W. H. E. Terry Comes to Ray City

William Henry Edward Terry was born August 26, 1890 in Madison County, Florida. His father, Zachary Taylor Terry, was from Alabama, and his mother, Mary Virginia Pert, was a Florida girl.

In 1900, at age nine, little Willie Terry was living with his family in Macedonia, Madison County, FL. Willie’s father was a farmer. Willie had attended school for two months that year, he could not yet read or write.

About 1910 W. H. E. Terry  came from Florida to live in the new town of Ray City, GA.  At the age of twenty-something, he was tall and slender young man, with blue eyes and black hair. An entrepreneur, W.H.E. Terry became one of the young businessmen of Ray City, building one of the first brick buildings in the community (W.H.E Terry’s Store at Rays Mill, GA). His brother, Charles Oscar Terry, became the town pharmacist, and their cousin Harvey Terry, became the editor of the Ray City  newspaper.

In Ray City, William Henry Terry met Nebbie Luckie. She was the daughter of William F. Luckie, a successful businessman and a big sawmill operator of Ray City, GA (see William F. Luckie ~ Luckie Lumber Mill). On August 23, 1913 William H. E. Terry and Nebbie J. Luckie were joined in holy matrimony. W.C. McGill, Minister of God, performed the ceremony.

Marriage certificate of W. H. Terry and Nebbie Luckie, August 28, 1913.

Marriage certificate of W. H. Terry and Nebbie Luckie, August 28, 1913.

On March 8, 1916 Nebbie gave birth to their first son, whom they named after his father.  A second son followed, Charles Herman Terry, born October 24, 1917.  With a young family to support,  William Henry Terry went into the drug store business with his brothers.

In the meantime, the United States had entered World War I, declaring war on Germany on April 6, 1917.  William  Henry Terry  and cousin Harvey Terry, registered for the draft on June 5, 1917.

1918 Draft registration of W. H. E. Terry.

1918 Draft registration of W. H. E. Terry.

In 1920, William H. Terry lived in a home on Main Street, Ray City, GA. Just a few doors down the street was the home of C. Oscar Terry, proprietor of a drug store.  William H. Terry was working as a retail drug salesman. Effie Guthrie Knight, subject of previous posts, became one of his employees in 1923, hired as a saleswoman at a salary of $150.00.

By 1930 W. H. E. Terry had moved to Quitman, GA where he continued in the retail drug trade. His brother, C. O. Terry, had acquired the drugstore in Quitman (see Ray City Soda Jerk).

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Ray City Girls run R-C Motor Lines

In the 1930s,  four Ray City girls, Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal and Carolyn Swindle attended the Ray City School.

Ray City Girls, (L-R) Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, Carolyn Swindle.

Ray City Girls, (L-R) Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, Carolyn Swindle.

Louise Paulk and Helen Swindle were the older girls. They were team mates on the 1934 Ray City School girls basketball team. Grace Putnal and Carolyn Swindle were about five years younger.  Louise,  Helen, and Carolyn all lived within a few doors of each other on west Main Street in Ray City.  Grace lived down Park Street just outside of town.

Louise Paulk, daughter of  Gladys Daniel  and James M. Paulk, was born about 1920 in Irwin County, GA.  Her father died August 23, 1922 leaving Louise, her infant brother and mother on their own.  In 1927, her mother married  E.M. “Hun” Knight, a farmer and sometimes entrepreneur of Ray City, GA.  Hun Knight was a widower with children of his own.  The blended family made their home in Ray City, and Louise attended the Ray City School.  She graduated with the class of 1938.

Helen  Margaret Swindle was born and raised in Ray City, GA.  She was the daughter of George Perry Swindle and Cynthia E. Pafford. Her father was a prominent businessman and employer, operating a general mercantile store.  The Swindle home was on Main Street, and  when Helen was growing up the Swindle family had neighbors like Dr. Lawson S. Rentz, pharmacist C.O. Terry, businessmen W.H.E Terry and Arthur Miller, and Mayor J. Lacy Moore, among others .

