Ray City Girls and Boys at Camp Wilkins

Ray City School students were among the girls and boys who attended 1931 summer courses at Camp Wilkins in Athens, GA. Camp Wilkins was built in 1924 as the first state 4-H camp in the nation.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia,

 “The roots of the Georgia 4-H Club began in 1904 in Newton County as a countywide boys’ corn club. Statewide corn- and cotton-growing contests were held in 1906. Chicken and pig contests were held in 1908. In that same year the program was also extended to black youngsters. Club work for girls began in Hancock County in 1906 and consisted of garden clubs, tomato clubs, and canning clubs. By 1911 more than 1,500 girls were active in the pre-4-H Club activities.  In 1924 the nation’s first state 4-H camp, Camp Wilkins, was built on the University of Georgia campus.”
1925-camp-wilkins

Cooking breakfast at Camp Wilkins, a part of Georgia State College of Agriculture, after a nature hike. Circa 1925-1932. Image source: Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Division of Archives and History, Office of Secretary of State.

 In  the summer of 1931 a number of local Ray City youth and adults attended Camp Wilkins, the first 4-H camp in Georgia.  Camp Wilkins offered  summer course programs June 14 through August 13 through the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts in Athens, GA, at the University of Georgia.

“BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ SHORT COURSES AT CAMP WILKINS

A short course of nine weeks is given every summer for the boys and girls who have won scholarships in the different agricultural and home economics clubs of the state. This course is also open to boys and girls who do not win scholarships.

Scholarships in the short courses are given by fair associations, chambers of commerce, women’s clubs, banks, and other public-spirited organizations and individuals who are interested in stimulating education in agriculture and home economics among boys and girls.

Every year more than 2,000 boys and girls take advantage of the elementary instruction which is made very practical indeed and is visualized as far as possible by application and illustration.”

Among the boys attending from Ray City were Bernard Johnson (RCHS 1930), Brown King (RCHS 1930),  Leland Langford  (RCHS, 1939),  J. D. Luke, Billy McDonald,  James Swindle  (RCHS, 1936). The girls were Clyde Carter (RCHS 1936), Margaret Carter  (RCHS 1930), Mabel McDonald (RCHS 1930), Clyde Moore, Doris Swindle  (RCHS 1930), and Grace Swindle, and Beth Terry (RCHS 1930).  Ray City adults Chloe Gardener Johnson   and Carrie McDonald were also at Camp Wilkins, attending a summer course for farm women.   The 4-H activities in Berrien County were coordinated by County Agricultural Agent Donald L. Branyon, and the Home Demonstration Agent was Mary Nell Davis.  In Georgia, there were also Negro Boys’ clubs, Negro Home Demonstration Clubs, Negro Agricultural Agents and Negro Home Demonstration Agents, but none serving Berrien County.  The black division of 4-H was headquartered at Savannah State College (now Savannah State University), and separate events were held for its members in Dublin, GA.
Announcement of the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts for the session 1932-1933 with Register of Officers and Students for the Session 1931-1932, Athens, Georgia

Announcement of the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts for the session 1932-1933 with Register of Officers and Students for the Session 1931-1932, Athens, Georgia

Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA

Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA, 1925

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Camp Wilkins

Club girls at Camp Wilkins studying home foundation plantings and shrubbery, 1925.  The building is Barrow Hall on the UGA campus.

Horticulture class at Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA

Horticulture class at Camp Wilkins, Athens, GA, 1925

 ♦

Athens, June 17-22, 1929. Farm women's camp, Georgia home demonstration council.

Athens, June 17-22, 1929. Farm women’s camp, Georgia home demonstration council.

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Lawton Walker Johnson, WWII Sailor

Lawton Walker Johnson, son of JHP Johnson and Chloe Gardner Johnson,  was born June 14, 1908 in Ray City, GA.  During WWII, he joined in the US Navy , enlisting November 2, 1943. His younger brother, Max Maurice Johnson, was serving in the Army Air Force as pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber.

Lawton Walker Johnson, WWII Sailor

Lawton Walker Johnson, WWII Sailor, grew up in Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Navy Cruise Books for World War II show Lawton Walker Johnson served on the escort carrier USS Hollandia as a Seaman 1c, USNR.

