Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements (1858-1951)

Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements,  matriarch of the sawmill family of Ray City, died in 1951. She was the widow of Levi J. Clements and  a daughter of William and Elizabeth Register Patten.   In the early 1920s the Clements Lumber Company  was the largest business in Ray City, GA.

Obituary of Roena Patten Clements.

Obituary of Roena Patten Clements.

Valdosta Times
Friday, February 2, 1951

DEATH CLAIMS MRS. CLEMENTS OF RAY CITY

Mrs. Levie J. Rhoena Clements, 93, passed away at her home in Ray City this morning about 10 o’clock. Funeral services will be held at New Ramey Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City at 3 p. m. Saturday. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Lillie Gaskins, five sons, Dr. H. W. Clements, Adel; J. L. Clements, Fort Meade, Fla; W. G. Clements, Ebb, Fla; and J. I and J. S. Clements of Ray City.  Twenty grand children and 28 great-grandchildren also survive. Mrs. Clements was born in Berrien county and was a resident of that section all her life. Pallbearers will be the grandsons. Elder Marcus Peavy, pastor at Ray City, will conduct the services.  He will be assisted by the Rev. John W. Harrell, pastor of the Ray City Baptist Church. Wiseman Funeral Home, Adel, will direct the arrangements.

Funeral of Roena Patten Clements was held Saturday, February 3, 1951 at New Ramah Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

Funeral of Roena Patten Clements was held Saturday, February 3, 1951 at New Ramah Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

Mrs. Clements Is Laid To Rest

     Funeral services for Mrs. Rhoena Clements were held Saturday at 3 p. m. at the New Ramah Baptist Church.  Services were conducted by Elder M. C. Peavey and the Rev. John W. Harrell.
Mrs. Clements died Friday morning after an illness of several months.  She was a member of an old and prominent Ray City family.
Amazing Grace and I’m Going Home were sung by a mixed choir.  Interment was in the churchyard cemetery.
Active pallbearers were Donald Clements, Hugh Clements, Mason Clements, Kief Clements, J. I. Clements, Jr., Ralph Clements, Austin Clements and Dr. Fred C. Clements.
Honorary pallbearers were H. P. Clements, J. H. Swindle, Y. F. Carter, L. H. Webb, W. A. Clements, P. N. Sirmans, R. P. Swindle, C. W. Schmoe, Morris Johnson and H. W. Nelson.

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Children of Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements and Levi J. Clements:

  1. Henry W. Clements, M.D.,   b. 1877, Ray City, Berrien Co., GA ,   d. 6 Feb 1952
  2. Lucille “Lillie” Clements,   b. 17 Feb 1879, Berrien County, GA,   d. 25 Apr 1967
  3. Lucius Jordan Clements,   b. 26 Dec 1880, Berrien County, GA ,   d. 20 Dec 1965, Ft. Meade, Polk County, FL
  4. Pearle E. Clements,   b. 6 Oct 1882, Berrien County, GA,   d. 9 Sep 1904
  5. William Grover “Bill” Clements,   b. 1 Oct 1884, Ray City Berrien Co., GA ,   d. 30 Jul 1984, Cross City, Dixie County, FL
  6. Joseph S. Clements,   b. 14 Aug 1886, Berrien County, GA,   d. 23 Aug 1963, Berrien County, GA
  7. James Irwin Clements,   b. 14 Aug 1886, Berrien County, GA,   d. 9 Feb 1965, Berrien County, GA

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Ray City Citizens Fought Creation of Lanier County

In August 1919, the General Assembly of Georgia passed an act to place an amendment to the Georgia Constitution creating Lanier County on the ballot  for the November 1920 general elections.  But in 1920,  as the election approached, there was strenuous objection from the Ray City area.  Many citizens who were well associated with the history of Ray City found that their property would be on the Lanier side of the new county line, including such family  names as Giddens, Clements, Swindle, Sirmans and others.  Desiring to remain in Berrien county, these land owners, led by A.W. Gaskins, filed a motion with the courts to stop the vote on the constitutional amendment that would create the new county.

