). Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Recognized throughout the Wiregrass, “he was considered a great power in the church as well as out of the church”.

The Thomasville Times
August 16, 1884

Moultrie Meanderings.

The yearly meeting of the Primitive Baptists at Barber’s church, three miles east of here, came off last week. The attendance was large, Elder Ancil Parrish, one of the old landmarks, was present. Uncle Ancil bids fair to weather the storms of several winters yet. The creed of these people may be at fault, or not, I don’t pretend to say; but the predominant idea of their lives seems to be embodied in the maxim: “Be honest, industrious and attend to your own business, and they endeavor to carry out this proposition with might and main.

Ansel Parrish married Molcy Knight on December 15, 1842.

Elder Ansel Parrish, (1824 -1891), and Molcy Knight Parrish (1826 - 1897). Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Elder Ansel Parrish, (1824 -1891), and Molcy Knight Parrish (1826 – 1897). Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Following the death of Ansel Parrish on January 16, 1891, Eulogies appeared in The Valdosta Times:

The Valdosta Times
Saturday, January 24, 1891

He Will Be Missed.

        Many of our readers knew a man, now gone from view, whose plain and simple life, unadorned with the polish of modern culture, illustrated in a striking degree many of the higher and nobler attributes of manhood; whose life-work stamped him a man of power.  Although denied in his youth the benefits of the ordinary high schools of the country, and necessarily therefore a stranger to theological seminaries, yet he had the gift of oratory, and the force of strong convictions. He expounded the Scriptures as he understood them, and labored to make men better.  He was not skilled in the arts of the modern doctors of divinity, nor was he a juggler with words. He was a plain blunt man. To him there shone a light through the clouds of the letter of the word which fired his heart and loosened his tongue. He went out among his people and taught them justice and the ways of peace. He was a law-giver of the old-time type. When brothers quarreled he called them together, heard the testimony, settled the dispute, and sent them away reconciled. He always kept them out of the Courthouse when he could, but if he failed he followed them to the bar of the court, and there exercised a wonderful influence in the settlement of the case. The people believed his heart was pure and his judgment was sound, and seldom a jury was found which would not accept his convictions and make them their own verdict, in spite of the pleadings of the lawyers. It was his custom on such occasions to take a seat within the bar of the court room, and when the lawyers on his side opposed to his convictions would rise to address the jury he would sit dumb and motionless. It is said the lawyers, knowing his power, would often address much of their speech to him, hoping to draw some token of assent, but he could not be coaxed or driven from his position. But when the other side – the right side – was being presented to the jurors, his face would show his sympathy; and repeatedly, and unconsciously, as it were, when strong points were being driven home by the logic of the speaker, or when important quotations bearing on the case would be drawn from the evidence, he would nod assent, and give audible tokens of approval. He was always in touch with the juries, and the verdicts always came right.
It has been often said by lawyers practicing in that court that he was more greatly to be feared, if he was against their client, than the logic and eloquence of the most astute practitioner in the circuit.
This good old man – simple and home-spun in his ways – was a power in the region about him. If he drove to the county town, or to a railway station, a crowd would gather round his buggy before he could get out, and two or three would begin unhitching his horse.
He asked no money for his preaching, but he always had plenty – the product of a well-tilled farm; and no widow, or other deserving poor person in the neighborhood, went unprovided for if he knew of their want. It is said that he studiously avoided giving publicity to his charities, and that the beneficiaries were often ignorant as to the identity of their benefactor.
The fame of this man went beyond the limits of his neighborhood and county. Wherever those of his faith and order assembled in Wiregrass Georgia or Florida he was known, and his name was reverently mentioned. If he was present he was a leader; if absent, his absence was felt.
Such a man was Elder Ansel Parrish, the old Primitive Baptist preacher of Berrien County, as seen by one who was neither his partisan nor his parishioner.
When news of his fatal illness spread over the country hundreds of his devoted friends and followers journeyed to the bedside of the dying preacher to get a last look into the depths of those great grey eyes before the light went out and the old-time fire burnt down in their sockets. And when they laid his body away in the old family burying ground, a great concourse of people gathered to mingle their tears with the sod in the new made mound.

A week later, The Valdosta Times followed up with a tribute to Elder Parrish.

The Valdosta Times
Saturday, January 31, 1891

 Ansel Parrish

        A Brief Biographical Sketch Of One Who Will Be Missed. “Oh for the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still.” Elder Ansel Parrish was born in Bulloch County, Ga., July 7th, 1824, and died at his home seven miles southwest of Nashville in Berrien County January 16th, 1891.
Elder Ansel was the fourth son of Henry and Nancy Parrish, who moved from Bulloch to Lowndes, now Berrien County, in 1825, and the future preacher learned to take his first toddling steps at a camp fire on the road while his parents were moving here.
He grew up with the meager opportunities common to our country and his literary attainments were therefore meager. Of a calm temper he was early separated from the wild life of the country and joined the Primitive Baptist Church in 1843, being in his nineteenth year, and was ordained an Elder March 18th, 1854. He was married to Miss Mollsey Knight, whose father was William Knight  [William Cone Knight] and her mother a daughter of Jesse Carter, thus uniting the two largest family connections in Lowndes County. To write of him as a neighbor and friend, a husband and father would be out of place here. Those who knew him best loved him most.
It is as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus I would fain write most, and then, he was so widely known that the task will alas fall short of his merit. The writer heard him preach first and most frequently at Salem (Adel) Church of which he was one of the Pastors for a long number of years, assisted by his uncle, brother and co-worker the late lamented Elder Ezekiel J. Williams. As a preacher he was earnest in the faith as he interpreted the word of God, yet not harsh, ever bearing in mind the faith of others. He devoted his early and mature manhood to his Master’s service and when the infirmities of age began to creep on him he seemed to not regard them as an excuse to satisfy self ease, but labored on, and when he could not stand in the sacred desk to deliver his message he preached seated. For all this work and work in physical pain, he never, to my knowledge, asked a dollar as a reward.
A good substantial farmer, he was not only self sustaining but ever ready to open his hand to the needy when his already open heart heard the cry of distress. Seventeen children, 14 of whom are living, 7 sons and 7 daughters were born to him. He leaves 80 living grandchildren, and 24 dead, preceded him of his 8 brothers and 2 sisters, only the venerable Josiah Parrish of Ava, and Absalom of Arkansas survive him.
Elder Parrish was at the time of his death Pastor of the following Churches:  Pleasant and Cat Creek, literally falling in the line of duty. May his fidelity to his Master’s cause be taken as an example by those whom he has so long and faithfully warned. In him his family has lost all that goes to make a husband and father, and his Church its wisest counselor.

