William Lonnie Royal and the Turkey Heist

William Lonnie Royal  (1897 – 1981)

Lonnie Royal, 1973.

Lonnie Royal, 1973.

William Lonnie Royal was born June 13, 1897, at  Homerville, Clinch County, GA.  He was a son of Gabriel Marion Royal and Vercy Lee Fender. Some time after 1910 his father rented a farm at Ray City, GA and this is where Lonnie grew to be a man.

On June 21, 1917  William  Lonnie Royal married Utha Gertrude Mixon in Berrien, Georgia.  The ceremony was performed by Lyman Franklin Giddens, who was Justice of the Peace at Ray City.  Utha Mixon was a daughter of Mary Elizabeth Clance and William Henry Mixon, of Ray City.

Marriage Certificate of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Berrien County, GA

Marriage Certificate of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Berrien County, GA

When the 1918  WWI draft registration occurred, Lonnie Royal was 21 years old and living and working at Ray City. He was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was working for Daniel Jackson “Jack” Gaskins, a farmer in the Lois District just west of town. He listed Frank Royal, of Ray City, as his next of kin.

In the spring of 1919 Lonnie and Utha, now with an infant son, were trying to make a home. It’s unclear just how Lonnie came to such a desperate state, but  he was charged in a number of thefts in the Ray City vicinity. The first case involved the heist of a turkey, said fowl being the property of a Mr. Connell. A second case involved the burglary of the residence of Lonnie’s employer, Jack Gaskins.  Mr. Connell may have been Clinton D. Connell, who was a neighbor of Jack Gaskins. The disposition of these cases was reported in the Nashville Herald:

April 4, 1919 - Lonnie Royal was convicted of a misdemeanor theft.

April 4, 1919 – Lonnie Royal was convicted of a misdemeanor theft.

“Nashville Herald:  Two of the cases against Lonnie Royals, a young white man living near the Berrien-Lowndes line, were tried.  He was acquitted of stealing Mr. Connell’s turkey, but was convicted of burglarizing the home of Mr. Jack Gaskins.  The jury recommended that he be punished as for a misdemeanor.”

Lonnie was acquitted in the case of the turkey heist, and apparently the jury took pity on him in the burglary case as they recommended sentencing for a misdemeanor crime.

Lonnie and Utha made their home in the Ray City area for many years.

Children of William Lonnie Royal and Utha Gertrude Mixon:

  1. Samuel Clarence Royal, b.  Jul 26 1918, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; married Mary Sue Smith; died  March 4, 2008 Louis Smith Hospital, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia
  2. Clara Mae Royal, b.  Jan 21 1920, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  Dec 25 1923, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia
  3. William Clyde Royal, b.  May 14 1921, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia; married Dora Brown; d.  Feb 27 1997, Columbus, Muscogee, Georgia
  4. Velma Louise Royal, b.  Dec 26 1922, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  Dec 12 1923, New Bethel Cemetery, Berrien, Georgia
  5. Alva Inez ‘Mickie’ Royal, b.  May 03 1924 Ray City, Lanier, Georgia; married 1) Woodard Bailey, 2) Horace L. Grayson; died  Jan 09 2010, Beaumont, Texas
  6. Gola Wylene Royal
  7. Agnes Kathleen Royal, b.  Jul 22 1929, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; m. Dale Wilson; died  Dec 04 1972, Phoenix, Arizona
  8. Jewel Christine Royal, b.  Aug 23 1930, Ray City, Berrien, Georgia; died  May 28 1944, Lakeland, Lanier, Georgia
  9. Gladys Helen Royal, b.  Aug 18 1933, Ray City, Lanier, Georgia; m. Ralph Henderson ; died  July 23, 2006, Bryon, Olmsted, Minnesota

William Lonnie Royal died March 2, 1981 in Berrien County, GA.  He was buried at Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Graves of Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

Graves of Lonnie Royal and Utha Mixon, Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA

 

Images and information on Mixon family history contributed in part by http://royalmixon.tribalpages.com/

1922 Spring Fever Hits Ray City

In these Valdosta Daily Times personal mentions from the spring of 1922, the Ray City news items were mostly about the social activities of the young people of the community.  An interesting note is the  mention of the Ray City Band and the musical troupe’s excursion to Valdosta, GA.