“Hollandia sailed on her maiden voyage July 10, 1944 from San Diego for a shakedown cruise to Espiritu Santo. She also transported replacement aircraft on this cruise, and on the return voyage stopped at Manus Island and Guadalcanal, arriving Port Hueneme, California on  August 27, 1944. During the next few months the escort carrier made similar cruises between the United States and the Navy’s bases in the far Pacific, Manus, Ulithi, and Guam, transporting vitally-needed supplies and passengers.”

USS Hollandia off the coast of California in 1944.

USS Hollandia off the coast of California in 1944.

“Hollandia was anchored at Ulithi on April 1, 1945 when the Navy’s massive amphibious assault of Okinawa began. She got underway next day and operated off the Okinawan coast, sending fighters to support the advancing troops. The ship then returned to San Diego, arriving on May 1, 1945.”

Navy records show Lawton Walker Johnson died June 3, 1945 while on active duty, his death “resulting directly from enemy action or from operational activities against the enemy in war zones.”  About that time, Hollandia was on a cargo and passenger run to Pearl Harbor.

Just two months after Johnson’s death, Hollandia would be pressed into service transporting survivors of the ill-fated USS Indianapolis to a Navy hospital.   Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk after completing the secret mission to deliver parts and the enriched uranium (about half of the world’s supply of Uranium-235 at the time) for the atomic bomb Little Boy, which would later be dropped on Hiroshima.

USS Indianapolis survivors on the USS Hollandia.

Lawton Walker Johnson was laid to final rest at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  In 1947 his father, JHP Johnson, applied for and received a government provided marker for his grave.

 

Lawton Walker Johnson, as    a casualty of WWII, received a government-provided grave marker.

Lawton Walker Johnson, as a casualty of WWII, received a government-provided grave marker.

 

 

Grave of Lawton Walker Johnson, Ray City, GA

Grave of Lawton Walker Johnson, Ray City, GA

 

Related posts:

 

 

Billy McDonald at the University of Arizona

Billie McDonald, University of Arizona, 1952

Billie McDonald, of Ray City, GA at the University of Arizona, 1952

Billie McDonald, a son of Lacy Albert McDonald and Carrie Eugenia Langford, was born  November 10, 1920 at Ray City, GA.  He and his sisters attended the Ray City School.  Mabel McDonald graduated from the Ray City  School (then a junior high school) with the class of 1930 and went on to graduate from Valdosta High School in 1932.   Eugenia McDonald graduated  from Ray City High School with the class of 1936, and Billie McDonald graduated with the RCHS class of 1938.  One of Billie’s classmates at Ray City was  J.I. Clements who went on to a long coaching career at Georgia Southern University.

Billie McDonald’s father, Lacy A. McDonald, (1881-1960) was born at Cat Creek, Lowndes County, GA and worked in the Cat Creek District as a rural mail carrier. Lacy McDonald was probably educated at Kings Chapel School near Ray City, as was his sister, Lillie McDonald, who attended the school in 1906.

Billie’s mother, Carrie Eugenia Langford (1894-1984), was born at Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City) on August 31, 1894, a daughter of William E. Langford and Mary Virginia Knight, granddaughter of William Washington Knight, and great granddaughter of Levi J. Knight, original settler of Ray City, GA.  Her parents owned a place between the farms of her uncle Walter Howard Knight and cousin Paul Knight.

Lacy McDonald and Carrie E. Langford were married on January 3, 1915 in Berrien County, GA. The ceremony was performed by Perry Thomas Knight, Minister of God. Afterward,  they made their home at Ray City, on the farm of Carrie’s parents.  Lacy continued to work as a rural mail carrier.  His 1918 draft registration gives his physical description as short and slender with brown eyes and dark hair.

