Bill Griner

Grave of Bill Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

Grave of Bill Griner, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

William E. “Bill” Griner (1902-1984), son of Sarah and D. Edwin Griner,  was the custodian at the Ray City School. He came to school very early every day and built a fire in the pot-bellied stove in every room. There were four classrooms and the soup kitchen in the old wooden building. In the brick building there were six classrooms, the principal’s office and the laboratory, each with their own stove.  At Christmas, every student brought Bill a gift.

Bill Griner had a home on Main Street in Ray City.  This home was an unpainted, low, wooden bungalow on the north side of Main Street on the block of land between Ward Street and Samuel Street. His neighbors to the west were the family of Caulie and Marietta Smith.

It appears that after the death of Robert L. Griner, Tessie Vining Griner and her daughter Sadie moved in with William E. “Bill” Griner.  Sadie had a son nicknamed Peanut, and although Bill himself had only two years of formal schooling, he worked hard to make sure that Peanut made it through high school. Peanut later became a policeman at Remerton, GA.

 

Children of Edwin and Sallie Griner

Children of Edwin and Sallie Griner

In the 1930’s D. Edwin Griner  was a miller working at a grist mill in Ray City, GA.  He and his wife grew up in Berrien County, GA and lived for many years in and around Ray City.

As a boy D. Edwin Griner suffered tragic loss, watching his siblings die of measles in the spring of 1889 – four dead in a  week – and in the winter of that same year his mother, Sarah Gaskins Griner, was taken.

In adulthood, Edwin Griner married Sarah “Sallie” Rouse, daughter of Robert and Kizzia Rouse. The couple made their home in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District where the census of 1900 shows they owned a farm near Sallie’s parents and others of the family connection.

But tragedy was not over for Edwin; he and Sallie would have to endure the painful loss of four of their own precious children, and the loss their daughter-in-law.

The four lost children of  Sarah Rouse Griner and D. Edwin Griner rest at Empire Cemetery. Their son, Bill, the only child who survived to adulthood, was buried next to his parents at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

 

Grave of Carl Griner, born September 11, 1894; died November 5, 1900; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Carl Griner, born September 11, 1894; died November 5, 1900; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

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Grave of Eugene Griner, born May 26, 1896; died November 3, 1900, buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Eugene Griner, born May 26, 1896; died November 3, 1900, buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

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Grave of Lona Belle Griner, born April 15, 1899; died November 11, 1909; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Lona Belle Griner, born April 15, 1899; died November 11, 1909; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

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Grave of Willie "Bill" Edwin Griner, born December 5, 1902; died April 21, 1984, buried New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

Grave of Willie “Bill” Edwin Griner, born December 5, 1902; died April 21, 1984, buried New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland

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Grave of Sarah V Griner, born 1905; died some time before 1930; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Grave of Sarah V Griner, born 1905; died some time before 1930; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

 

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Death of Sarah Griner

As told in previous post Almost Gone ~ Graves of D. Edwin Griner and Sarah Rouse at New Ramah Cemetery) Sarah “Sallie” Rouse married D. Edwin Griner on October 22, 1894 in Berrien County, GA.  She was the daughter of Kizzia and Robert O. Rouse, of Ray’s Mill, GA.

Sarah’s father was a veteran of the Civil War, having served in Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment.  He was fighting with his unit in November 1863 at Knoxville, TN when he was wounded in the face, breaking both cheek bones and impairing his vision. He was  captured by Union forces on January 5, 1864 and imprisoned at Rock Island Prison.  He remained a prisoner of war until March 27, 1865  when he was exchanged  at  Boulware and Cox’s Wharves, James River, VA and was subsequently furloughed. He was later denied a Confederate pension.

Edwin and Sarah Griner made their home in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District where the census of 1900 shows they owned a farm near Sallie’s parents and others of the family connection.  To that story we now add the obituary of Sarah Griner,  died Monday, January 29, 1951.

Valdosta Times
January 30, 1951

Obituary of Sarah Griner, (1871-1951) Ray City, GA

Obituary of Sarah Griner, (1871-1951) Ray City, GA

Valdosta Times
January 30, 1951

Mrs. Sara Griner of Ray City is Claimed by Death

Mrs. Sara Griner, 80, died Monday afternoon after several months of illness.  She had lived in Ray City all of her life, and was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church.
    She is survived by one son, William Griner; one daughter, Mrs. Berdie Cook, both of Ray City; two grandchildren.
    Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church in Ray City.  The Rev. John W. Harrell and Elder M. C. Peavy will conduct the services.
    Lakeland Funeral Home is directing arrangements.