The archives of the US GenWeb project provide the following biography:

Biography of Elder Ansel Parrish

Elder ANSEL PARRISH was one of the ablest and best known Primitive Baptist mininsters in his day for over 35 years prior to his death. He was considered a great power in the church as well as out of the church. He was born in Bullock County, July 7, 1824, a son of Henry and Nancy Parrish.
        He was married Dec. 15, 1842, in Lowndes (now Berrien) County, to Molcy Knight, born Nov. 7, 1826, daughter of William Cone Knight. 
        Elder Parrish was first converted and united with Pleasant Church in Lowndes County, Aug. 19, 1843, and was baptized. Mrs. Parrish followed him into the church and was baptized November, 1847. He was ordained a deacon in his church, Feb. 2, 1848, and served in this office until he was licensed to preach, Jan. 17, 1852. Two years later, March 19, 1854, he was ordained to the full Gospel Ministry by a presbytery composed of Elders Wm. A. Knight, J. B. Smith and J.E.W. Smith. From then until his death, Jan. 16, 1891, his was a very busy and fruitful ministry among the Primitive Baptist Churches in Berrien and adjoining counties. His first cousin, Elder E. J. Williams, was Pastor of Pleasant Church when he (Elder Parrish) was ordained and continued as such until 1881 when he declined re-election; thereupon Elder Parrish was called. He continued as Pastor of his home church until his death. At the time (1881), he was already serving Cat Creek Church in Lowndes County, and in April, 1881, he was called as Pastor by Friendship Church near Hahira, also Salem Church in Adel. These four Churches he continued to serve as pastor until his death 13 years later. He also served as Moderator of the Union Association several years. Elder Parrish owned a large tract of land in Berrien County and gave each of his sons a farm when they married. Mrs. Parrish died June 25, 1897. She and her husband were buried in the Lois Cemetery near Pleasant Church.

 

Grave of Ansel Parrish (1824 - 1891), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Image source: FindAGrave.com

Grave of Ansel Parrish (1824 – 1891), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA. Image source: FindAGrave.com

Children of Molcy Knight and Ansel Parrish

  1. Rachel E Parrish 1844 –
  2. Elizabeth L Parrish 1845 – 1928, married Marion Register
  3. James W Parrish 1847 – 1916
  4. Nancy E Parrish 1848 – 1924
  5. Mary Eleanor Parrish 1849 – 1909, married John Lee
  6. Henry William Parrish 1851 – 1928
  7. John A Parrish 1853 – 1914
  8. Sarah Laura Parrish 1854 – 1933, married William M. Register
  9. Ezekiel Crofford Parrish 1856 – 1924
  10. Martha M.  “Mattie”  Parrish 1860 – 1942, married Aaron A. Knight
  11. Josiah Allen Jones Parrish 1861 – 1929
  12. Jesse A Parrish 1864 – 1938
  13. Amanda Celestia Parrish 1866 – 1900
  14. Naomi Parrish 1867 – 1886
  15. Moorna Parrish 1868 –
  16. Child Parrish 1869 –
  17. Alderman B Parrish 1871 – 1932

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DEATH OF MRS. BULLARD

One hundred and three years ago today, on this date, December 27, 1908, Mrs. Mary Ann Knight Bullard died at the home of her son, Henry Needham Bullard, in Valdosta, Georgia.  Mrs. Bullard was a lifelong resident of the Ray City area.

Mary Ann Knight was born July 1, 1838 in the Knight settlement at the location now known as Ray City,  Berrien County, Georgia.  Her father was John Knight and her mother was Sarah “Sallie” Moore. She was a niece of General Levi J. Knight.

On November 5, 1856 Mary Ann Knight married William A Jones in Berrien County, Georgia. The bride’s grandfather, Elder William A. Knight, performed the marriage.  The Berrien County Marriage Records of 1856 include the following hand written entry:

 Go any ordained minister of the gospel Judge of the Superior Justice of the Inferior Court Justice of the peace or any person by the Laws of this State authorised to Celibrate  these are to authorise and permit you to join in the Venerable State of matrimony this William A. Jones of the one part and this Mary Ann Knight 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 hand and seal this the 1st day of November 1856.

John Lindsey Ordy

 Thereby Certify that William A. Jones and Miss Mary Ann Knight were duly joined in matrimony by me this fifth day of Nov 1856

William A Knight, O.M.

After William Jones was killed in the Civil War, the young widow married Green Bullard.  Green Bullard was a Civil War veteran who served with Company I,  50th Georgia Regiment, the Berrien Light Infantry. They were married March 25, 1866 in a ceremony performed by William Patten, Justice of the Peace.   For forty years the Bullards lived near Ray City, GA in what is now Lanier County.  Green Bullard died November 15, 1907, and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Mary Ann Elizabeth Knight Bullard, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Mary Ann Elizabeth Knight Bullard, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Mary Ann Knight Bullard died in the morning on the last Sunday of the year, December 28, 1908.  She was buried next to her husband, Green Bullard, at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Valdosta Times
January 2, 1909 pg 3

DEATH OF MRS. BULLARD.

An aged and good Woman Passed Away Early Sunday Morning.

Mrs. Mary Ann Bullard, one of the oldest and best known women in this section, died at the home of her son, Mr. H. N. Bullard, in this city about one o’clock Sunday morning.  Her remains were carried to Berrien county and interred at Beaver Dam church, near her old home, on Monday.
    Mrs. Bullard was the widow of Green Bullard, one of Berrien county’s pioneer citizens, and resided in that county for probably fifty years.  She was a daughter of John Knight, and a sister of Capt. L. J. Knight, of Quitman; of the late H. H. Knight and of Jack Knight, of Berrien county, and has two sisters living, Mrs. Louis Clyatt, of Lake City, and Mrs. Linny Griffin of Berrien county.  She leaves a large family connection throughout this section.
    Mrs. Bullard was married twice, her first husband being a Mr. Jones, who died during the civil war, leaving his young widow with two small children.  She was united to Mr. Bullard about the close of the war and lived happily with him until his death in November, 1907.  Her children are Mallie and Adam Jones, of Berrien county; Mrs. Sallie Surrency, of Florida; Mrs. Susie Shaw, of Berrien county; Mrs. Fannie Shaw, of Bainbridge, Ga.; H. N. Bullard of this city, and Lewis Bullard of Ray’s Mill.
    For three or four years Mrs. Bullard had been in feeble health, having suffered from two or more strokes of paralysis, complicated with heart trouble.  She was about 70 years old, and despite the loving care of her family her end could not be prolonged.
    Her death is mourned not only by her children and relatives, but by a large number of friends, who had grown to love her after a long and intimate acquaintanceship.