In the summer of 1931,  ten-year-old Billie McDonald, his sister Mabel and their mother all went to Camp Wilkins, the first 4-H camp in Georgia.  Camp Wilkins was a program at the Georgia State College of Agriculture and the Mechanical Arts at Athens, GA, now known as the University of Georgia.  Billie and Mabel were there for the summer-long boys’ and girls camps. Their mother, Carrie McDonald, was there for a week long session for Farm Women.  Also attending from Ray City  that summer at Camp Wilkins were Leland Langford  (RCHS, 1939),  J. D. Luke, James Swindle  (RCHS, 1936), and girls Clyde Carter (RCHS 1936), Margaret Carter, Clyde Moore, Doris Swindle, and Grace Swindle.  Chloe Johnson was there also, attending the summer school for farm women.    The 4-H activities in Berrien County were coordinated by County Agricultural Agent Donald L. Branyon.

Billie Graduated with the RCHS class of 1938.  In 1950, he was enrolled at the University of Arizona.  While pursuing his degree there he was a member of the Ramblers hiking club.

Billie McDonald, of Ray City, GA, attended the University of Arizona in 1950. Billie was a member of the Ramblers hiking club.

Billie McDonald, of Ray City, GA, attended the University of Arizona in 1950. Billie was a member of the Ramblers hiking club.

 The only prerequisite for membership in Ramblers,  Arizona’s hiking club, is an incurable wanderlust. Ramblers departed regularly each Sunday for many points of interest in the Southwest, including Miller Peak, Mt. Lemmon, and Baboquivari Peak. The Rambler pin identifies those who have tramped on a required number of hikes.

Billie McDonald married Lucile “Lucy” Ponsell (Lucy) McDonald (1921-2008). She was born near Waycross GA  and lived in Jacksonville, FL during her early life. She also lived in Arizona, Alabama, Missouri and Mississippi before settling in Ray City, GA. She was a volunteer at  the Ray City library. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Ray City where she also worked in the church library.

Related posts:

 

Posting Mail at Ray City

Post marked Ray's Mills, GA

Post marked Ray’s Mills, GA

 Levi J. Knight and the first Wiregrass Pioneers to settle on Beaverdam Creek in the area of present day Ray City, GA arrived here about 185 years ago, in the 1820s. At first  these settlers had no mail service at all, but within a year or two a post office was established at Daniel “Big Thumb” McCranie’s place on the Coffee Road. That was a 50 mile round trip for the settlers at Beaverdam Creek to fetch their mail.  Other post offices sprang up to serve the pioneers of Old Berrien County, but no post office was established closer than 10 or 12 miles to Ray City until after the Civil War.

KNIGHT’S MILL POST OFFICE
After the end of the Civil War, the grist mill that General Levi J. Knight and his son-in-law Thomas M. Ray had established on Beaverdam Creek became the site of the first post station serving the present day area of Ray City, GA. This mill was originally known as “Knight and Ray’s Mill” and in 1867 a post office established here was simply referred to as “Knight’s Mill.” In 1870 the United States Postal Service Guide indicated that the postmaster of Knight’s Mill received an annual salary of $12.   The Post Office Department Record of Appointment of Postmasters shows that Green Bullard  was appointed postmaster of Knight’s Mill (later known as Rays Mill) on August 3, 1868. Bullard held the position until June 29, 1871 when the Knight’s Mill post office was discontinued.

RAY’S MILL POST STATION
In 1870, after the death of General Knight, Thomas M. Ray bought out complete ownership of the mill from his father-in-law’s estate. Thereafter the mill and the surrounding community became known as Ray’s Mill. Apparently from 1871 and 1875 there was no post office in operation at Ray’s Mill, and residents were again compelled to take their mail at Nashville or Milltown. In 1876 a local post office resumed operation and according to the Post Office Department Record of Appointment of Postmasters,  Henry Harrison Knight was appointed on June 6, 1876.  The United States Official Postal Guide of July, 1879 lists the post office at “Ray’s Mills,” Berrien County, Georgia, but the postmaster’s name is not given. The Georgia State Gazetteer, Business and Planter’s Directory for 1881-82 also lists the the Ray’s Mill post office. In the 1885 Official Register of the United States, H.H. Knight was again listed as Postmaster of Ray’s Mill, Berrien County, Georgia. His compensation for this service was $36.25. Post Office Dept records appear to indicate  that H.H. Knight was reappointed as Postmaster on May 22, 1886.  His wife, Mary Susan Ray Knight, was officially appointed Postmaster on November 1, 1892.  Joseph O. Sirmans was appointed on October 2, 1899 and served for about a year.  On September 1, 1900 the appointment was given to William C. Johnson (Johnson married H.H. Knight’s daughter in 1907).  The Post Office Department Record of Appointment of Postmasters documents that David J. Rigell was appointed Postmaster of Rays Mill on March 8, 1901.  Ulysses A. Knight took over on August 12, 1902 and was later confirmed as postmaster. Josiah S. Rigell took the position on April 28, 1903.  Post office records seem to indicate that the post office at Ray’s Mill was discontinued effective March 31, 1904 and for a while the mail was sent to Milltown (now Lakeland).