Atlanta Constitution
Sep 2, 1920

COURT IS ASKED TO BAR CREATION OF LANIER COUNTY

     Hearing on a permanent injunction brought by citizens of Berrien county to restrain Governor Dorsey from advertizing, as required by law, the proposed constitutional amendment creating the new county of Lanier, was set for September 11, in the Fulton superior court, by Judge John D. Humphries, following a short hearing on a temporary injunction on the same petition, which was denied by Judge Humphries.
     The bill was filed by Attorneys R.A. Hendricks, James A. Alexander and W.D. Biue, of Berrien county, and Bryan and Middlebrooks, of Atlanta. The petitioning citizens are as follows:
     A.U. Gaskins, A.H. Giddens, H.C. Clements, R.D. Swindle, John Sirmans, Raygood Lankford, S.S. Watson, L.S. Sirmans, Mrs. Rachel Postick, W.L. Rouse, John C. Sirmans, J.B. Baskins, J.W. Bloodworth, J.J. Porke, Leo Griner, J.H.Patten. S.H. Winderweedles, W.C. Johnson, Mrs. Martha Clements, A.J. Clements, Levi J. Clements, L. J. Clements, Jr., Bud Watson, Bryant Avers, J. L. Lee, Jasper J. Cook, L.S. Simms, J.H. Clements, J. P. Watson, D. Harrell, R.S. Johnson and John Boyett.
     This action was taken to prevent the submission to the voters in the general election in November of the question of the creation of Lanier county, and the petition asks that Governor Dorsey be enjoined from issuing a proclamation authorizing the vote, and that Secretary of State S. Guyt McLendon be restrained from announcing the result of any vote on the question; and that the state superintendent of printing be restrained from printing a proclamation by the governor.
     The petitioners claim that the promoters of Lanier county made a written and signed agreement with the affected property owners of Berrien county as to the part of Berrien county that would be in Lanier county; that the agreement was violated without their knowledge and consent, so that 9,540 additional acres of land, valued at $150,000, was taken into the county. The petitioning citizens represent this extra land, and declare that they did not want to be taken into the new county.

The petitioners request for an injunction was denied. They appealed all the way to the Georgia Supreme court where they lost in the case of  GASKINS et al v. DORSEY, Governor, et al.  The  Amendment issue went ahead in November, and the constitutional amendment to create Lanier county was passed by the voters.

The petitioners, this time led by Dr. H.W. Clements,  then filed  for an injunction to stop the first election of officers in the newly created county, but that too, failed.   While Clements and others appealed to a higher court, the election was held as scheduled on  the first Wednesday in December 1920.

Not to be deterred, Dr. Clements and others again pursued the appeal of two cases all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court, CLEMENTS el al v. WILKERSON et al  and CLEMEMENTS et al v. ANDERSON et al, in an attempt to nullify the creation of the new county.

But in the end the Georgia Supreme court ruled that any decision was moot since the election  of  county officers had already been held and the case was dismissed.

All challenges aside, Georgia voters approved the constitutional amendment on Nov. 2, 1920, which marks the official date of the creation of Lanier County.

Related posts:

Ray City/Adel Boys Wreck Automobile Near Sparks, GA

Rema Sirmans

Dr. H.W. Clements, subject of previous posts, treated other auto accident victims. When Rema Sirmans, a young man of Ray City, GA was injured in an automobile accident near Sparks, Ga.  The Jan 17, 1929 edition of the Nashville Herald reported the following:

 Boys Wreck Automobile Sunday Near Sparks

In an automobile wreck that occurred a few miles west of Sparks Sunday night about ten o’clock Mr. Rema Sirmans of Ray City received a broken nose and severe gashes about the face and Andrew Ellis owner of the car received a cut on his right arm. Both gentlemen required medical attention, which was furnished by Dr. Clements of Adel who was called to the scene of the  accident.