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John Boyett (1865-1938) ~ Ray City Farmer

Edward John Boyett was a brother of William Jackson Boyett.

John Boyett’s parents were among the pioneer settlers of Berrien County.  His father,  William Hill Boyett, came   to then Lowndes County area from North Carolina as a boy , about 1853, and later acquired land near present day Ray City,  GA.  John Boyett’s mother, Jemima Taylor, was born January 22, 1842 in South Carolina, and came to Georgia with her family in the early 1850s.   His parents were married on Christmas Day, Dec 25, 1856 in Berrien County, GA  exactly ten months after the county was formed.

Edward John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans, circa 1900.  Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

Edward John Boyette and Mary Jane Sirmans, circa 1900. Image courtesy of I. Mitchell Calhoun.

John Boyett was born on his mother’s 23rd birthday, January 22, 1865, during the Civil War.  At the time his father was serving in Columbus, GA making shoes for the Confederate States Army.   Folks Huxford reported:

“Mr. BOYETT volunteered Aug. 22, 1862, in Co., “I”, 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., as a private.  He was detailed as a shoemaker Nov. 17, 1862 and sent to Columbus, Ga., where he rendered that service to the army until February, 1865.  He was paroled at Thomasville, May 11, 1865, and returned home.”

John Boyett grew up on his father’s farm in the 1300 Georgia Militia District, near Ray City.

On January 15, 1891 John Boyett married Mary Jane Sirmans in Berrien County, Georgia.

http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us:8888/u?/countyfilm,191792

According to  Mitchell Calhoun, grandson of the subject, “Edward John Boyett was a rather large farm owner in the early 1900s between Ray City and Lakeland, Georgia.  They lived along ‘Boyett Road’ and that general area.  There are quite a number of Boyett descendants in that area today.  And the Empire Church and the Beaver Dam Cemetery at the First Baptist Church of Ray City has a lot of their graves.”

Boyette Road near Ray City, GA.

Boyette Road near Ray City, GA.

John Boyett died in 1938 and his estate was divided among  his nine children.

Gravemarker of John Boyett, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Gravemarker of John Boyett, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Marrying Cousins: Letitia Giddens and John Mathis Giddens

Letitia Giddens and John Mathis Giddens were cousins who lived in the Ray City, GA vicinity prior to the Civil War.

Letitia “Lettie” Giddens was the daughter of Sarah Smith and John Giddens, born July 14, 1832 in Randolph County, GA.  Her mother died in 1845, when Lettie was about seven years old.  Her father was remarried about two years later on April 11, 1847 to Nancy Smith in Randolph County.  Lettie was enumerated there at age 18 in 1850 in the household of her father and stepmother.

About 1851 Letitia Giddens married her cousin John Mathis Giddens.  He was born 1832 in Lowndes County, GA the eldest son of Civility Mathis and Duncan Giddens, and grew up on the family farm near the Cat Creek community, about ten miles southeast of Ray City, GA.  His father, Duncan Giddens,  served with Levi J. Knight in the Indian Wars of 1838. His grandfather, Thomas Giddens, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.  His brother, Jasper Giddens, was a subject of earlier posts (see Jasper Giddens ‘Settles’ Knife Fight).

According to Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia Vol 1, John M. Giddens’ father, Duncan Giddens, and uncle Thomas Giddens, came south around 1827-28 to settle in that part of Lowndes county later cut into Berrien county.  Around 1855, Duncan Giddens moved to Clinch County where he served as Justice of the Inferior Court.

In the Census of 1860, John M and Letitia Giddens were enumerated in  Berrien County, where John was a farmer with $850 in real estate and $900 in his personal estate. Census records place them in the neighborhood of James M. Baskin, William Washington Knight, John Knight,Sr. and other early settlers of the Ray City, GA area. According to Huxford, after marriage, Lettie and John M. Giddens made their home in Berrien County near her parents.

Around the start of the Civil War John and Lettie moved to Clinch County and settled in Lot 240, 7th Land District on land  given to them by John’s father, Duncan Giddens. After the outbreak of hostilities John M. Giddens went to Waresboro, GA  to Battery Walker where he enlisted as a private  “for 3 years or war.”  He was mustered into the 50th Georgia Infantry, Company B under Captain Bedford.

John M. Giddens soon learned that soldiers in the confederate camps were under risk of more than battle. His Civil War service records show that from April 30, 1862  he was “absent, sick in hospital.”  By June 1862 he was “sent to hospital in Savannah.”  In July, letters home from the Berrien county soldiers were telling of rampant disease spreading throughout the confederate camps: chills and fever, mumps, diarrhea and typhoid fever. That month, John was “sent 17th of July to Convalescent Camp located near Whitesville, Ga,” about twenty miles south of Savannah.

The confederate facility at Whitesville, GA was Guyton Hospital, subject of earlier posts.  Guyton Hospital had been established just two months earlier. In Surgical Memoirs of the War of the Rebellion, Volume 2, issued 1871, Guyton Hospital was described as one of the better  hospitals in Confederate Georgia.

On the same day that John M. Giddens arrived at Guyton Hospital, July 17, 1862 his cousin Isbin T. Giddens died there of “brain fever.”  Until his illness, Isbin had been serving as 2nd Sergeant in the Berrien Minute Men,  Company G, 29th Georgia Regiment.

Later company records of the 50th Georgia Regiment show John M. Giddens was “absent sick not known where.”  The Company muster roll, for November and December 1864 observed that he was “absent – sent to Hospital in November 1862 – not heard from since – supposed to be dead.”

John M. Giddens, Company B, 50th Georgia Regiment.  Company Muster Rolls show he was presumed dead since 1862, after he never returned from the hospital at Whitesville, GA.