Valdosta Daily Times
April 6, 1922.

RAY CITY ITEMS

    Ray City, Ga., April 5. –Miss Eula Lee Connell and Miss Lilla Gaskins, accompanied by Miss Connell’s parents, spent Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. O. B. Connell, of Valdosta.
    Miss Gola Tom Gaskins was the guest of Miss Gola Flem Gaskins Saturday night and Sunday.  They were accompanied by Mr. Harvey Clements Sunday afternoon for an afternoon ride.
    Mr. Fred Williams was the company of Miss Inez Webb Sunday afternoon.
    Miss Eula Walden spent Sunday with Miss Mae Bowden.
    The Ray City band went to Valdosta Sunday afternoon for a concert with them.
    Mis Beulah Lee spent the weekend with Miss Jennie Watson.
    Miss Gola Tom Gaskins will be the guest of Miss Eula Lee Connell during the week-end of Easter.
    Mr. Grover Combs was a visitor to Miss Minnie Gaskins Saturday afternoon.
    Miss Mary Shaw and Miss Julia McClelland spent Saturday night and Sunday with Miss Mona Strickland.
    Mr. Albert Bradford was a visitor to Miss Rachel Wetherington last Saturday night.
    Mr. Adrian Williams was the visitor of Miss Ethelyn Terry Sunday night.

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Additional Notes

Eighteen year-old Lilla Gaskins, was a daughter of Daniel Jackson Gaskins and Sarah Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gray. The Gaskins made their home on Cat Creek Road in the Lois community. Lilla’s friend and neighbor, Eula Lee Connell, age 14, was a daughter of Clinton D Connell and Reedy M Connell.   That week, Lilla travelled with the Connells to visit their relatives, Mamie and Oscar B. Connell, in Valdosta, GA. Later, Lilla Gaskins would serve as the Berrien County Clerk of the Superior Court.

Another neighbor and cousin was sixteen year old Golie Gaskins, daughter of Mary E. and Flemming B. Gaskins. She was was visiting with another cousin of the same name and age who was the daughter of Linie and William Thomas Gaskins. Their companion was Harvey J. Clements, son of Henry Clements of Ray City.

Vida Inez Webb, of Ray City, was a daughter of James Alford Webb and Pearlie Ann Register. In 1922, she was being courted by Fred S. Williams of Cat Creek. They were married the following year.  Later, Vida Inez Webb married Perry Lee Pittman.

Mae Bowden was a daughter of Ressa and Hayne Bowden. The Bowdens had a home on Main Street in Ray City, where her father was a barber.

Beulah Lee was the 18 year old daughter of Wealthy Mathis and John A. Lee. They lived at Ray City on the  Willacoochee Road, on the farm of Beulah’s brother, Robert E. Lee. She spent the last weekend of March, 1922 with her friend Jennie Watson.  This may have been 18-year-old Jentis Watson, daughter of Samuel I. Watson who had a place on the Ray City & Mud Creek Road.

Miss Minnie Gaskins, another daughter of Daniel J. Gaskins and sister to Lilla Gaskins, was called upon by Grover Cleveland Combs, who would later own a restaurant in Valdosta.

Mona Strickland, 16 year-old daughter of John and Onnie Strickland of the Lois community near Ray City, entertained guests Julia McClelland, of Adel, and Mary Vera Shaw, of Ray City.

Rachel Wetherington was the 15-year-old daughter of Bell and Linton A Wetherington, of Cat Creek. Her visitor was Albert Bradford, a 19-year-old Gaskins cousin, son of the widow Maggie Gaskins Bradford, of Lois. His father, Mack Tally Bradford, died in 1919.

Ethelyn Terry was the 16-year-old daughter of Mary V. and Jack Terry. Her father had a farm on the Valdosta Road at Ray City, near the places of John W. Cowart, Mallie Shaw and Lewis W. Register. Ethelyn’s caller was Herman Adrian Williams of Cat Creek.

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