Some local histories say David Rigell, a  merchant of Berrien County, was the first postmaster at Ray’s Mill.  The primary sources, timing and other factors indicate that this was not the case (see David Jackson Rigell ~ First Postmaster of Ray’s Mill? Maybe Not!), but that Rigell served as postmaster in the 1901. It is speculated that the death of General Knight left the position vacant until Henry H. Knight, son-in-law of Thomas M. Ray and nephew of General Knight took an interest in civil service.

In 1909, Eugene Ray reported that “Charles H. Anderson and Dr. Guy Selman, young men, are putting up a drug store. Mr. Anderson is postmaster and Dr. Selman practices his profession here,” in Ray City, GA. The Post Office Department Record of Appointment of Postmasters shows that Charles Anderson was officially appointed Postmaster of Rays Mill on February 6, 1909, and  the Official Register of the United States shows in 1909, Chas Anderson was earning, $82 a month or $984 a year as Postmaster of Ray’s Mill.  That sum might have been comparable to an annual salary of about $35,000 a year in 2007 dollars.

On April 1, 1920, James “Joel” F. Fountain  became the Acting Postmaster. His appointment as Postmaster was confirmed in the U.S. Senate on June 5th of that year. The following year the  Ray City Post Office made the state news when it was dynamited by “Yeggmen“.

The census of 1930  shows James F. Fountain continued as the Ray City postmaster.  James Arthur Grissett and Lacy Albert McDonald were employed as rural mail carriers at Ray City.

By 1934, Mamie E. Fountain, wife of J. F. Fountain, took over as Postmaster at Ray City.

In 1939, the Nashville Herald announced a vacancy in the postmaster position at Ray City:

The Nashville Herald,
February 2, 1939    Pg 1

Postmaster’s Exam Called for Ray City

      An open competitive examination will be held shortly to fill the position of postmaster of Ray City, according to an announcement from the Civil Service Commission, Washington, D.C.
Applications for the examination will close on February 10th.  All who desire to take the examination for this place must file their application by that date.
The place and date of examination will be announced after the date for making applications is closed.
Complete information may be obtained by applying at the post office in Ray City.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

National Archives Record of Appointment of Postmasters, Ray City, GA

National Archives Record of Appointment of Postmasters, Ray City, GA

The U. S. Postal service and census records provide the following on subsequent Postal employees at Ray City.

Name Title Date Appointed
James Arthur Grissett Mail Carrier prior to 4/04/1940
Chloe Ann Johnson Asst Postmaster prior to 4/04/1940
Garth L. Webb Postmaster prior to 4/04/1940
William A. Garner Acting Postmaster 04/02/1955
William A. Garner Postmaster 08/06/1957
Mrs. Florence V. Garner Officer-In-Charge 05/08/1970
Timothy R. McLeod Postmaster 11/27/1971
Jeane U. Camp Officer-In-Charge 06/04/1987
Billy R. Cromer Officer-In-Charge 07/30/1987
Muriel S. Privett Officer-In-Charge 11/05/1987
Jeane U. Camp Postmaster 01/30/1988
Nancy Deloras Courson Officer-In-Charge 01/08/2003
Nancy D. Courson Postmaster 05/17/2003
Flora Parker Officer-In-Charge 07/26/2012
Wayne Putnal and Lawson Fountain at the Ray City, GA Post Office shortly after it opened.

Wayne Putnal and Lawson Fountain at the Ray City, GA Post Office shortly after it opened.