John M. Giddens, Company B, 50th Georgia Regiment. Company Muster Rolls show he was presumed dead since 1862, after he never returned from the hospital at Whitesville, GA.

According to Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, John M. Giddens died at a military hospital in late November or December 1864, but it seems unlikely that he would have survived that long given the other known facts of his service.  It seems more probable that he died in 1862, shortly after becoming ill.  The location of his burial is not known at the time of this writing.

At home in Clinch County, Lettie Giddens waited for the husband who would never return.  After the war, she moved back to Berrien County with her two children, Virgil A. and Lavinia, and remained there for the rest of her days.  Her father, John Giddens, died in Berrien County in 1866.  Lettie lived on a farm valued at $330 near the home of her step-mother, Nancy Smith Giddens.

Thomas Jackson Crum

Thomas Jackson Crum, image detail courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation  http://berriencountyga.com/

Thomas Jackson Crum

A recently encountered newspaper clipping from the Clinch County News gives the obituary of  Thomas Jackson “Jack” Crum.

Jack Crum was a prominent farmer, banker, cotton merchant, and community leader.  He lived near Ray City, Georgia in that part of Berrien County that was cut into Lanier county in the 1920s.

Jack Crum was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City.

Clinch County News
December 24, 1943

Mr. Thomas J. Crum, prominent Lanier county citizen, died at his home near Lakeland, on the 9th inst. after suffering a heart attack about twelve hours earlier. He had been about his usual business the day before dying next morning about 7 o’clock.  He was a native of Tift county and was 73 years old and a member of the county board of Education and had served as a deacon in the Ray City Baptist Church a number of years. His wife and three children survive.

Grave marker of Annie Boyette and Thomas Jackson Crum, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Annie Boyette and Thomas Jackson Crum, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Thomas Jackson Crum was  born  September 4, 1870  a  son of Amanda Melviney Willis (1850-1922) and  Benjamin Harmon Crum (1842 – 1924).  His father was a confederate veteran who volunteered with Company I, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment. Benjamin H. Crum was captured along with Jesse Bostick (subject of previous posts (see Jesse Bostick and the Battle of Cedar Creek) and other men of the 50th Regiment  at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia in 1864 and imprisoned at Point Lookout, MD. Benjamin Harmon Crum survived the war and returned to his family in Tift County.

Thomas Crum and his sister Leonia Crum married two siblings in the Boyette family.  In 1895 Thomas Crum married Annie Boyette (1873-1950), and in 1899 Leonia Crum married Jesse Thomas Boyette.  The Boyettes were children of Jemima Taylor (1842 – 1926) and William Hill Boyett (1834 – 1897) of Ray City.  Their father also was a confederate veteran who  volunteered with  Company I, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment and was detailed as a shoemaker during the Civil war.

Left to Right: John C. Crum, Thomas Jackson Crum, Annie Boyette Crum, Lillie Crum, Benjamin Hill Crum, Nancy Della Knight Crum, Mae Crum, Mary Crum, Delilah Boyette Gaskins, and Lester Gaskins.

Thomas Jackson Crum Family at the old home place.  Left to Right: John C. Crum, Thomas Jackson Crum, Annie Boyette Crum, Lillie Crum, Benjamin Hill Crum, Nancy Della Knight Crum, Mae Crum, Mary Crum, Delilah Boyette Gaskins, and Lester Gaskins. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation  http://berriencountyga.com/

Ben Hill Crum, Jr., grandson of Thomas Jackson Crum, has prepared a sketch of his grandfather’s life which appeared in the family history Crum Family of The South.  This sketch is excerpted below; those interested in further Crum family history may view the complete text at Family History Archive.

Crum Family of the South

Crum Family of the South

Thomas Jackson Crum, the son of Amanda Willis and Benjamin Crum (CSA) of Tift County, was one of the pioneer citizens of Lanier County moving here from Tift County in the early 1890s.  At that time he was a part time tombstone salesman and farm hand.
    He married Annie Boyett, daughter of the Honorable William Hill Boyett in 1895.  They had five children, the late Ben Hill Crum, Mrs Mary Robinson of Lakeland, the late Annie Mae Giddens, the late John C. Crum and Mrs Lillie Grissett of Ray City.  There were seventeen grandchildren.
    In 1906, Mr. Crum purchased land from Thomas Murphy and in 1909 purchased adjacent land from Hill Boyett making up what became the Crum Farm. This size farming operation was referred to as a “seven horse” farm.  Mr. Crum raised livestock, grew tobacco, corn and other farm products. He cured meat and bottled syrup which he sold along with other varieties of farm products.  In a 1936 edition of Lanier County News, he was quoted as follows, “I have not purchased a pound of meat since the second year I was married and I do not consider a mana good farmer who cannot raise plenty of meat and food for his family and have some to sell.”
    Mr. Crum was one of the seven original stockholders of the Bank of Milltown. He was very prosperous as a cotton speculator, buying cotton when the price was low, storing it and selling it at a later date at a considerable profit.
    Mr. Crum was community minded and interested in the education and guidance of young people.  He served on the Lanier County Board of Education for twenty years and was Chairman of the Board when he died.  Mr. and Mrs. Crum were active members and supporters of the Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Ray City.  He served as a deacon for many years.  Mr. and Mrs. Crum are buried at Beaver Dam Church.
    The Crum family resided in a peg and groove house which was constructed in the 1830s for a time while their farm home was being built.  The family occupied the new home about 1913.  The residence was constructed from timber grown on the farm. The old house which served as a pack house after the new residence was constructed had been donated to the Agrirama at Abraham Baldwin College  where it is now preserved an represents a part of the history of the time.  The Crum family residence was destroyed by fire in April 1974.  The farm located some 3 1/2 miles west of Lakeland off the Ray City Road, is presently owned by G. L. Gaskins.
    Jackson Crum, “Jack”, as his “Annie” called him, will be remembered for many things by his family and the friends who knew him well.  “He was a quiet man most of the time, but when he spoke, we listened. He had the clearest blue eyes, was tall and thin, and had a strength you could see and feel.  A strength of character with a strong sense of right and wrong was always apparent.  You always paid your debts, went to church, told the truth, loved your family, were honest in business, worked hard, played little, wasted nothing, and believed in God. Always.”

