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.
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.
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.
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.”