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Related Posts:

Max Maurice Johnson

Max Maurice Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Max Maurice Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Maurice “Max” Johnson grew up in Ray City, GA. As a boy he attended the Ray City School ( see Glee Club Gave 1939 Christmas Cantata and Ray City School 1934) graduating with the Ray City High School Class of 1940. The Johnsons were a prominent family in Ray City and have been the subject of several other posts, linked below. Records of the census enumeration conducted in the spring of 1940 show Maurice Johnson was a student and also working as assistant janitor at the school. His father, JHP Johnson, was a retired merchant, his mother, Chloe Johnson, was Assistant Postmaster of Ray City, and his older brother, Glen, was working as a band instructor.

During WWII, Maurice Johnson served in the U. S. Army Air Force as pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber. Another brother, Lawton Walker Johnson, was killed in 1945 while serving in the Navy.  Other Ray City men in the Army Air Force included B-26 Marauder pilot James Swindle, and flying officer Jim Paulk.  Sgt. Mitchell Moore was assigned  to the 854 AAF Bomber Squadron, 491st Bomber Group, flying as a crewman on a B-24 Liberator. Charles Shaw was sent to the 96th Bomb Group, 8th Army Air Force, stationed at Snetterton Heath, England where he joined the crew of the B-17 Mischief Maker II. William C. Webb served in the Medical Corps of the Army Air Force and Howell Shaw served at Sedalia Army Air Field. Lt. Jamie Connell, of Nashville, served as a  navigator-bombardier. Saunto Sollami served in the Army Air Corp and came to the area after the war.

Max Maurice Johnson died on September 25, 2012 at  LaGrange, GA. He was buried at Carrollton Memory Gardens, Carrollton, GA.

Obituary of Max Maurice Johnson

Mr. Max Maurice Johnson, 90, of Carrollton passed away on September 25, 2012 at the West Georgia Hospice in LaGrange Georgia, after succumbing to his battle with bladder cancer.

Mr. Johnson was born in Ray City, GA on May 28, 1922, the son of the late Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson and Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson. He was a veteran of the U. S. Army Air Force where he served as a B-24 pilot during WWII from 1942 to 1945. He and his wife of 69 years, Frances A. Johnson, moved to Decatur, Georgia in the summer of 1960 then to Carrollton in 2000. They built a house next to their daughter and settled into a comfortable and productive lifestyle. They became active members of the Carrollton First United Methodist Church and enjoyed good relationships there.

His career and his education were devoted to education. He attended Martha Berry College, Georgia Southwestern College and University of Georgia for his undergraduate degree and University of Georgia for his Masters in Education as well as his law degree. He was a principal both of elementary and secondary schools in Berrien County Georgia. At the age of 38, he changed careers and built a successful educational marketing business, Educational Marketing Services, selling educational products to school systems.

He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather and is seceded in death by Timothy Max Poucher, grandson. He is survived by three daughters and two sons in law; Sandra Dianne and Robert Alan Fischer of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Suzanne Johnson of Fort Myers, Florida, and Kathryn Elaine and Carl Emil Poucher of Carrollton. Survivors also include grandchildren and their spouses; Shawn William Fischer, Ashley Ayn and James Edward Remik, Kevin Hamilton Butts and Deanna Lynn Ford, Jessica Robin and Daniel Eric Blanks, Mark Christian and Melissa Caspary- Poucher, John Gabriel and Kendall Poucher, Justin Cauldwell Poucher. great grandchildren, William Jeremy and Caleb James Remik, Noah Lane Butts, Isaiah Samuel, Judah Isaac, Chava Chloe, Aaron Levi, Ari Mordechai, and Tovia Yosef Blanks, Ethan Ry and Samantha Eve Caspary-Poucher.

Memorial Services will be Monday, October 1, 2012 at the Carrollton First United Methodist Church with Rev. Gerry Davis and Dr. Dean Milford officiating.

The family will be receiving friends and family beginning at 10AM followed by Memorial Services at 11AM.

The family requests contributions to Carrollton First United Methodist, 206 Newnan Street, Carrollton, GA 30117, in lieu of flowers and messages of condolence may be sent to the family at http://www.almonfuneralhome.com.

Funeral arrangements are being made by Almon Funeral Home of Carrollton.

Grave of Max Maurice Johnson, Carroll Memory Gardens, Carrollton, GA.  Image source: Don Sharp.