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Jesse Bostick and the Battle of Cedar Creek

In the 1850s Jesse and Sarah Bostick made their home in Berrien County in the vicinity of present day Ray City, GA.  Jesse Bostick, born 1836 in Duplin County, NC  was the  eldest son of Treasy Boyette and John Bostick.  His wife, Sarah Ann Knight, was a daughter of Nancy Sloan and Aaron Knight of Berrien County, GA.

On March 22, 1862, Jesse S. Bostick enlisted in the Clinch Volunteers, which mustered in as Company G, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment.  This unit was quickly dispatched to Virginia where they engaged in battle. Through 1862 and 1863 they fought battles all over Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  The 50th GA Regiment’s bloodiest day was September 14, 1862 at the Battle of South Mountain, where the 50th GA Regiment suffered a casualty rate of 86% – 194 killed or wounded out of an effective force of about 225 men (see William Guthrie and the Bloody Battle of South Mountain).

While Jesse was away fighting in the war, tragedy struck at home.  In 1863, his wife and youngest daughter died.

Jesse continued to fight with his unit in engagements at Gettysburg, PA and Knoxville, TN among others. About 15 Feb 1864, shortly after the battle at Cumberland Gap, TN, he was promoted to Full 3rd Sergeant.

In the late summer and early fall of 1864, the 50th Georgia Regiment was fighting all up and down the Shenandoah Valley.  The 50th Georgia Regiment was a part of General Kershaw’s Division, in General Early’s Army of the Valley.  The Union forces under the command of General Philip Sheridan were engaged in destroying the economic base of the Valley, including crops in the field and stored goods, attempting to deprive General Robert E. Lee’s army of needed supplies.

In mid-October Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah was encamped at Cedar Creek, Virginia while the 50th Georgia Regiment and the rest of General Early’s Confederate forces had withdrawn to defensive positions at Fisher’s Hill, about three miles distant.  Believing the Confederate units in Shenandoah Valley too weak to attack his numerically superior force, on October 15 Sheridan returned to Washington D.C. to meet with General Grant and Secretary of War Staunton to begin planning the next phase of the war.  By October 18, Sheridan was returning to the scene and while in route spent the evening of the 18th at nearby Winchester, VA.

Seizing on the over confidence of the Union forces, Confederate General Early decided to launch a surprise attack across Cedar Creek in the early morning hours of October 19, 1864.  The men of the 50th Georgia regiment spent the day before the attack in preparations, cooking provisions and stocking their ammunition.

Early deployed his men in three columns in a night march, lit only by the moon.  The men moved out at midnight, with all gear secured against chance noise they  marched in silence.  By 5:00 am Kershaw’s Division crossed Cedar Creek at  Bowmans Mill Ford, with the 50th Georgia Regiment in the lead.

Just before sunrise, operating under a cover of dense fog, the confederate forces struck. The surprise was complete, and the Union position was quickly overrun. The Confederates took hundreds of Union prisoners, many still in their bedclothes, and captured eighteen guns.

Sheridan was away at Winchester, Virginia, at the time the battle started. Hearing the distant sounds of artillery, he rode aggressively to his command. (Thomas Buchanan Read wrote a famous poem, Sheridan’s Ride, to commemorate this event.) He reached the battlefield about 10:30 a.m. and began to rally his men. Fortunately for Sheridan, Early’s men were too occupied to take notice; they were hungry and exhausted and fell out of their ranks to pillage the Union camps.

Sheridan's Ride, October 19, 1864.

Sheridan’s Ride, October 19, 1864.

By 4 p.m., Sheridan had rallied and reorganized his troops to mount a counterattack.  The Union divisions were now reinforced by Brig. Gen. George A. Custer‘s cavalry division, which broke the Confederate lines. Custer’s cavalry chased the disorganized Confederates all the way back to Fisher’s Hill. The destruction a bridge in the Confederate rear cut off their escape route, “blocking up all the artillery, ordnance and medical wagons, and ambulances which had not passed that point.”  At Fisher’s Hill, the Confederates managed to regain some composure, organizing a defense and an orderly retreat.  Despite the reversal, the Confederates took with them some 1500 Union prisoners that had been captured in the morning’s attack.

Casualties  on the Confederate side were estimated as being “about 1,860 killed and wounded, and something over 1,000 prisoners” captured by Union forces. The Union took 43 guns (18 of which were their own guns from the morning), and supplies that the Confederacy could not replace.  The battle was a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. They were never again able to threaten Washington, D.C., through the Shenandoah Valley, nor protect the economic base in the Valley. The reelection of Abraham Lincoln was materially aided by this victory and General Phil Sheridan earned lasting fame.

It is estimated that the Georgia 50th Regiment suffered more than 50% casualties in the Battle of Cedar Creek.  In Jesse Bostick’s unit, Company G, two men were mortally wounded, two others received wounds and nine were taken prisoner. Quarterman Staten, Captain of Company G, was severely wounded, but was transported to a hospital and eventually furloughed home to Echols County, GA.

Jessie Bostick was among those captured.

As a prisoner of war he was sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, one of the largest Union POW camps.  During the war, a number of captured soldiers from the Ray City area and Berrien County went through the POW depot at Point Lookout, among them John T. Ray, Benjamin Harmon Crum, Benjamin Thomas Cook and Aaron Mattox.

The conditions at Point Lookout were horrific – more than 20,000 men crammed into tents in a prison built to hold 10,000.  Nearly 4000 Confederate prisoners died at Point Lookout, about 8 percent of the 50,000 men who passed through the prison camp during the war.

Point Lookout, MD.  Hammond General Hospital and U.S. General Depot for Prisoners of War.

Point Lookout, MD. Hammond General Hospital and U.S. General Depot for Prisoners of War.

Jesse Bostick survived at Point Lookout for four cold months before finally being exchanged on March 21, 1865.

