Feb 4, 1911 Ray’s Mill News Items

Rays Mill news items appearing in the Feb 4, 1911 Valdosta Times were about the business and social scene in the new town.

The Valdosta Times
 Saturday, February 4, 1911, page 7,
Rays Mill News Items

     Mr. A.L. Bridges has moved into his new building here.
     Mr. W. L. Swindle, of Nashville, has accepted a position with his brother, Mr. J.S. Swindle, of this place.
     Miss Leslie Langford returned to Rays Mill Wednesday night from Vidalia.
Mrs. L.  J. Clements is spending a few days in Milltown this week.
    Mr. G. V. Hardee, druggist of this place, moved in his new building Wednesday.
    Mr. I. Burkhalter made a business trip to Nashville Wednesday.
    Mr. Floyd Fender, of Tifton, is visiting Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Fender for a few days.
    Mrs. Baskin, Mrs. Terry, Mrs. Dr. Clements, Miss Fannie Clements and Miss Lessie Carter represented Beaver Dam Missionary Society at the missionary rally in Valdosta last Tuesday, January 31, and lunch was served at the Tabernacle. They report a good meeting, also a pleasant time for all who attended.
    Mr. A. L. Taylor, of Nashville, has bought Mr. J.T. Webb’s store.
    Mr. W. M. Carter, of Rays Mill, visited Tifton last Saturday returning Sunday night.
    Mr. W. H. Terry made a business trip to Valdosta Wednesday.
    Mr. George Norton spent a few days in Macon last week returning Monday night.

Ray City News appeared in The Valdosta Times, Feb 4, 1911.

Ray City News appeared in The Valdosta Times, Feb 4, 1911.

Austin Lawrence Bridges was a merchant from who came to Ray City in 1909 with his bride, Della Pope.  He bought a house on Jones Street and opened a dry goods store.

William Lawrence Swindle was a farmer of the Ray City area and former Sheriff of Berrien County.  He was a brother of James S. Swindle, and son of James Swindle, Pioneer Settler.

Leslie Alma Langford was the daughter of William E. Langford and Mary Virginia Knight, and sister of Luther Etheldred Langford. In 1918 she married Walter Greene Altman. At the time he was a clerk working for Nix & Miller Company, a sawmill in Ray City, GA, but shortly thereafter he became an ice dealer.  Later Walter owned a cafe where Leslie worked as a waitress.

Mrs. L. J. Clements was Eugenia  Watkins Clements, wife of Lucius J. Clements. Her parents were Sarah and Thomas H. Watkins, of Whitesburg, Carroll County, GA.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from La Grange College in 1907.

Gordon Vancie Hardie was a druggist and entrepreneur of Ray City.

Isaac Burkhalter, Jr was born 1863 in Clinch County, GA just weeks before his father, Captain Isaac Burkhalter was killed at Gettysburg. Isaac Burkhalter, the son, made his home at Rays Mill some time before 1900 with his wife, Marentha Sirmans, where he engaged in farming until his death.

Wilson W. Fender was the owner of the Fender Hotel in Ray City.  His wife Lena Fender was in millinery. His eldest son was telephone lineman Floyd Fender, of Tifton, and his younger son’s were Ike and Lutie. Ike Fender was a telephone operator and Lutie Fender was a soda jerk.

The Ladies of the Beaver Dam Missionary Society

  • Mrs. Baskin mentioned in the story could have been one of several Baskin women: Mary Ann Harrell Baskin, second wife of James B. Baskin; her step-daughter, Fannie Ellen Hagan Baskin; or another of the Baskin wives.  The Baskin family  helped found the Baptist Church at Ray City.
  • Mrs. Terry was Nebbie Luckie Terry. She was a daughter of William F. Luckie and wife of W. H. E. Terry, also mentioned in the article.
  • Mrs. Dr. Clements was Pauline Nelson Clements, wife of Dr. Henry Warren Clements. Dr. Clements owned  the second gasoline powered automobile in Berrien County, a Maxwell Doctor’s Roadster.
  • Miss Fannie Lola Clements was a daughter of Martha J. Cements and David C. Clements.
  • Miss Lessie E. Carter was a daughter of Lorenzo D. Carter and Anna Eliza Fender.

Jesse Thomas Webb, who sold his store in Rays Mill, was a son of Mary and John L. Webb, of the Connells Mill District. After selling his store in Rays Mill he moved to Tifton, GA and opened a store there.

William Manson Carter was a son of Lorenzo D. Carter and Anna Eliza Fender, and brother of Lessie E. Carter. In 1917 he worked as a druggist for C. O. Terry.

William Henry Edward Terry came to Ray City about 1910 and built the first brick building in the new town.