Grave of Max Maurice Johnson, Carroll Memory Gardens, Carrollton, GA. Image source: Don Sharp.

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Mary Jane Gardner Stewart rests at Beaver Dam Cemetery

Mary Jane Gardner was a sister of Chloe Gardner.

Mary Jane Gardner moved with her parents from Hamilton County, FL to south Florida some time before 1900.   Her sister, Chloe Gardner, married JHP Johnson in 1899 and made her home first in DuPont, GA and later in Ray City.  Upon her death in 1977, Mary Jane Gardner Stewart was laid to rest at Beaver Dam Cemetery, in Ray City.

Mary Jane Gardner Stewart and son, Elton. Mary Jane was a sister of Chloe Gardner Johnson.

Mary Jane Gardner Stewart and son, Elton. Mary Jane was a sister of Chloe Gardner Johnson.

Gardner Sisters: Emma Gardner, Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson, Mary Gardner Stewart, & Martha Leone Gardner. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Gardner Sisters: Emma Gardner, Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson, Mary Gardner Stewart, & Martha Leone Gardner. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Beaver Dam Cemetery

Grave of Mary Jane Gardner Stewart (1884-1977), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Grave of Mary Jane Gardner Stewart (1884-1977), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Bessie Johnson: Lady in Red

Bessie G. Johnson (1911-2005), a daughter of Chloe Gardner and James Howard Pascal Johnson, came to Ray City, GA with her parents some time before 1918. She grew to womanhood in Ray City and on August 15, 1932 married Robert Lawton LeSueur from Americus, Georgia.

There is a family story concerning Bessie as a young bride,  “about a red dress she once had when she first married Robert Lawton LeSueur from Americus, Georgia.  Gramma Bess bought a red dress from the local clothier back in the day. Granddaddy Lawton made her return it because ‘she was too beautiful in it.’ He meant it. She never wore a red dress again.”

In a nod to the “lady in red”  an old photo of Bessie Johnson holding her brother, Maurice, was colorized to illustrate a family cookbook compiled few years ago.

Bessie Gardner Johnson with brother, Maurice Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Colorized photo of Bessie Gardner Johnson with brother, Maurice Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

From Julie Hutson’s Waiting on the Bread cookbook, comes a personal recipe of Bessie Gardner Johnson:

Bessie’s Squirrel Stew
Bess Johnson LeSueur’s infamous recipes! Not for the faint of heart!

ingredients

Squirrel Preparation:Dress three young squirrels and let soak for several hours in water with one tsp. salt. Transfer to pot, cover with water (add red pepper pod, if you have one) and bring to a boil. Simmer until meat is tender. Pull meat from bones. Strain liquid to avoid small bones. Put all together in pot.

Add:
2 cans of tomatoes
2 large onions (chopped fine)

DIRECTIONS
Cook Slowly for one hour, covered.
Add:
1.   Juice of one lemon

2.   dash of hot sauce

3.   1/2 stick oleo

4.   2-3 tblsp. Worcestershire sauce

5.   1 cup ketchup

6.   salt and pepper to taste

Let simmer 30 minutes. Add 1 can yellow creamed corn. Simmer a few minutes longer (about 10 minutes), stirring all the time to keep it from sticking. You may add more seasons, if you like. The longer it simmers, the better. If it is too thin, add some bread cubes. Serve with bread, pickles. slaw and potato chips.

Bessie Gardner Johnson LeSeur died on January 31, 2005.  Her obituary appeared in the Cordele Dispatch.

Bess Johnson

Bess Johnson

 

Cordele Dispatch
February 1, 2005
Cordele, GA

AMERICUS, GA.  Mrs. Bess Johnson LeSueur, 93, died Monday Jan. 31, 2005, at Magnolia Manor Nursing Center.  Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, in the chapel of Hancock Funeral Home with the Rev. Rusty Mauldin officiating.  Internment will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery.  The deacons of the First Baptist Church are requested to serve as honorary pallbearers.

Mrs. LeSueur, a native of Dupont, was born Aug. 1, 1911, a daughter of the late Joseph Henry Paschal Johnson and Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson.