Prisoners at Point Lookout, MD taking the oath of allegiance. A group of prisoners stand in a building, with the U.S. Flag draped across the ceiling, each with his hand on a Bible. A Union officer stands at a dias administering the oath of allegiance to the Union. Image courtesy of Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society, [Digital ID, nhnycw/ae ae00007] http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/nhihtml/cwnyhshome.html

Prisoners at Point Lookout, MD taking the oath of allegiance. A group of prisoners stand in a building, with the U.S. Flag draped across the ceiling, each with his hand on a Bible. A Union officer stands at a dias administering the oath of allegiance to the Union. Image courtesy of Civil War Treasures from the New-York Historical Society, [Digital ID, nhnycw/ae ae00007] http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/nhihtml/cwnyhshome.html

With the end of the war, Jesse Bostick returned to his home in Berrien County, Ga.  Within six months of the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Jesse Bostick married Mrs. Nancy Corbitt Lastinger.  She was the widow of James G. Lastinger, another confederate soldier who served with the 29th Georgia Regiment (the Berrien County Minutemen) and died in a Union hospital in 1864.

Jesse and Nancy Bostick lived out their days in Berrien County, GA.   They were buried across the Alapaha River in present day Atkinson County at Live Oak Cemetery, where others of the Corbitt family connection are buried.

Jesse Bostick

Jesse Bostick, born 1836 in Duplin County, NC was the eldest son of Treasy Boyette and John Bostick. In the mid 1800s he came with his parents to South Georgia and they settled near present day Lakeland, GA) about 10 miles east of the Ray City, Georgia area.

Wiregrass historian Folks Huxford wrote, “John Bostick and family moved to what was then Lowndes County not long after several other families had moved here from their home community in Duplin County, N. C.  Among these families were those of William J. Lamb, James Carroll, Jesse Carroll, William Godfrey, Andrew J. Liles, William Best, James W. Dixon and others.  These all settled in or around the village then called Alapaha but now named Lakeland, Lanier County.”

On July 3, 1856 Jesse Bostick married Sarah Ann Knight in Berrien County, GA. She was a daughter of Nancy Sloan and Aaron Knight. The bride’s grandfather, William Anderson Knight, performed the ceremony. The Knights were among the earliest pioneer families to settle in the Ray City area.

Marriage of Jesse Bostick and Sarah Ann Knight, July 3, 1856.

Marriage of Jesse Bostick and Sarah Ann Knight, July 3, 1856.

Jesse and Sarah Bostick made their home in Berrien County in the vicinity of present day Ray City, GA, next to the home of Sarah’s brother, John W. Knight. Jesse worked as a farm laborer, as he had no real estate or personal estate of his own. Perhaps he worked for his brother-in-law, who had a substantial plantation.

Children of Sarah Ann Knight and Jesse S. Bostick:

  1. Mary E. Bostick, born 1859, married John A. Gaskins
  2. Sarah E. Bostick, born 1860, died young.

During the Civil War, Jesse S. Bostick enlisted in Company G, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment. While Jesse was away fighting in the war, tragedy struck at home. In 1863, his wife and youngest daughter died.

A memorial to Sarah Ann Knight  (1841-1863), wife of Jesse Bostick, appears on the grave marker of Mary Bostick Gaskins at Empire Cemetery, Lanier County, GA.

A memorial to Sarah Ann Knight (1841-1863), wife of Jesse Bostick, appears on the gravemarker of her daughter, Mary Bostick Gaskins, at Empire Cemetery, Lanier County, GA.

Jessie Bostick was captured at the Battle of Cedar Creek, and imprisoned at Point Lookout, MD. With the end of the war, Jesse Bostick returned to his home in Berrien County, Ga. Within six months of the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Jesse Bostick married Mrs. Nancy Corbitt Lastinger. She was the widow of James G. Lastinger, who served with the 29th Georgia Regiment (the Berrien County Minute Men) and died in a Union hospital in 1864.  Nancy Corbitt had come from Tennessee to Clinch County, GA sometime prior to 1860 with her widowed mother and siblings.

Marriage of Jesse Bostick and Nancy Lastinger, October 1, 1865, Berrien County, GA

Marriage of Jesse Bostick and Nancy Lastinger, October 1, 1865, Berrien County, GA

The census of 1870 shows Jesse, Nancy, and Jesse’s daughter, Mary, living in the household of Nancy’s younger brother, Monroe Corbitt.  Monroe was also a Confederate veteran  having served as a sergeant in Company H, 29th Georgia Regiment, and he had managed to retain a farm even through the war years. The Corbitt farm was in the 1148 Georgia Militia District of Berrien County.  Jesse worked as a farm laborer, while Nancy and Mary assisted with housekeeping and domestic chores.

Later the Bosticks lived in the Willacoochee area in Berrien County.

Nancy Bostick died September 18, 1918 and Jesse Bostick died August 21, 1925 in Berrien County, GA. They are both buried at Live Oak Methodist Church, in present day Atkinson County.

Gravemarker of Jesse Bostick and Nancy Corbitt Lastinger Bostick, Live Oak Cemetery, Atkinson County, GA.

Gravemarker of Jesse Bostick and Nancy Corbitt Lastinger Bostick, Live Oak Cemetery, Atkinson County, GA.

Three Wives of George Washington Nix

George Washington Nix was born March 12, 1858 and lived all his life in Berrien  or Lanier County, GA. His mother was  Margaret Ann Mullis.  His father, William Varnell “Varn” Nix, fought in the Civil War, enlisting in Company E 54th Georgia Infantry Regiment on May 6, 1862 in Milltown (Now Lakeland), GA.

In the census of 1860, he appears in the household of William S. Allen, who was a Berrien County miller.

About 1881 George W. Nix married Piety Ann Rowe.  She was the daughter of Charlotte Williams and Joseph Josiah Rowe. Her father served as a Private in Company I, 50th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry and died of pneumonia during the war. Piety Anne was two years old when her father died.

After marriage George and Piety Ann raised crops and children in Berrien county, GA.  Between 1882 and 1902, Piety Ann gave birth nine times.

Children of George W. Nix and Piety Ann Rowe:

Joseph Varn Nix (1882-1963) – served as Sheriff of Berrien County, GA
Eli Lester Nix (1884-1927)
William Frank Nix (1886-1978)
Missouri Arzilla Nix (1888-1966)
Maggie Lee Nix(1891-1921)
Elbert James Nix(1893-1971)
Richard Miles Nix(1895-1978)
Thomas Calvin Nix(1897-1973)
Annie Belle  (1897–1973)
Charlie Columbus  Nix (1902-2002)

In the census of 1900,  the first eight of these children were still at home.  In addition, Piety Ann’s mother, Charlotte “Lottie” Williams Rowe was living with the family in 1900. At the time, she was drawing a Confederate Veterans Widow’s Pension of $100 annually from the State of Georgia. The Nix farm was located in the 1148th Georgia Militia District, in the community of “Hill.”