Grace Putnal’s parents were Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal. Her father was a farmer and part-time barber of Ray City. Grace and her family have been discussed in this week’s posts (Wayne Putnal ~ Farmer/Barber of Ray City,   Putnal Family ~ Town and Country, Obituary of Leston L. Putnal)

Carolyn S. Swindle was a daughter of Ora Cathleen and Henry Alexander Swindle. Her father was also a successful merchant of Ray City, and her grandfather, Redding Swindle, served as the town’s first mayor.

In the 1940s, the four young women made their way to Jacksonville, Florida. They appear enumerated together in the Florida census of 1945, living in Apartment #1 at 2926 Cook Street, ,  Jacksonville, FL.  All of the girls were working, either clerking or bookkeeping.

Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, and Carolyn Swindle, all raised in Ray City, GA, were enumerated in Jacksonville. FL in the 1945 state census.

Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, and Carolyn Swindle, all raised in Ray City, GA, were enumerated in Jacksonville. FL in the 1945 state census.

At least three of the girls,  Carolyn, Helen, and Grace were working for R C Motor Lines.  R-C Motor lines was a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville. ( You can see additional images of R-C Motor Lines trucks at http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/gruin_r.htm) .  Grace and Carolyn found work there as a bookkeeper,  and Helen was a clerk.  Louise was clerking for another firm.

1950s tractor-trailer rig of R-C Motor Lines, a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville.

1950s tractor-trailer rig of R-C Motor Lines, a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville.

Ray City Prosperity Proclaimed Amid 1929 Stock Market Crash

In 1929, less than 30 days  after Black Tuesday and  the beginning of the stock market crash,  the Nashville Herald was running stories to bolster the local Berrien County, GA economy.  The Ray City “booster” story assured readers that the bank in Ray City was financially strong,  and that trade was brisk among the  businesses of the town.

The Nashville Herald, front page, November 21, 1929
RAY CITY A VERY PROSPEROUS SECTION

BY CHAS, HIMSELF

In keeping with the policy of the Herald to boost and build up all sections of Berrien County, Mr. A.W. Starling and myself spent Monday afternoon in the interest of a Ray City Community page which appears in another section of this edition.  Upon our arrival, which was the first stop we had ever made in this enterprising town, we were greeted by our old friend, Mr. C.H. Winderweedle, of the firm of Johnson and Winderweedle, who do a general mercantile business and carry in connection a high grade line of groceries.  Mr. Winderweedle showed us every consideration and was one of the first of the business men of the community to sign up for one of the spaces in the booster page.  He was quite a bit more optimistic than some of th merchants called upon and stated that although his was a new firm that he was well pleased with their beginning and intimated that with the bargains they were offering that the and his partner anticipated a continued growth in trade.

Our next stop was made at the Citizens Bank of Ray City, where we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John D. Luke, the popular and efficient cashier of the institution.  Mr. Luke is a man of very pleasing personality and during our short conversation we can very easily understand why the banking institution of which he is the head has prospered as it has.  As we understand it the Citizens Bank of Ray City is one of the strongest financial institutions in the county and its business is growing steadily as will be shown by the last financial statement as called for by the superintendent of state banks.  It has total resources of over $150,000, and deposits of over $100,000 and shows that it has no notes and bills rediscounted.  Berrien county is justly proud of its banking institutions and conservative business men do not hesitate to place the Citizens Bank of Ray City along with the head of list.

We casually visited the firm of Swindle and Clements and were surprised to find the class of merchandise that a large force of clerks were busy dispensing to a large number of customers who were continually pouring in and out of the store.  In fact their rush was so great that it was several minutes before we could interview Mr. Clements, and when we did he readily agreed with our proposition to assist in boosting the county and he and Mr. Swindle readily signed up for one of the ads on the Ray City Booster Page.  While in his store we were what might be termed a “victim of circumstance” insamuch as we spied a string of jack fish, which were so near uniform size that we became attracted to them and after getting their weight, bought the six pound string for the insignificant sum of 90 cents.  Mr. Clements stated that his firm always has a supply of these fresh water fish on hand, which are alive when brought to his store, and supplies the lovers of the finny tribe with fresh oysters at all times in season.  Their meat market which is operated in connection with the store is modern in every detail and is equipped with Frigidaire cold storage apparatus, insuring their patrons of always receiving the most sanitary meats.