Mrs. LeSueur, a loving mother and grandmother, was a member of the First Baptist Church, the Junior Service League and the Day Lily Garden Club. She was a member and past regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Council of Safety Chapter.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. today, Feb. 1, at Hancock Funeral Home.  Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society c/o Mrs. Ann Harris, 1801 Rose Ave., Americus GA 31709 or to First Baptist Church, 211 S. Lee St., Americus GA 31709

Survivors include a daughter, JoAnn LeSueur Chappell of Americus; a son Ronald Carey LeSueur of Florida; a daughter-in-law, Claudia Sims LeSueur of Americus; two brother and sisters-in-law, Bruce and Myrtle Johnson of Callahan, Fla., and Maurice and Frances Johnson of Carrollton; grandchildren, Michele and Tommy Holman of Canton, Camille Swain of Woodstock, Robert Lawton LeSueur III, William McCall Calhoun Jr., Anne Davis and Mary Calhoun, all of Americus and Virginia and James Morton of Athens.

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Merchant of Ray City: Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson was born and raised on the old Johnson farm in Clinch county,  about four miles north of Dupont, GA.  His father, Captain Rowan Burnett Johnson, gave a portion of his land for the site of the primitive baptist Prospect Church,  J.H.P. Johnson lived in DuPont for some years prior to moving to Ray City about 1913.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

In 1900 the newlywed J.H.P.  “Joe” Johnson  supported his bride, Chloe Ann Gardner, as a merchant in the Dupont district of Clinch County, GA. In the Clinch County census of 1910 Johnson reported his occupation as “farming”.  Some time about 1913, the Johnsons moved to Ray City, GA where  Joe served on the board of directors for the Bank of Ray’s Mill , and owned  several retail buildings  prior to the Great Depression.  By 1930 J.H.P.  the census shows he was back in the occupation of farming, but he was always in the retail business.  His death certificate in 1953 gave his usual occupation as “merchant and farmer,”   and his type of  business was  owner of a general merchandise store.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson and grandchild. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson and grandchild. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

The Clinch County News
February 27, 1953

Death Of J.H.P.  Johnson

Aged Clinch County Native Passes at Ray City

    Mr. J. H. P. Johnson, known to his old home-county people as “Joe” Johnson, died in the hospital at Lakeland last Saturday morning, age 83 years following a long illness.  Funeral and burial was had at Ray City last Sunday afternoon, the funeral being in the Ray City Baptist Church and conducted by the pastor, Rev. John W. Harrell, assisted by the Methodist Pastor, Rev. D. R. Dixon.
    Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Chloe Gardner Johnson; three daughters, Mrs. Paul King of Orange Park, Fla., Mrs. R. Lawton LeSueur of Americus, Mrs. W. M. Carlton of Nashville; and six sons, R. G. Johnson of Elberton, J. Wallace Johnson of Valdosta, Floyd V. Johnson of Charlotte, N. C., J. H. Johnson and Maurice Johnson of Ray City, and R. Bruce Johnson of Callahan, Fla.
    Mr. Johnson was the last surviving one of the children of the late Hon. Rowan B. Johnson, 1830-1904, well known Clinch County citizen and legislator of years ago.  The elder Johnson died in June, 1904, while a member of the legislature from Clinch serving his fourth or fifth (though not consecutive terms) from this county. The mother of the deceased was Mrs. Caroline Floyd Johnson, daughter of Jason Floyd of Liberty County.  The deceased was born and reared near Prospect Church, on the old Johnson farm now the plantation of Mr. G. C. Griner; and lived in DuPont for some years prior to moving to Ray City about forty years ago.  He engaged in merchandising in Ray City until forced by ill health a few years ago to retire.
      Mr. Johnson was a very fine, upright man,and had many friends.  He was always genial and friendly, and leaves behind the record of a good, clean life filled with many deeds of kindness exemplifying many fine traits of character.
      Mr. G. A. Gibbs of Homerville, is his nephew.  Mrs. O. C. Dukes of Homerville, and Mrs. M. G. Hughes of DuPont, are second cousins.