Piety Ann Nix died May 16, 1908.

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The widower George Washington Nix was left with a household still full of minor children and with his mother-in-law, Lottie Williams Rowe.

On July 20, 1909 G. W. Nix married Arkansas Cook Hughes in a ceremony performed by Noah Tyler, Minister of God.  Born Laura Arkansas Cook , she was  the 54 year-old widow of William Hansford Hughes, and her own children were already   grown.

Marriage Certificate of George W. Nix and Arkansas Hughes, July 4, 1909, Berrien County, GA. The marriage ceremony was performed by Noah Tyler, Minister of God. Marriage Books, Berrien County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives. http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,189046

Marriage Certificate of George W. Nix and Arkansas Hughes, July 4, 1909, Berrien County, GA. The marriage ceremony was performed by Noah Tyler, Minister of God. Marriage Books, Berrien County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives. http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,189046

Grave marker of Arkansas Cook, b. Nov. 13, 1853 d. Dec. 24, 1911. Born Laura Arkansas Cook, she was the second wife of George Washington Nix. She is buried next to her first husband, William Hansford Hughes, at Empire Cemetery, Lanier County, GA. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=38845663

Grave marker of Arkansas Cook, b. Nov. 13, 1853 d. Dec. 24, 1911. Born Laura Arkansas Cook, she was the second wife of George Washington Nix. She is buried next to her first husband, William Hansford Hughes, at Empire Cemetery, Lanier County, GA. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=38845663

G.W. and Arkansas made their home in the upper 10th district of Berrien county, where George and his sons continued to farm.  The census of 1910 enumerates the household of George and Arkansas,  with George’s children Elbert, Miles, Thomas, Belle, and Columbus.  Also still residing in the Nix home was Lottie Rowe, mother of his first wife.

The marriage of Arkansas and George Washington Nix was not to endure for long.  Arkansas died December 24, 1911.  The short union of Arkansas Cook Hughes and George Washington Nix was without issue.

Arkansas Cook was buried next to her first husband, William Hansford Hughes, a few miles northeast of Ray City, at Empire Primitive Baptist Church, Lanier County, GA. The two graves share a single white marble monument.

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G.W. Nix, the subject of this post, married a third time. On March 5, 1912, at age 53 he married Dicy Valeria Tyler Hill, believed to be the daughter of Noah and Lucindy Tyler.  She was the 30-year-old widow of  Walter W. Hill.  She had four children of her own; Bessie Lee Hill, Lewis Felton Hill, Agnes V. Hill, and Walter Hill all under age 10.

Marriage certificate of G.W. Nix and D.V. Hill, Berrien County, GA. Marriage Books, Berrien County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives. http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,189046

Marriage certificate of G.W. Nix and D.V. Hill, Berrien County, GA. Marriage Books, Berrien County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives. http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,189046

For at least a short time it is likely that the household of Valeria and George W. Nix  was a blended family that included children of his first marriage, his step children, and children by his third wife.  But there is little enough published evidence of this connection.

What is known is that Thomas Nix, son of G.W. Nix, married Bessie Hill, daughter of Dicy Valeria Hill on December 24, 1913 in Berrien County, GA.  Father and son married mother and daughter.

Marriage Certificate of Tom Nix and Bessie Hill, Berrien County,GA.

Marriage Certificate of Tom Nix and Bessie Hill, Berrien County,GA. Marriage Books, Berrien County Ordinary Court, Georgia Archives http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/countyfilm,189098

As further evidence of the blended Nix family , Lucius and his mother,Valeria, appear together with other children of George Washington Nix in a photograph taken about 1965.  Missouri Arzilla Nix, daughter of Piety Ann Rowe Nix, died in 1966.

Dicy Valeria Tyler Hill Nix, Wife of George Washington Nix, and the Nix children,  photographed circa 1965. Front Row: Dicy Valeria Tyler Hill Nix, Joe Varn Nix, William Franklin Nix, Missouri Arzilla Nix Ray. Back Row: Lucius Nix, Columbus Charles Nix, Thomas Calvin Nix, Elbert Nix. Lucius was the son of Valeria and G.W. Nix. All others were the children of Piety Ann Rowe and G.W. Nix. (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

Dicy Valeria Tyler Hill Nix, Wife of George Washington Nix, and the Nix children, photographed circa 1965. Front Row: Dicy Valeria Tyler Hill Nix, Joe Varn Nix, William Franklin Nix, Missouri Arzilla Nix Ray. Back Row: Lucius Nix, Columbus Charles Nix, Thomas Calvin Nix, Elbert Nix. Lucius was the son of Valeria and G.W. Nix. All others were the children of Piety Ann Rowe and G.W. Nix. (image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/)

By the time of the 1920 census, all of the children of George W. Nix and his first wife had left home. George and Valeria owned a home on Washington Street in Nashville, GA.  He was self-employed as the merchant of a “fish store.”  Enumerated in the Nix household are his step-children (Valeria’s previous children apparently took the Nix surname),  and the children of George and Valeria:

George W Nix 60
Velora Nix 40
Felton H Nix 16
Agnes Nix 12
Walter Nix 9
Lucius Nix 6
George W Nix 4
Lucindy Nix 2

Some time prior to 1930, George W. Nix moved his family to Ray City, GA. His son, Eli Lester Nix, resided at Ray City where he managed his own crosstie operation. Eli Lester Nix died in 1927, leaving behind his widow, Eliza Jane, and five small children.  Perhaps the loss of his son influenced George W. Nix’s decision to move to Ray City.

At the time of the 1930 census, George W. Nix owned a home in town at Ray City valued at $700, free and clear of mortgage. He was working for hire as a drayman. A drayman was historically the driver of a dray, a low, flat-bed wagon without sides, pulled generally by horses or mules, that were used for transport of all kinds of goods.

The 1930 census enumerated the following in the  Ray City household of George W. Nix:

George W Nix 72, Head of household
Velora Nix 48, wife
Gladys Nix 9, daughter
Noah Nix 5, son

As given in the previous post, George Washington Nix Killed by Automobile, G.W. Nix died on February 10, 1932.

