Obituary of Dr. L.S. Rentz

The obituary of  Lawson S. Rentz (1890-1970) provides a follow-up on this former Ray City, GA resident (see Lawson Rentz Serves Country and Ray City, GA).

Lawson S. Rentz, a son of William P. Rentz and Emmaline Parrish, was born May 15, 1889 in Lowndes County, Georgia. He married Clyde Lee Daniels on June 11, 1913 in Berrien County, Georgia.

Rentz was a First Lieutenant, Medical Corp,  during World War I. He served in the Embarkation Service   at Hoboken, New Jersey and afterward returned home to enter medical practice as one of the  Medical Men of Ray’s Mill.

In the 1920’s, when the marketing of the “American tropics” reached a heyday, Dr. Rentz was swayed to make a trip to Florida.  The dream of paradise in south Florida was the brainchild of  George Edgar Merrick (1886–1942), a real estate developer who is best known as the planner and builder of the city of Coral Gables, Florida in the 1920s, one of the first planned communities in the United States .  George Merrick is also credited with the establishment of the University of Miami in Coral Gables in 1925 with a donation of 600 acres of land and a pledge of $5 million dollars.

One of the 1920’s advertisements read:

Will you take the priceless gift of -LIFE?  Bronzed, erect old men. Women delighting in new cream-and-rose complexions. Round and brown children. Handsome, full-figured youngsters. These are evidences of the extraordinary vitality and superb health that come from living under the tropical skies of Coral Gables. And when you see these people you will believe, as we do, that the only American tropics will add years to your life, and will add new pleasures and delights to each year.

Developers ran steamships and special trains  to bring prospective buyers to south Florida. “If you should take one of these trips, and buy property in Coral Gables, the cost of your transportation will be refunded upon your return.”

The doctor did take a train, and found south Florida quite to his liking; he spent the rest of his life there.  He died March 26, 1970 in Dade County, Florida.


Dr. L.S. RENTZ  – age 80 of Coconut Grove, Fla., died of lung cancer in March of 1970. He had lived Miami for 44 years. A former resident of Nashville and Ray City, Dr. Rentz was lured to Miami by a promotion scheme devised by developer George Merrick, who sent trains up and down the East coast, promising anyone along the way a free trip to Florida in exchange for looking over his properties there.  Dr. Rentz hopped on, and decided to stay.  Survivors, Dr. L.S. Rentz, a pharmacist, lives in Miami; Dr. D. Frank Rentz, an orthodontist, also of Miami; his wife, the former Clyde Lee Daniel; 1 Daughter – Mrs. Annie Laura Carlisle of Cairo, Ga., 2 sisters- Mrs. Effie Griffin of Tampa and Mrs. Arlie Futch of Adel.

Related Post:

Ray City Girls run R-C Motor Lines

In the 1930s,  four Ray City girls, Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal and Carolyn Swindle attended the Ray City School.

Ray City Girls, (L-R) Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, Carolyn Swindle.

Ray City Girls, (L-R) Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, Carolyn Swindle.

Louise Paulk and Helen Swindle were the older girls. They were team mates on the 1934 Ray City School girls basketball team. Grace Putnal and Carolyn Swindle were about five years younger.  Louise,  Helen, and Carolyn all lived within a few doors of each other on west Main Street in Ray City.  Grace lived down Park Street just outside of town.

Louise Paulk, daughter of  Gladys Daniel  and James M. Paulk, was born about 1920 in Irwin County, GA.  Her father died August 23, 1922 leaving Louise, her infant brother and mother on their own.  In 1927, her mother married  E.M. “Hun” Knight, a farmer and sometimes entrepreneur of Ray City, GA.  Hun Knight was a widower with children of his own.  The blended family made their home in Ray City, and Louise attended the Ray City School.  She graduated with the class of 1938.

Helen  Margaret Swindle was born and raised in Ray City, GA.  She was the daughter of George Perry Swindle and Cynthia E. Pafford. Her father was a prominent businessman and employer, operating a general mercantile store.  The Swindle home was on Main Street, and  when Helen was growing up the Swindle family had neighbors like Dr. Lawson S. Rentz, pharmacist C.O. Terry, businessmen W.H.E Terry and Arthur Miller, and Mayor J. Lacy Moore, among others .

Grace Putnal’s parents were Ellen Gaskins and Wayne Putnal. Her father was a farmer and part-time barber of Ray City. Grace and her family have been discussed in this week’s posts (Wayne Putnal ~ Farmer/Barber of Ray City,   Putnal Family ~ Town and Country, Obituary of Leston L. Putnal)

Carolyn S. Swindle was a daughter of Ora Cathleen and Henry Alexander Swindle. Her father was also a successful merchant of Ray City, and her grandfather, Redding Swindle, served as the town’s first mayor.

In the 1940s, the four young women made their way to Jacksonville, Florida. They appear enumerated together in the Florida census of 1945, living in Apartment #1 at 2926 Cook Street, ,  Jacksonville, FL.  All of the girls were working, either clerking or bookkeeping.

Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, and Carolyn Swindle, all raised in Ray City, GA, were enumerated in Jacksonville. FL in the 1945 state census.

Louise Paulk, Helen Swindle, Grace Putnal, and Carolyn Swindle, all raised in Ray City, GA, were enumerated in Jacksonville. FL in the 1945 state census.

At least three of the girls,  Carolyn, Helen, and Grace were working for R C Motor Lines.  R-C Motor lines was a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville. ( You can see additional images of R-C Motor Lines trucks at .  Grace and Carolyn found work there as a bookkeeper,  and Helen was a clerk.  Louise was clerking for another firm.

1950s tractor-trailer rig of R-C Motor Lines, a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville.

1950s tractor-trailer rig of R-C Motor Lines, a large interstate trucking company based in Jacksonville.

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:


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


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


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


  • J. B. S. Blitch – Enigma



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


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


  • 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)


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


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