 The boys were said to be coming into Sparks and upon attempting to make a curve the car, a Ford roadster turned into the ditch and struck a pine tree and Mr. Sirmans was thrown out through the windshield, and his face struck the tree and for several minutes was rendered semi-conscious.  Dr. Clements was called to the scene of the accident and the boys were carried to Adel where their wounds were attended to. The car was badly damaged. 

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

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.

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

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.

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Lawson Rentz Serves Country and Ray City, GA

According to his WWI draft card Lawson Rentz entered the service as a tall and slender young man with grey eyes and dark hair. He listed a wife and two children as dependents. (see also Obituary of Dr. L.S. Rentz) During World War I Lieutenant Rentz, of Ray City, GA, served in the Embarkation Service at Hoboken, New Jersey.

Among the hundreds of names reported in “Army Orders and Assignments” for March 28, 1918,  The New York Times listed L.S. Rentz, First lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corp, as assigned to Camp Wheeler, GA. The same was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, April 6, 1918, Volume 70, Number 14, pg 1010:

ORDERS TO OFFICERS OF THE MEDICAL RESERVE CORPS

To Camp Wheeler, Macon, Ga.. base hospital, Lieuts. JAMES H. NICHOLSON, Madison; LAWSON S. RENTZ, Ray City.

He was listed on the Roster of Officers of the Office of the Surgeon, Port of Embarkation, at Midnight, October 31, 1918:  Rentz, Lawson S.- first lieutenant, Medical Corp.

 The men of the Embarkation Service, from Major Gen. Shanks and Brigadier Gen. McManus down to the soldiers who guard the gates to the piers, are slow to admit that they have played a great part in the war, but they cheerfully admit that they got no nearer the fighting front than the gangway of a transport.

“The work had to be done by somebody, I suppose,” said Captain King W. Snell, aide to Gen. McManus, who is troop movement officer. “Otherwise the 1.795.411 officers, men and nurses shipped to France by the Embarkation Service might still be waiting for transportation. But hell, who wants to be interned in Hoboken when the main show is three or four thousand miles away? It was like standing outside the big tent and punching tickets to a three-ringed circus. We worked like dogs and never got a chance to see the main performance.”

 The war record of the Embarkation Service is something one seldom hears about. The names of its members seldom got into the papers, they never killed Germans, no brilliant war medals dangled from their obscure bosoms and they wore silver chevrons.

The silver chevrons denoted service on American soil. Gold chevrons were for men who served overseas, worn on the left cuff to denote overseas service, or on the right to indicate a wound or gassing received in combat.  For many who did stateside service the silver chevrons became a badge of shame.

Captain Albert L. Stillman expressed the diffidence in a poem published in the New York Times on January 2, 1919:

 “Darling, here’s your warrior bold!
Silver stripes instead of gold
Shine upon his sleeve today
‘Cause he couldn’t sail away.”

“But, my darling, don’t you bleat-
No one thinks you have cold feet!
Y’ had to do as you were told-
Silver stripes instead of gold”

Silver stripes notwithstanding,  after the war Lieutentant Rentz returned home to Ray City, Georgia to become Doctor Rentz. According to the 1920 census, Dr. Lawson S. Rentz purchased a home on Main Street, Ray City, GA  and joined the Medical Men of Ray’s Mill. His neighbors were Carlos C. Allen and G. Perry Swindle. Lawson’s brother, Dr. William Carl Rentz had a medical practice in Nashville, GA.

Lawson Rentz put his hat in the ring to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Ray City School, but was not elected to the position.

The Nashville Herald,
January 9, 1920

Local News

      The election for school trustees at Ray City occurred Monday, and resulted as follows:  R.D. Swindle, 71; Dr. H.W. Clements, 71; J.J. Parks, 69.  W.M. Creech holds over, and together with the foregoing gentlemen, will compose the Board of Trustees for the ensuing year.  Joe Parrish received 5 votes, J.H. Swindle 13 and Dr. Rentz 18.  This election probably settles the school fight in that growing little city.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

In 1923, Dr. Rentz was still practicing medicine in Ray City and his brother, Dr. W.C. Rentz was still in Nashville.