Death Certificate of Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson. Courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Death Certificate of Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson. Courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Grave of Joseph Howard Pascal Johnson and Chloe Gardner Johnson, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Grave of Joseph Howard Pascal Johnson and Chloe Gardner Johnson, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Johnson Brothers and the Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company

Maurice (Morris) Johnson, Robert Bruce Johnson and James Howard Pascal Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Maurice (Morris) Johnson, Robert Bruce Johnson and James Howard Pascal Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Chloe Gardner Johnson and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson came to Ray City from DuPont, GA some time before 1918, bringing their children with them.

  1.  Rowan Glenn Johnson 1901 – 1962
  2.  Joseph Wallace Johnson 1903 –
  3.  Mildred “Dish” Lee Johnson 1905 –
  4.  Floyd B Johnson 1906 – 1982
  5.  Lawton Walker Johnson 1908 – 1945
  6.  Bess “Bessie” Gardner Johnson 1911 – 2005
  7. Blanche G. “Bat” Johnson 1914 –

The three youngest sons of Chloe Gardner Johnson and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson were born at Ray City, GA.

8.     James Howard Pascal Johnson (1918-1988)
9.     Robert Bruce Johnson (1919-2008)
10.     Maurice (Morris) Johnson (born abt 1923)

 The Johnson kids grew up in Ray City and attended the Ray City School ( see Ray City School 1934 and Glee Club Gave 1939 Christmas Cantata).

A photo in the collection of Julie Hutson appears to show the three youngest Johnson boys on an excursion to Apalachicola, Florida circa 1930. They are posed on the waterfront with a crate of oysters from the Apalachicola Fish and Oyster Company. The company was incorporated in Florida in 1930.

Maurice Johnson, James Howard Johnson and Robert Bruce Johnson with a crate of oysters from the ApalaMaurice Johnson, James Howard Johnson and Robert Bruce Johnson with a crate of oysters from the Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.chicola Fish & Oyster Company.i

Maurice Johnson, James Howard Johnson and Robert Bruce Johnson with a crate of oysters from the Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company

Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company, 1947. Image courtesy of The Florida Memory Project http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/55947

Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company

Apalachicola Fish & Oyster Company, 1947. Image courtesy of The Florida Memory Project http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/63808

The Johnsons Were at Home in Ray City, GA

The old Johnson Home Place was near Ray City, GA. It was the residence of Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson. Chloe  was originally from Florida (see Family of Chloe Gardner Johnson) and JHP Johnson grew up in Clinch county, GA (see  From the King’s Tree to Ray City: Family of JHP Johnson) , his family having settled there in 1822.

Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal "Joe" Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

The Johnsons, Joe and Chloe, came to Berrien County some time before 1918 and made their home near Ray City, GA.  In the 1920s this was perhaps the finest home in the Rays Mill district, its $6000 value being equaled only by the home of Elias Moore “Hun” Knight.

Johnson Homestead near Ray City, Georgia circa 1923. Depicted are Chloe Gardner Johnson and her three youngest children- Robert Bruce Johnson, James Howard Pascal Johnson and Maurice (Morris) Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Johnson Homestead near Ray City, Georgia circa 1923. Depicted are Chloe Gardner Johnson and her three youngest children- Robert Bruce Johnson, James Howard Pascal Johnson and Maurice (Morris) Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

In 1929, the editor of the Nashville Herald called on Chloe at this home while visiting Ray City:

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.

Johnson Home in Ray City, GA

After the old Johnson home place burned, Chloe Johnson moved into a small home on Johnson Street in Ray City, GA.  Although they lived in town, Chloe was still a “farm woman” and attended the 1931 summer course for Farm Women at Camp Wilkins, UGA in 1931.

The image below is the Ray City home of Chloe Gardner Johnson photographed on a rare south Georgia snow day in 1958.   This home still stands on Jones Street in Ray City, although the exterior was covered with a type of shingle siding in the late 50s or early 60s .

1958 Ray City home of Chloe Gardner Johnson.  Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

1958 Ray City home of Chloe Gardner Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

On Jones Street

This house was built for Mrs. Chloe Johnson, postmistress of Ray City, GA.  At that time the post office was located just down the street on the northeast corner of Jones and Paralleled Streets.

2008 photo of Chloe Gardner Johnson's home on Jones Street, Ray City, GA.

2008 photo of Chloe Gardner Johnson’s home on Jones Street, Ray City, GA.

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