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

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

Children of  Sarah Rouse Griner and D. Edwin Griner:

  1. Carl Griner, born September 11, 1894; died November 5, 1900; buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  2. Eugene Griner, born May 26, 1896; died November 3, 1900, buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  3. Lona Belle Griner, born April 15, 1899; died November 11, 1909;  buried Empire Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  4. William Edwin Griner 1902 – 1984
  5. Sarah V Griner 1905 –

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Henry Washington Woodard – Ray City Blacksmith

Woodard Blacksmith Shop

Henry Woodard and Kiziah “Kizzie” Corbitt Woodard lived in Ray City, GA in the 1930’s.  Henry Woodard operated a blacksmith shop  located  on the Ray City Nashville Highway between Main Street and Jones Street.

Henry and Kizzie Woodard photographed in Pearson County, GA.

Henry and Kizzie Woodard photographed in Pearson County, GA.

Henry Woodard, born Nov. 11, 1867, was the eldest son of Wiley H. Woodard and Delilah Ann Brantley.  He was born in Militia District 1144 (the Rays Mill District), Berrien, Georgia and grew up in the Ray’s Mill vicinity. In the Census of 1880 Henry Woodard  is enumerated with his parents, living in the household of his grandfather, Wiley Woodard, in the 1300 Georgia Militia District (now in Lanier County).

Henry Woodard married Kiziah Corbitt on January 5th, 1890 in Clinch County, GA.  She was born September 28, 1866,  a daughter of Rowena Guthrie and Martin Lafayette Corbitt.

It may be that Henry Woodard purchased the Ray City blacksmith shop from Emma Warr, widow of the town’s previous blacksmith. Her husband, Rollie Warr had died some time in the 1920s.

Henry Woodard owned a home in Ray City valued at $600.  His next door neighbors were Edwin D. Griner, who worked as a miller at a Gristmill, and his wife Sarah, who was a trucker on a  truck farm.

Woodard lived and raised his family in Clinch, Coffee, and then Atkinson county before moving back to the area of his birth in Berrien county.  He was occupied most of his life as a farmer but by the time he moved back to Ray City in the 1920s, he had taken up working as a blacksmith.

Children of  Kiziah “Kizzie” Corbett and Henry Woodard:

  1. PEARL WOODARD, b. March 20, 1891 Clinch Co. GA; d. March 05, 1941,Coffee County GA.
  2. HENRY LAFAYETTE WOODARD, b. March 1894; m. Loucreasy O’steen; d. Feb. 9, 1959, Ray City, GA.
  3. LOU ANNIE “Lizzie” WOODARD, b. May 2, 1895, Georgia; m. John Riley Osteen; d. March 7, 1983.
  4. DENNIS WOODARD, b. December 1899, Georgia; d. Abt. 1970.
  5. DELILAH WOODARD, b. 1911; m. JACK CRIBB; d. April 14, 1990

Kiziah Corbitt and Henry Washington Woodard are buried at New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia.

Grave of Henry Washington Woodard and Kiziah Corbitt, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave of Henry Washington Woodard and Kiziah Corbitt, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Ray City History Review

January 14 – time for a brief  review of the year’s posts to date.

The Ray City History Blog noted that in 1947, Ray City, GA celebrated the completion of the new school Gymnasium with a “Queen of the Harvest” contest. 

In 1960, Pleamon Sirmons and Minnie Clements celebrated their Golden Anniversary. Among the accomplishments of Mr. Sirmans, service as a city councilman and Mayor of Ray City.

A visit to New Ramah Cemetery found a pair of deteriorating concrete markers almost illegible. Researching the available clues led to a sketch of Edwin and Sarah Griner. As a young man, Edwin suffered the tragic loss of his siblings – four dead in a week, followed by the death of his mother.

Another interesting burial at New Ramah Cemetery turned up in the obituary of John Martin “Black John” Griner

The 1961 obituary of Tessie Vining Griner was followed up with a brief sketch of her three marriages.

A prompt from a reader led to a follow up story on the Haints of Berrien County and the desperado Ben Furlong whose infamy spread around the globe.

A partial list of Ray City veterans of World War I and their service records, were culled from old Berrien County records.  One interesting veteran was Carlie Lawson, who fought at St. Mihiel in the Battle of the Argonne Forest.