News Items from Ray City

Nashville Herald, Feb 8, 1923

Mrs. J.H. Swindle and Mrs. L. S. Rentz have been constantly at the bedside of their little niece, Hilca Sykes of Nashville who has been very ill for the past week. However, we are glad to say she is much improved.

Dr. Lawson Rentz and his brother Dr. William Carl Rentz  later relocated their families to  Dade County, Florida.

Related Posts:

Levi J. Clements

Levi J. Clements 1851-1924, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

In the 1920s, Levi J. Clements and  wife Roena (or Rowena) had moved to a house on North Street in Ray City, GA, probably to be closer to the Clements sawmill. The mill was located between North Street and the tracks of the Georgia and Florida Railroad.  The Clements were surrounded by their family. Their son, Dr. Henry Clements, had the home next door, and on the other side was the home of their son Lucius, who was General Manager at the sawmill.   Irwin Clements and his wife, Annie, and Joe Clements and his family (wife Effie, and daughter Camille) lived with Levi and Rowena. Irwin Clements was a manager at the mill, and Joe was treasurer.  Levi’s grandson, Leland Gaskins, lived in the big house as well.

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Mr. Clements died April 25,  1924. He and his wife are buried in New Ramah Primitive Baptist cemetery.

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Medical Men of Ray’s Mill

Medical Men of Rays Mill and Berrien County

John Thomas Clower (1830 – 1893)

On this date, May 13, in the year 1830, John Thomas Clower was born, the son of a Revolutionary Soldier who immigrated from Germany to fight for American independence. As a young man, John Thomas Clower attended medical school in Atlanta. He served as a military surgeon during the  Civil War. Afterwards he came to Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), GA where he practiced medicine in the community from 1870 until 1887.

Over the years many other professional doctors practiced in Ray City, GA. Ray City and Berrien County were also served by informal practitioners of healing.

The Medical Men of Ray City, GA

Other Medical Men of Berrien County according to the Transactions of the Medical Association of Georgia:

ADEL, GA

  • C. C. Giddens – Adel, GA (MAG, 1908)

ALAPAHA, GA

  • W. A. Moore – Alapaha, GA (MAG, 1906)
  • R. T. Kendrick – Alapaha, GA  (MAG, 1891)
  • G. A. Paulk – Alapaha, GA

CECIL, GA

  • W. P. Lovvorn – Cecil, GA (MAG, 1902)
  • F. W. Schnauss – Cecil, GA (MAG, 1907)

ENIGMA, GA

  • J. B. S. Blitch – Enigma

FRANKLINVILLE

LENNOX, GA

  • W. M.  Clements – Lennox, GA
  • M. L. Webb – Lennox, GA (MAG, 1910)

MILLTOWN (Now LAKELAND), GA

  • W. L Patten – Milltown, GA  (MAG, 1895)
  • J. V. Talley  – Milltown, GA  (MAG, 1908)
  • Louis Smith – Milltown, GA (MAG, 1908)
  • Dr. James W. Talley

NASHVILLE, GA

  • L. A. Carter – Nashville, GA  (MAG, 1905)
  • F. P. Key – Nashville, GA (MAG, 1906)
  • J. A. Ward – Nashville, GA
  • Pleasant H. Askew – Nashville, GA (MAG, 1906)
  • H.M. Talley – Nashville ((MAG, 1875)

SPARKS, GA

  • S. G. Etheridge – Sparks, GA (MAG, 1906)
  • L. B. Lovett – Sparks, GA (MAG, 1908)
  • W. M. Shepard – Sparks, GA

TIFTON, GA

  • W. H. Hendricks – Tifton, GA (MAG, 1903)
  • A. P. Hunter – Tifton, GA (MAG, 1900)
  • A. or N. Peterson – Tifton (MAG, 1897)