Upon a trip of this nature it is natural for one to become fatigued and need refreshing so we made a call upon the C.O. Terry Drug Store, the proprietor of which is familiarly known as “The Accommodating Druggist.”  Dr. Terry, himself waited upon us and true to his slogan proved to be very accommodating.  Being a very busy man dispensing cold drinks, filling prescriptions and waiting upon the trade in general, we did not get to spend as much time with him as we would have like, but a careful survey of the store convinced us that he was modern in his ideas and carried a choice line of drugs as well as druggists sundries.  Another noticeable feature was a large sign across the rear end of the store reading “Sargon” which is evidence enough within itself to show that he is the leading druggist of his section.

Just before taking leave of the little city it was our pleasure to visit the garden of Mrs. J.H.P. Johnson, which is a marvel, especially considering the dry weather.  Our observation of the garden and surroundings, convinced us that there is no danger of the family going hungry unless they should suddenly become too weak to pull up vegetables, milk a cow, kill a chicken, or clean a hog, as there was plenty of evidence that this family believes in living at home.

The above trip was an eye-opener to us, and our suggestion is that the people of Berrien County should “Know Your County Better.”

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker.

Checking on Citizens Bank of Ray City

Canceled checks drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City, Ray City, GA document some of the local businesses that Effie Guthrie Knight transacted with during 1927.

1927 check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City and made payable to Dr. Folsom.

1927 check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City and made payable to Dr. Folsom.

As the check above shows, Dr. George Hill Folsom came to Berrien County, GA some time prior to 1927. He established his home in Ray City where he engaged in general practice. A check in the amount of $1.00 might have been typical payment for an office visit in that time.

1927 check written by Effie Knight to C.O. Terry, and drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City.

1927 check written by Effie Knight to C.O. Terry, and drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City.

Written the same day as the previous check, this check to Ray City pharmacist, C. O. Terry,  may have been to fill a prescription written by Dr. George Hill Folsom.

Check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City in payment to G. M. Purvis, made out in the amount of two dollars and fifty cents, and signed by Effie Knight.

Check drawn on the Citizens Bank of Ray City in payment to G. M. Purvis

Another check written by Effie Knight  is made out to G.M. Purvis.  Guy Marvin Purvis owned a general merchandise store in Ray City, GA.  Furthermore, he was Effie’s brother-in-law so naturally she’d be inclined to do business there.

 A check made out July 5, 1927 to G.V. Hardie in the amount of twelve dollars and seventy cents, and drawn on the account of Effie Knight at The Citizens Bank of Ray City.

A check made out July 5, 1927 to G.V. Hardie in the amount of twelve dollars and seventy cents, and drawn on the account of Effie Knight at The Citizens Bank of Ray City.

In the 1920s, Gordon Vancie Hardie opened up the first gas station in Ray City, GA. The check above may have been payment for service on Effie Knight’s car.

 

1929 Merchants Support Ray City News

Many Ray City, GA residents felt that a home town newspaper was an essential element in the growth of the town. When the Ray City News began printing the local news, the local businessmen and merchants placed a full page advertisement showing their support.

The Ray City News, Ray City, Georgia

TO THE PUBLIC

    The undersigned merchants and business men of Ray City herewith announces the establishment of The Ray City News in the town of Ray City;
    And believing that a paper here means a great deal to the commercial life and development of our town, we are taking this method of be-speaking, for the paper, the support of the public and in asking that you subscribe to and read the Ray City News:

Citzens Bank of Ray City
M. G. Melton
C. O. Terry
Swindle & Clements
W.H.E. Terry
J. H.P. Johnson
J. L. Moore
Dr. G. H. Folsom
Charlie Shaw
Norton Service Station
A. Levin
L. F. Giddens
H. W. Woodard
J. A. Purvis
Studstill and Clements
G. M. Purvis    General Merchandise
Ray City Motor Co
Ray City Ice and Cold Storage Co.

Ray City Soda Jerk

When Ray City, GA became incorporated in 1909, among the earliest businesses to be established was the drug store. In those days,  the soda fountain was an essential element of the drugstore trade.  The  National Druggist trade magazine, in 1911, published The Practical Soda Fountain Guide  in which they advised drug store owners, “you have a soda fountain, because every druggist is supposed to have a soda fountain.”