After his death, his widow, Dicy Valeria Tyler Nix, continued to live in Ray City,  GA.  She  died there on 7 Oct 1967.  She is buried at Poplar Springs Missionary Baptist Church, Nashville, GA along with many others of the Nix family connection.

Grave marker of Valeria Tyler Nix, b. Dec. 29, 1881 d. Oct. 7, 1967, Poplar Springs Missionary Baptist Church, Nashville, Berrien County, GA.

Grave marker of Valeria Tyler Nix, b. Dec. 29, 1881 d. Oct. 7, 1967, Poplar Springs Missionary Baptist Church, Nashville, Berrien County, GA.

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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

Related Post:

William Guthrie and the Bloody Battle of South Mountain

As a young man, William James Guthrie lived in the area of Lowndes county that would be cut into Berrien County in 1856, and later into Lanier County. Many of the Guthrie family connection still live in Ray City and Berrien County, Georgia.  By 1860 William Guthrie had moved his family to Clinch County, where in 1862 he joined the Clinch Volunteers, Company G, 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment.  His brother, Samuel Guthrie, joined the 54th Georgia Regiment.

In the fall of 1862, the 50th Georgia Regiment suffered horrific casualties in the Maryland Campaign.  William Guthrie was killed September 14, 1862 at South Mountain near Boonesboro, Maryland. That was the day on which the 50th Georgia Infantry Regiment, and the rest of Drayton’s Brigade, was slaughtered at Fox’s Gap in the Battle of South Mountain.  The 50th GA Regiment suffered a casualty rate of 86% that bloody day, with 194 killed or wounded out of an effective force of about 225 men.  In Company I, the Berrien Light Infantry,  Mathew Hendley and Elisha B. Herring were among those killed; Richard P. Connell was mortally wounded; William Hartley and James H. Tison were missing in action; Lewis Marshall and Lemuel Gaskins were wounded and captured;  Randall McMillan was wounded.

By 3:00PM  Drayton’s Brigade arrived on the field. Drayton had initially deployed his brigade in an inverted L-shaped formation at the gap. The 550 men in his two South Carolina units were in the Old Sharpsburg Road facing south and the 750 soldiers in the three Georgia units were posted facing east at a stone wall overlooking a deep ravine some 200 yards east of the Wood Road. At 4:00PM Col. Drayton ordered his three veteran regiments to attack the Federals to the south. His two new regiments, the 50th and 51st Georgia, moved into the sunken road, also facing south to offer support. What Drayton did not know was that Orlando Willcox’s 3,600 man IX Corps division had arrived on the field and was massed ready to launch an attack just beyond the forest to the left front. The Federals charged northwest into the woods and pushed the Phillips Legion out of the woods into Wise’s field. Willcox’s Federals quickly reached the edge of the woods facing the 50th Georgia in the Old Sharpsburg Road. The 30th Ohio of Cox’s division had also charged forward south of Wise’s field and, in conjunction with Willcox’s troops now at the eastern edge of Wise’s field, forced the 3rd SC Battalion to spin 90 degrees and drop into the “protection” of the Ridge Road. To the east the 800 man 17th Michigan regiment of Willcox’s division, which had been sent by Willcox to get behind the Confederate’s left (eastern) flank, had moved into the field behind the Georgians. Having gained the rear of the enemy, the 17th Michigan changed their front facing south and charged the Georgians, stopping about 20 yards from the road and began to fire into the Confederates in the road. Most of the 350 casualties suffered by the two Georgia regiments occurred in the road in front of you, in a span of time lasting less than five minutes. The Federals had now almost surrounded Drayton’s men. The 45th Pennsylvania and the 46th New York were pouring in volleys from the east side of Wise’s field. The 30th Ohio was firing from the south end of the field and other elements of Cox’s division were working through the woods to the west. Meanwhile the 17th Michigan had moved around behind the Confederate left (eastern) flank and was charging up the fields north of the Old Sharpsburg Road. By 5:00Pm the last of Drayton’s Brigade was driven from the field. The entire brigade suffered a staggering 51% loss. –http://friendsofsouthmountain.org/foxsgaptrail.html

Old Sharpsburg Road, South Mountain, Maryland, GA

Old Sharpsburg Road, South Mountain, Maryland, GA

As terrible as the Confederate losses were at South Mountain, they were just a “bloody prelude” to the battle fought three days later at Antietam, September 17, 1862.  The remnants of the 50th Georgia Regiment experienced that day from the vantage point of the Lower Bridge over Antietam Creek, afterwards known as “Burnside’s Bridge.”

Antietam bridge, looking across stream. Sept. 1862. Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882, photographer.

Antietam bridge, looking across stream. Sept. 1862. Afterwards known as Burnside’s Bridge. Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882, photographer.

On the morning of September 17, 1862, this bridge was defended by the 2nd and 20th Georgia of Toombs’ Brigade and the 50th Georgia of Drayton’s Brigade. The 20th Georgia was on the high wooded bluff immediately opposite this end of the bridge; and the 2nd and 50th Georgia in open order, supported by one Company of Jenkins’ S.C. Brigade, continued the line to Snavely’s Ford. One Company of the 20th Georgia was was on the narrow wooded strip north of this point between the creek and the Sharpsburg Road. Richardson’s Battery of the Washington Artillery was posted on the high ground about 500 yards northwest and Eubank’s (Va.) Battery on the bluff north of and overlooking the bridge. The Artillery on Cemetery Hill commanded the bridge and the road to Sharpsburg.

At 9 A.M. Crooks Brigade of the Ninth Corps, moving from the ridge northeast of the bridge, attempted to cross it but failed. Soon after, the 2nd Maryland and 6th New Hampshire, of Nagle’s Brigade, charging by the road from the south were repulsed. At 1 P.M. the bridge was carried by an assault of Ferrero’s Brigade and the defenders, after a vain effort to check Rodman’s Division, moving by Snavely’s Ford on their right flank, fell back to the Antietam Furnace Road and reformed on the outskirts of the town of Sharpsburg.

Antietam, Md. Confederate Dead by a Fence on the Hagerstown Road, Antietam, Maryland,
Alexander Gardner, photographer,
September 1862.

Antietam, Md. Confederate Dead by a Fence on the Hagerstown Road, Antietam, Maryland

According to the National Park Service, Antietam was the bloodiest one day battle in American history: 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. =http://www.nps.gov/ancm/index.htm