Automotive Entrepreneurs in Ray City, GA

Cars began appearing in Ray City and Berrien County, Georgia for the first time in the early 1900’s.  Dr. H. W. Clements was one of the earliest car owners in Berrien County.  With increasing  automobile traffic, Ray City residents were soon turning to businesses that catered to this new locomotion.

Woco Pep was a gasoline brand featured at Fletch and Mac's Garage at Ray City in the 1940s

Woco Pep was a gasoline brand featured at Fletch and Mac’s Garage at Ray City in the 1940s

On June 5, 1917 when registering for the draft for WWI (WWI: Ray City Goes to WarGordon Vancie Hardie was living and working in Ray City, GA.  At that time he listed his occupation as a self-employed “Automobile Repairer”.   In 1920 he and his wife, Addie B. Hardy were living in a house on Jones Street in Ray City, Georgia.  By that time Gordon had expanded his trades. He was the proprietor of a “beef market” which he operated on his own account.  The Gordon meat market was one of two butcher shops among the historic businesses of Ray City appearing in the Census of 1920.

But other Ray City residents were quickly taking up the automotive service trade. Another going concern in 1917 was that of Sutton & Gaskins. Henry C. Sutton was one of the proprietors and also a mechanic; Barney Gordon Shaw was also employed as an automobile mechanic. Harvey Norvell Terry, son of merchant W.H.E. Terry, was also a mechanic. Jessie Everett Anderson was another young man running a garage in Ray City around that time. In the 1920 census Machiel Gallagher, son of Frank Gallagher, gave his occupation as a wage laborer in an automobile shop. Theodore Hinley, son of J.F. Hineley,  worked on his own account as an automobile driver.   Thad L. Lindsey, who resided with his uncle Jasper Nobles in a house on Jones Street,  was the proprietor of a garage. The garage was probably a good complement to his uncle’s livery business.  In fact, automotive service stations of that period were sometimes referred to as the “auto livery.”

Charles A. Cole was the proprietor of another garage in town.  His father, Jasper Cole, was a blacksmith. There was good sense in this business relationship; as cars became more popular, many blacksmiths became automobile mechanics.  The April 1913 issue of  American blacksmith and motor shop, Volume 13 included articles such as “Welding Automobile Springs” and “Three Emergency Automobile Repairs”, as well as “A Scientific Horseshoe.”

By 1925 Gordon V. Hardie had returned to the automotive service industry. He built the first gasoline station in Ray City, GA, a brick building which stood on the south side of Main Street just east of the tracks of the Georgia & Florida railroad and  southeast of the corner of  Main and Paralleled Streets.These automotive entrepreneurs were just a few of the Ray City businesses operating in the town’s boom period of the 1920’s.

By 1930 the Hardie Filling Station had competition in the service station business.  Moses L. Giddens was a garage and station owner, and  Carl F. Murry was  employed at a filling station.  Charlie J. Shaw was a self-employed automobile mechanic.  In the 1930s, the South Georgia Oil Company,  a gas and diesel dealership based out of Tifton, GA, had a location at Ray City.  Among other automotive business firms operated in Ray City in the 1930s were Ray City Service Station, Norton Service Station, Ray City Motor Company,  Colonial Oil Company,  Highway Service Station,  Standard Oil Station,  Shaw’s Garage,  and Swain Garage.   Wilbur Aultman owned a filling station and lunch stand that was destroyed by fire in 1937.

The census of 1940 shows  Levi J. Futch, Arthur A. Carlson, Willie Wright Ware, and J. B. McSwain all were working as  automobile mechanics.  Herman B. Guthrie was a gasoline station operator, and George Emory Swindle, a son of L.C. Swindle, was an automobile salesman.

In 1945, J. B. “Mac” McSwain went into partnership with D.L. Fletcher to open Fletch and Mac’s Garage in Ray City, GA. Among the products featured at the new service station were Woco Pep gasoline and Tiolene Motor Oil.

1949 Georgia Map, Standard Oil Company

1949 Georgia Map, Standard Oil Company, featured “Okefenokee Swamp Park, near Waycross, Georgia” on the cover.

Related posts:

Fletch and Mac’s Garage Opens at Ray City

Dr. H.W. Clements and the Doctor’s Roadster

Lakeland Newlyweds Killed in Auto Smashup at Ray City

Hilda Clements,  daughter of Mary Pauline Nelson and Dr. Henry Warren Clements, and her husband William T. Simpson were killed in an automobile accident at a bridge near Ray City, on December 21, 1941.  Hilda Clements was a music teacher at the grammar school at Nashville, GA.

The following report appeared in the Atlanta Constitution:

Lakeland Newlyweds Killed in Auto Smashup

    ADEL, Ga.,  Dec. 21. -(/P)- A newly married couple, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Simpson, of Lakeland, was killed early today when an automobile crashed into a bridge near Ray City. Both were 21.
    The Simpsons, married less than a month, had come to Adel to attend a wedding Saturday afternoon. They were en route home at the time of the accident.
    Mrs. Simpson, who graduated from Bessie Tift  College last summer, was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs.  H.W. Clements. Dr. Clements is a member of the State Board of Health.