In their heyday, soda fountains flourished in pharmacies, ice cream parlors, candy stores, dime stores, department stores, milk bars and train stations. They served an important function as a public space where neighbors could socialize and exchange community news. In the early 20th century, many fountains expanded their menus and became lunch counters, serving light meals as well as ice cream sodas, egg creams, sundaes, and such. Soda fountains reached their height in the 1940s and 1950s. With the coming of the Car Culture and the rise of suburbia, they began to decline. Drive-in restaurants and roadside ice cream outlets, such as Dairy Queen, competed for customers. North American retail stores switched to self-service soda vending machines selling pre-packaged soft drinks in cans, and the labor-intensive soda fountain didn’t fit into the new sales scheme. Today only a sprinkling of vintage soda fountains survive.

The  1910 census of Ray City  shows seventeen year-old Lutie Fender working as a “soda fountain salesman” – a soda jerk. Lutie was the son of Ray City hotelier, Wilson W. Fender, and nephew of Lon Fender, turpentine operator and builder of the Patterson Hotel in Valdosta, GA.

The Fender Hotel was was one of the historic businesses of Ray City. It was located in a wooden building on the northeast corner of Main and Paralleled Street in Ray City, just across the track from the train depot of the Georgia & Florida Railroad.  The hotel was operated by Mrs. Lena Fender. This building was destroyed by fire in 1913 or 1914.

City Drug Co., Ray City, Georgia circa 1912. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Society, http://berriencounty.smugmug.com

The soda fountain became a long-time fixture in Ray City,  as in small towns everywhere.   By 1916,  C.O. Terry was in business as a retail druggist in Rays Mill, GA (nka Ray City).  It may be that he had assumed operation of the City Drug Co. at Ray’s Mill by that time.  He later operated Terry’s Drug Store in Quitman, Ga., which became known locally for its soda fountain, among other things.  In his  book, My Whole Life and 48 Years of Small Town Family Medical Practice, Paul Tanner Jr., MD describes the work of a typical soda jerk, working in Terry’s Drug Store around 1940:

 “I went to work at… Terry’s Drug Store, down the street. I was a full fledged Soda Jerk, working in afternoons after school, and Saturdays. They had sandwiches made from ham boiled in the back of the store, boiled peanuts, boiled in the back, pimento cheese mixed in the back, with lettuce and tomato. I went to work after school each day and left after closing at 9 PM. All the soda fountain was my specialty, too. On Saturday I worked from 10 am until closing at 11 PM. I was paid $2.50 a week.  I continued working at Terry’s Drug Store off and on until I graduated from high school.”  – Paul J. Tanner, M.D.

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Bank of Ray’s Mill

The Bank of Ray’s Mill and the Bank of Milltown

In 1905, local investors including some with Ray’s Mill connections formed the Bank of Milltown.  The bank was  chartered March 14, 1905 and the bank opened for business March 21, 1906.

GOSSIP AT THE CAPITOL
Atlanta Constitution. Feb 7, 1905 pg. 7

 Application was filed with Secretary of State Philip Cook yesterday for a charter for the Bank of Milltown, at Milltown, in Berrien county. The capital stock of the new bank is to be $25,000 and the incorporators are J.V. Talley, W.L. Patton, P.T. Knight and L.J. Clements, Jr.

The Bank of Ray’s Mill was organized around 1908 with George W. Varn as president and Lewis M. Marshall as cashier. Its directors were J.H.P. Johnson, J.H.SwindleC.O. Terry, Y.F. Carter, Harmon Gaskins, and Frank Fountain. Wallace Johnson, son of J.H.P  Johnson, began working for the bank when he was fourteen years old.  Lewis M. Marshall served as the bank’s cashier until he was succeeded in the early 1920’s by John D. Luke who held the position until the bank failed during the great depression – probably around 1931.  In 1909 the bank’s name was changed to Citizens Bank of Ray City.

The Annual report of the Treasurer and State Bank Examiner of the State of Georgia for the year ending 1910, still lists the bank as the Bank of Ray’s Mill, with a capital of $15,000 dollars.  That sum would have been about $6 million in 2007 dollars.