Four Dead in a Week

D. Edwin Griner lived many years in Ray City, Berrien County, GA and is buried there at New Ramah Cemetery.  He was the eldest son of Sarah C. Gaskins  and  Samuel J. Griner and as a young man he lived with his parents and siblings near Nashville, GA.   When D. Edwin Griner was a young man of 17,  his family suffered tragic loss.  In the spring of 1889 in the weeks just before Easter,  four  of the Griner children, Edwin’s siblings, died of measles.

The Berrien County Pioneer
Friday, April 5, 1889
Nashville, Ga.

Mr. Samuel Griner, living some two miles from here, lost three of his children last week from measles. Two of them were twin boys some twelve years of age. The other a little girl some younger which died last Friday night. There seemed to be something miraculous about the little girl’s death, she was neither sick nor cold on Sunday morning, or thirty-six hours after death. Another of Mr. Griner’s children is very low and not expected to live. Mr. and Mrs. Griner has the sincere sympathy of the entire community in their sorrowful bereavement.

The Berrien County Pioneer
Friday, April 12, 1889
Nashville, Ga.

Mr. Sam Griner, of Nashville, lost another one of his children this week from measles. This is the fourth child he has lost from this disease. The bereaved parents have the sympathy of all.

 The Valdosta Times,
Valdosta, Georgia
Saturday, April 13, 1889

Four Dead in a Week. In writing soothing words for a bereaved family after the loss of some of the loved ones, we seldom have to mention more than one or at the most two who have departed this eventful and flickering spark of mortality. But in this instance four of the precious pets of the home of Samuel J. and Sarah C. Griner are gone to answer the summons of the Grand Master of the Universe to be with Him in His kingdom that they may be the more able to behold his glory. In His sojourn on the vale of sorrow He said “suffer little children to come unto me,” and though his will may conflict with the will of frail humanity we must bow in humble submission to Him in all patience, knowing that “the Lord giveth and that the Lord taketh away.” and Job, said “and blessed be the man of the Lord.” Truly our children are jewels in our households but they are only entrusted to care for a very short period by the creator, our Heavenly friend.  Then surely we can of ready mind, restore the jewels to their owner whose loan has caused us so much pleasure. The first of this lovely quarto to obey the death call was little Archie, one of the petted twins who had been the especial pets of his parents and friends for ten years.  Just before his death and when the sweet life was fast going he called his pa and gave his dying instructions concerning a pet dog he and his little brother claimed. “Pa” said he “feed my dog and take good care of him?” And then his eyes closed in the sweet sleep of death. The next to go was little Arthur who died just thirty-six hours later. Like his little twin brother he too had a dying message. The little dog kept constant vigil at the bedside of the little boys and after Archie was gone he knew very well something was not as it use to be. A few minutes before the last little master went away the little pet dog got up, and looked around, reared up on the bedside and wagged his tail and looked at the dying boy’s face who reached out his hand and the dog kissed it a last good by. Turning to his pa he said, “pa there is two boys gone.” On being asked who he replied “us.” He was then asked if he wished to see anybody he said “nobody but Archie.”  And then he called his pa to come near. Soon all was over, and his spirit joined that of his dear brother in paradise.

Next came little Martha aged about seven. She died on the third day after little Arthur. Then the baby remained. Little Rhoda, aged about two years. Faint hopes were expressed that she might recover.  And then the poor almost broken hearted parents were so anxious.

It does seem as if our Heavenly Father is severe on us sometimes when He in His wisdom intends good. Perhaps it is so in this case. For two days her life hung in the balance and did not seem to turn either way. But the hungry pain prayed ceaselessly on her weak vitals and third day after her little sister died she passed away. Oh, what sorrow now dragged upon the poor parents hearts. In one short week they had witnessed the death of four of their precious darlings, and it is only they who’ve felt such pain that can understand their sorrow. May God in His mercy bless them with soothing comfort.

In the Churchyard at Flat Creek Church are four new graves where the loved ones will rest until the morn of the resurrection when they shall rise to be with the general assembly and Church of the first born.

Dear parents, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, let us prepare to go us there too.

Their cousin,
    W. Henry Griffin

Edwin’s mother, Sarah Gaskins Griner,  could not long survive the loss of four children.  She had suffered with a disability at least since 1880.  Did she fall victim to the measles, did her own health just give out,  or was she simply overcome by grief?  Whatever the cause she, too, had died before the end of 1889.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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