Related posts:

For more Clements family history and the history of Ray City, GA  see www.raycity.pbworks.com

Dr. H.W. Clements and the Doctor’s Roadster

Henry Warren Clements, M.D.  (1877-1952)

Henry W. Clements was a Physician who lived and practiced in Ray City, Georgia during the early days of the town.  He was one of the many Medical Men of Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), who served the community over the years.

Henry W. Clements went into medical practice  for a short time in Rays Mill, GA after graduating from the Medical College of Georgia in 1900.  A clipping from the Tifton Gazette shows he soon moved to Hahira, and in 1901 he moved again to Lenox, GA

Dr. Henry W. Clements moves to Lenox, GA

Dr. Henry W. Clements moves to Lenox, GA. Tifton Gazette, Feb. 22, 1901

Advertisment of Dr. H. W. Clements, Physician and Surgeon. Tifton Gazette, Mar. 25, 1904.

Advertisment of Dr. H. W. Clements, Physician and Surgeon. Tifton Gazette, Mar. 25, 1904.

In 1908 Dr. Clements was admitted to the Medical Association of Georgia. The Census of 1910 places him in Lenox, GA, but newspaper mentions show he and his wife, Pauline Nelson Clements, were back in Ray City by early 1911.  Dr. Clements was a self-employed physician in general practice in Ray City.  His bookkeeper was Robert Tombs Harrell and he also employed Floyd Lafayette Blanton in farming. According to the 1920 Census, Dr. Clements owned a home in Ray City on North Street, next door to his father, Levi J. Clements.

 Dr. Clements practiced in Hahira, Lenox, and Ray City until the early 1920’s.  Transportation for these years was by horse and buggy and his stable full of horses is well known.  Prior to World War I, the second gas vehicle in Berrien County was a  Maxwell proudly owned by Dr. Clements.

The Maxwell Motor Company produced a model called the Doctor’s Roadster, marketed especially to medical men, as seen in this advertisement from The Medical World magazine.

W.P. Tittle & Co., a Nashville, GA firm from 1911 to around 1925, was the first automobile dealer in Berrien County and handled the Maxwell line of cars. The firm was owned by  W.P. Tittle, C.G. Starling, and D.D. Tittle.

With the growing popularity of the automobile, Dr. Clements found that in addition to treating the sick and delivering babies,  he was now treating accident victims.  In 1923 when his cousin, Homer Clements, broke an arm while hand cranking his car, Dr. Clements may have set the “Ford Fracture.”

Dr. H.W. Clements lived in Ray City, GA and kept his medical practice there until he moved to Adel, GA in 1922.  Adel is just 10 miles west of Ray City;  Homer could have made the trip in 1923 to get his arm treated.

On the night of January 17, 1929 Dr. Clements was called for an emergency response when Rema Sirmans was ejected from a Ford roadster in a one car accident near Sparks, Ga. No doubt, Dr. Clements treated many other automobile accident victims over the years.

Tragically, his own daughter, Hilda Clements, and son-in-law would be killed in an automobile accident at a bridge near Ray City, on December 21, 1941.

Children of Henry W. Clements and Mary Pauline Nelson (1881 – 1954):

  1. Henry G. Clements 1903 – 1948
  2. Harvey J Clements 1905 – 1927
  3. Jaunita P Clements 1913 –
  4. Fred Nelson Clements 1918 – 1987
  5. Hilda Clements 1921 – 1941

Related posts:

Homer Clements and the Ford Fracture

For more on Ray City History and the Clements family, see http://raycity.pbworks.com/

 News Items From Ray City
Nashville Herald, Feb 16, 1923

Mr. Homer Clements got his arm broken Friday while cranking his Ford.[1]

  Early Ford automobiles didn’t have a starter like modern cars. The engine on the Model T was started with a hand crank on the front of the car.  A wire loop near the radiator worked the choke on the carburetor to give the engine extra fuel to help start it when it was cold. This could be dangerous if a person was not careful. If the levers that controlled the engine were not set the right way, especially the spark control, a “backfire” could result, causing the engine and the crank handle to violently spin the wrong way. Many people got broken arms this way.  Doctors even had a special name for this kind of break: the “Ford Fracture.” 

Did Homer Clements seek treatment from his cousin, Dr. Henry W. Clements?  Maybe.  Dr. H.W. Clements lived in Ray City, GA and kept his medical practice there until he moved to Adel, GA in 1922.  Adel is just 10 miles west of Ray City;  Homer could have made the trip in 1923 to get his arm treated.

Related posts: