More Ray City Women of G.S.W.C

West Hall, Georgia State Womans College, 1945

West Hall, Georgia State Womans College, 1945

From 1922 to 1950 the state college in Valdosta, GA was known as Georgia State Womans College (now know as Valdosta State University”.  A number of Ray City women who attended the college during this period were featured in a previous post. Here are a few more who appeared in available yearbooks:

Doris and Dot Boyette were daughters of Eddie D. Boyette  and Mattie Deen Boyette. Their home was in Lanier County, just east of Ray City.

Doris Boyett, of Ray City, GA at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA

Doris Boyett, of Ray City, GA, 1942 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA

Dorothy Boyette

Dorothy Boyett, of Ray City, GA at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA

Dorothy Boyett, of Ray City, GA. 1945 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA

Carolyn DeVane was a daughter of Caulie A Devane and Alma L. Albritton. She grew up in the Lois community just west of Ray City, GA.

Carolyn DeVane, 1945, Freshman

Carolyn DeVane, 1945, Freshman

Marian Hambrick, sister of Thera Hambrick, was a daughter of Ruth and John O. Hambrick. Her family’s place was in the Cat Creek community, just southwest of Ray City.

Marian Hambrick, 1941, Freshman

Marian Hambrick, 1941, Freshman

 

Louise Paulk was a daughter of  Gladys Daniels and James M. Paulk. Her father died when she was a toddler and her mother remarried Hun Knight. Her step-father was the owner of the Mayhaw Lake amusement park at Ray City.  Her half-brother was Jack Knight, who attended college at Valdosta after the school went co-educational.

Louise Paulk, 1939, GSWC

Louise Paulk, 1939, GSWC

Marilyn Faye Weaver was a daughter of John W. Weaver and Irene Guthrie. The Weaver farm was just east of Ray City in the 1300 Georgia Militia District in Lanier County, GA.

1949-marilyn-weaver-GSWC

Marilyn Weaver, 1949, freshman at Georgia State Womans College.

Related Posts

Jack Knight, Valdosta State Slugger

Jack Knight (March 2, 1934 – November 28, 2009)

As a young man, Judge William Daniel “Jack” Knight was among the hometown athletes of Ray City, GA. He was , son of Elias M. “Hun” Knight and Gladys Daniel Knight.

Jack Knight, Class of 1951, Ray City School, Ray City, GA

Jack Knight was raised at Ray City, GA where he attended the Ray City public schools. His father built the Mayhaw Lake Resort in 1914 and was a farmer and businessman of Ray City. Jack graduated with the Ray City High School class of 1951.  He continued his education at Valdosta State College. He excelled at sports in high school and college; he was the leading scorer for the Ray City Beavers basketball team, and was a member of the first baseball team ever fielded by Valdosta State College.

1950-51 Beavers, Ray City School boys basketball team, Ray City, GA

Jack Knight with the 1950-51 Beavers, Ray City School boys basketball team, Ray City, GA. Team mates at Ray City included Billy Moore, Wendell Clements, Curtis Skinner, James Walter Temples, Jimmy Gaskins, Murray Comer, Thomas Studstill, Charles Scarboro, Robert Conner Jimmy Grissett, Talton Rouse, and Junior Cornelius.

Jack graduated from VSC with a Bachelor of Science degree, and went on to the University of Georgia Law School where he received his L. L. B. degree.  He practiced law in Nashville, Georgia.  He served as a Ray City Councilman, State Representative, and as a judge of the Superior Courts of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, 1977-1996.

Jack Knight on the 1955 Valdosta State College baseball team.

Jack Knight played on the 1955 Valdosta State College baseball team.  The VSC Rebel Diamondmen included Jack Knight and Murray Comer of Ray City, GA, Sam McGowen, Buck Pafford, Ashley Hill, Jack Bates, Ed Deaton, John Mobley, Gene Gray, Robert McElvey, Milton Blaine, Bob Green, Noel George, Coach Cottingham.

The Valdosta State College baseball team, under the coaching of Walter Cottingham, showed up very well under fire last year.  VSC is entering its second year of intercollegiate baseball competition and has become affiliated with the Georgia Intercollegiate Baseball Conference. A total of eighteen games are scheduled for this season. Victory may not be certain but excitement is!  – 1955 VSC Pinecone

°°°°°°°

SAVE THE DATE!

Many interesting sports stories are coming to light as the Berrien County Historical Foundation prepares for an exhibit on  Hometown Teams, A Smithsonian Exhibit. The Hometown Teams Exhibit opens August 13 – September 24, 2016, at the Nashville Community Center, Nashville, GA.

berrien-hometown-teams-b

Related Posts:

 

Berrien County Cadets and Coeds at Georgia’s “West Point”

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1891. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1891. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

For over 125 years  “Georgia’s ‘West Point’” has been a college destination of choice for students of Berrien County, GA.

North Georgia Agricultural College (now known as the University of North Georgia), at Dahlonega, GA was founded in 1873 as a military academy  where military duty was obligatory for all male students over the age of 15. Cadets at the college drilled daily in artillery, infantry and other exercises.

1893-north-georgia-college-ad_tifton-gazette

1893 Tifton Gazette advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

The school’s 1938 Undergraduate Bulletin noted:

North Georgia College was originally organized and administered on a military basis which system has prevailed from the date of its founding. The college has been classified by the United States Government as an “essentially military college,” being one of eight colleges in the United States so designated. It is the only one in Georgia, and, since “essentially military colleges” endeavor to emulate the traditions of West Point, North Georgia College has well been called “Georgia’s ‘West Point.’” General Robert Lee Bullard, formerly Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science and Tactics, referred to the college as one of the two finest military schools in the country.

1910 Valdosta Times advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

1910 Valdosta Times advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

Among those from Ray City who served in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia  were Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953), Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966); William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000); James Arthur Grissett (1932-2010), and Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014).

Other cadets and coeds from Nashville, Berrien County, GA were:

  • W. M. Giddens, who pursued a business degree at North Georgia in 1898;
  • Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966), brother of E. M. “Hun” Knight, was a sub-freshman in 1898; became a pharmacist in Nashville, GA; later moved to Atlanta, then Palm Beach, FL.
  • Alvah William Gaskins, (1885-1934) merchant of Nashville, GA, graduated from North Georgia Agricultural College in 1907; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Archie Wardlaw Starling,  1922 sophomore cadet at NGC. Later served as editor of the Nashville Herald; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • William Lawton Clyatt, (1902-1987), of Nashville, was in the preparatory program in 1923; buried Old Providence Cemetery, Union County, FL
  • Robert Felton Bullard, (1908-1969) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later served as Director of the Southeast Region for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Junius Vanvechton Talley, (1907-1963) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later elected mayor of Nashville, GA; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  •  John Parrish Knight; sophomore in 1925 was seeking a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
  • Charles Verne Parham and William Lamar Parham (1907-1932) were brothers  attending North Georgia College in 1925, Verne as a senior cadet and Lamar as a freshman. Lamar was killed in a plane crash at Randolph Field, TX in 1932.
  • Wilmot Earle Bulloch, graduated in 1928 with a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
  • Marion June Akins, 1929 NGC freshman cadet, was seeking his bachelors degree;
  • Shelby Jackson Morris was a freshman cadet and tackle on the 1930 North Georgia football team;
  • Wilson Connell entered North Georgia as College as a freshman cadet in 1937 and served in the military during WWII;
  • Marie Sirmans, a 1938 freshman coed at North Georgia College;
  • John Franklin Miller, (1921-1999),  a freshman cadet in 1939; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Donald Rowan, (1920-2006)  1939 sophomore at NGC, was a grandson of Lucius Galveston Outlaw and Della Sutton Outlaw ; joined the Army Air Corps  and was assigned duty in the Hawaiian Islands for the duration of WWII;
  • Walter W. “Buddy” Dickson, (1920-1997) in the NGC Corps of Cadets in 1939 and served in the Army Air Corps during WWII; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Donald Willis, (1921-1981) was a resident of Nashville, GA when he entered the Corp of Cadets  at NGC in 1940; served in the Army during WWII; buried Oak Ridge Cemetery, Tifton, GA.
  • Jamie Connell, (1920-1973) graduated  from NGC and enlisted in the Army in 1943, becoming a navigator-bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII;
  • John David Luke, (1921-2004) 1940 sophomore cadet, North Georgia College;  In WWII served in the U.S. Army Air Corp, P-40 Pilot Instructor, Luke Field, Arizona; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • William Henry Mathis, (1922-1993) of Nashville, GA. 1940 Freshman, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Edison “Eddie” Brodgon, (1918-1984), of Alapaha, GA was an NGC  sophomore cadet in 1940 – Enlisted in the Army, July 18, 1941; buried Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, Berrien County, GA
  • George W. Chism, of Nashville, GA. 1940 freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
  • Donald Keefe,  of Nashville, GA; son of turpentine operator Roland E. Keefe; 1941 sophomore cadet at North Georgia College; joined the Army Air Corps and served in Europe; died in France during WWII.
  • Jacob Jackson “Jack” Rutherford, (1924-2004), a 1942 NGC freshman Cadet. Served in the Army in WWII; buried at Douglas City Cemetery, Douglas, GA.
  • William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000),  born  in Ray City, GA; moved to Nashville, GA as a boy; 1942 Freshman cadet at North Georgia College; flew with the 390th bomber squadron during WWII; flew in the Berlin airlift, 1949; career Air Force officer; ret. 1973; buried Alabama Heritage Cemetery, Montgomery, AL.
  • William D. Alexander,   of Nashville, GA. 1942, Freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
  • Bill Roquemore (1923-1997),  of Nashville, GA. 1942, sophomore cadet at North Georgia College. Enlisted in the Army in 1943; Served in WWII as a Martin B-26 bomber pilot; married Nell Patten; operated Patten Seed company in Lakeland, GA. Later mayor of Lakeland; buried City Cemetery, Lakeland, GA.
  • James A. Grissett (1932-2010); born and raised in Ray City, GA; 1951  Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; later received a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech.
  • Joe D. Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA; North Georgia College cadet 1949-1953; joined the Army after graduation; later moved to Rome, GA.
Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight grew up in Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA and attended North Georgia College in the 1880s (photographed 1902).

 

James A. Grissett, 1951, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College

James A. Grissett, 1951, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College

 

Joe Donald Clements, 1931-2014

Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA. 1953 Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell, of Nashville, GA. 1940 sophomore at North Georgia College

Jamie Connell, of Nashville, GA. 1940 sophomore at North Georgia College.

 

 

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James Dewey Calhoun and Mary Elizabeth Brogdon

James Dewey Calhoun was born about 1904 near Ray City, GA.  His grave marker in Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA gives his birth date as June 22, 1904, but his Social Security records listed his date of birth as June 22, 1901.  Census records place his date of birth variously at about 1902, 1904, or 1907.  Based on the research of family members, the 1901 date is probably the most accurate.  He was a son of Samuel Augustus Calhoun and Rachel Bullard, and a brother of Joseph Burton Calhoun. The image detail below, of James Dewey Calhoun and his father,  is believed to date from around 1907.

James Dewey Calhoun as a young boy with his father, Samuel Augustus "Gus" Calhoun. Image detail courtesy of Mitchell Calhoun.

James Dewey Calhoun as a young boy with his father, Samuel Augustus “Gus” Calhoun. Image detail courtesy of Mitchell Calhoun.

James Dewey Calhoun first appears in the census records in 1910, enumerated as “Dewey.”  He was one of nine children in his parent’s household at Ray City, GA. Samuel’s mother was Rachel Bullard Calhoun, a daughter of  Luvellia Ray and Mack Bullard.

1910 census enumeration of James Dewey Calhoun

1910 census enumeration of James Dewey Calhoun

https://archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po172unit#page/n640/mode/1up

In the 1920s the Calhouns were living  at Ray City, GA  where Dewey’s father rented a place on the Valdosta & Ray City Road. Dewey had a common school education, but by age 12  he was working on the Calhoun farm assisting his father with farm labor along with his brothers. Just around the corner from the Calhoun place was the farm of Elias M. “Hun” Knight, businessman of Ray City and owner of the Mayhaw Lake Resort.

1920-census-james-dewey-calhoun

https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu235unit#page/n312/mode/1up

James Dewey Calhoun married Mary Elizabeth Brogdon on Saturday, November 24, 1928 in Berrien County, GA.  The ceremony was performed by John G. Hall, Justice of the Peace. Dewey was 21 and Mary was 18 at the time of their marriage. She was a daughter of Thomas Brogdon and Blancett Swilley. Like Dewey, she had a common school education through 7th grade.

Marriage certificate of J. D. Calhoun and Mary Brogdon, November 24, 1928, Berrien County, Georgia

Marriage certificate of J. D. Calhoun and Mary Brogdon, November 24, 1928, Berrien County, Georgia

After marriage Dewey and Mary Calhoun made their home in the Lois precinct of the 1329 Georgia Militia District (Connell’s Mill District), where they began raising crops and children.  Dewey rented a farm next door to the 260 acre farm of Minerva Futch and John L. Allen.   The Allen place (formerly the farm of Jehu Patten) was on  land Lot  454 of the 10th land district (see map), located just southwest of Ray City, near the farms of  Francis Marion Shaw,  Lacy Shaw, and Jesse Shelby Shaw (see http://www.audubon4tet.com/FMS/21_John_Levi_Allen.pdf).  Lon Fender, one of the big timber men  and turpentine operators of the Wiregrass, was also renting a farm nearby.   The census taker who visited the Calhoun family to take their enumeration in 1930 was Perry Lee Pittman.

 

1930 census enumeration of James Dewey Calhoun

1930 census enumeration of James Dewey Calhoun

https://archive.org/stream/georgiacensus00reel338#page/n512/mode/1up

By the 1940s Dewey and Mary had moved their family to Alapha, GA where they rented a home on “Nashville and Nashville” road for $5.00 a month.

1910 census enumeration of James Dewey Calhoun

1940 census enumeration of James Dewey Calhoun

The employment data from the 1940 census shows Dewey was working 24 hours a week for the WPA while Mary kept home and the children attended school. In late 1938 the Work Projects Administration (WPA) began construction of a gymnasium for the public school in Alapaha, GA.

The Work Projects Administration was one of FDR’s New Deal programs, and the census asked if anyone in the household during the week of March 24–30, 1940, was at work on, or assigned to, public emergency work projects conducted by the WPA, the NYA, the CCC, or state or local work relief agencies. The WPA, established May 6, 1935, developed programs to move unemployed workers from relief to jobs. The WPA workers, among other things, rebuilt the national infrastructure, wrote guides to the 48 states, worked in the arts and theater, and assisted with disaster relief. The NYA, established under the WPA, gave part-time jobs to high school and college students to earn money to continue their education. The CCC, created March 31, 1933, employed men aged 18–25 in conservation work in the national parks and forests. http://1940census.archives.gov/about/

Other Work Projects Administration (WPA) projects in Berrien county include an annex added to the west side of the Berrien County Courthouse in 1938. In 1940, WPA workers assisted with the construction of the lunchroom at the Ray City School.  Bill Outlaw described a WPA project digging a ditch in Buck Bay, then called Beaver Dam Bay, on the W.H. Outlaw farm previously known as the Jerry S. “Buck” Sutton Old Home place (See Bill Outlaw’s   Georgia Centennial Farm application for the W. H. Outlaw farm  for interesting commentary on Berrien County farm life over the last 150 years). WPA instructors were also involved with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp at Homerville, GA  where Ray City and Berrien County men were working.

Later the Calhouns were back at Nashville, GA. Census data beyond 1940 has not yet been released,  but school photos from the 1950s show  Mary and Dewey Calhoun’s  children continued to attend at the Nashville public schools.

Children of Mary Elizabeth Brogdon 1909 – 2002 and James Dewey Calhoun (1901-1980)

  1. Charles Rex Calhoun 1929 – 2000
  2. Martha Virginia Calhoun 1933 – 2005
  3. James Dewey “J.D.” Calhoun 1937 – 2013
  4. Howard Vinson Calhoun 1939 – 1979
  5. Densil Calhoun 1944 – 2008
Rex Calhoun, son of Dewey Calhoun, attended 1st grade at Nashville Public School, 1936-37.  Image detail courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Rex Calhoun, son of Dewey Calhoun, attended 1st grade at Nashville Public School, 1936-37. Image detail courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Class photos from 1954 show Densil Calhoun was attending school at Nashville Elementary.

Densil Calhoun, son of Dewey Calhoun, 4th grade school photo,  1954, Nashville Elementary School.

Densil Calhoun, son of Dewey Calhoun, 4th grade school photo, 1954, Nashville Elementary School.

 http://berriencounty.smugmug.com/Schools/Nashville-Elementary/1954-Classrooms/17024719_X46qXD#!i=1288624316&k=fHz4KBF

The 1972 obituary of Joe B. Calhoun mentions that his brother, Dewey Calhoun was still residing in Nashville, GA.

James Dewey Calhoun died November 3, 1980. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  His widow, Mary Brogdon Calhoun, continued to reside at Nashville, GA but was a member of the Baptist Church in Ray City.  Mary died in 2002 and was buried next to her husband at Beaver Dam Cemetery.

 

for May 6, 2002

Mary Calhoun

NASHVILLE — Mary Calhoun, 96, of Nashville, died May 5, 2002, in the Memorial Convalescent Center of Adel. Born on Aug. 26, 1905, to the late Thomas Brogdon and Blancett Swilley, she was a homemaker and member of First Baptist Church of Ray City. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dewey Calhoun, who died in 1980, and two sons, Howard and Rex Calhoun. Survivors include one daughter, Martha Gurganious of Nashville; two sons, Densol Calhoun of Nashville and J. D. Calhoun of Jackson; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2002, in the chapel of Lovein Funeral Home with the Rev. Clarence Luke and the Rev. Fred Hesters officiating. Burial will follow in Beaver Dam Cemetery. Visitation is today after 4 p.m. with the family receiving friends from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Lovein Funeral Home.

Graves of James Dewey Calhoun and Mary Elizabeth Brogdon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Graves of James Dewey Calhoun and Mary Elizabeth Brogdon, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Ray City Class of 1930 Didn’t Walk

It is that time of year when communities and schools everywhere celebrate the graduation of their students with the presentation diplomas in graduation exercises.   Sadly, financial exigencies 0f 1930 precluded graduation exercises for the Ray City School Class of 1930.

At that time, the operation of the Ray City school was governed by a locally elected Board of Trustees which also operated under the Berrien County School Board. The local school trustees were elected on the calendar year,  not the school year, and served a two year term.  Thus, the Ray City school trustees elected in January of 1929, Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson, Rozzie P. Swindle and Moses Albert Studstill, along with three returning members, Dr. George Hill Folsom, Elias Moore “Hun” Knight, and William Henry Edward Terry, were responsible for the spring semester of the 1928-1929 academic year and the  fall semester of the 1929-1930 academic year.

The Nashville Herald
Jan 24, 1929

Ray City School Trustees named for the year 1929.

The Ray City School Trustee election  was held last Saturday, Jan. 12., and the following citizens will guide the destinies of the school for the year 1929: Mr. W. H. E. TerryDr. G. H. Folsom, Mr. E. M. Knight, Mr. M. A. Studstill, Mr. R. P. Swindle, and Mr. J. H. P. Johnson.

    Both Mr. Studstill and Mr. Swindle offered for re-election, with Mr. J. H. P. Johnson the only new candidate in the race, Messrs. Terry, Knight, and Folsom were held from the last term. Mr. Studstill lead the list with 40 votes, Mr. Johnson 38 and Mr. Knight 6.

    The Ray City school is reported as having had a very fine fall term of school and with the fine corps of teachers and their board of education, on of the best years in the history of Ray City Schools we be completed in June.

The 1928-29 academic year had been quite full of accomplishments for the Ray City School, despite a flu outbreak in January.  But the 1929-30 academic year was a financial challenge, and the school struggled to remain open for the entire nine month school year. Only through the generous contributions of local citizens and by charging students a tuition, was the school able to continue for the full term.

The Nashville Herald
May 22, 1930, front page

Ray City School Closes May 25th

COMMENCEMENT BEGINS TONIGHT AND ENDS SATURDAY EVENING WITH THE USUAL CLASS PLAY

      The Ray City School will come to a close Saturday night when the Senior Class play, entitled “A Hen-Pecked Hero,” will be given.  The commencement will begin tonight with the grammar school program, activities being postponed from Friday night on account of the Nashville Senior Class play.  Due to the school being run on a tuition basis, the commencement sermon and the graduation exercises will not be held.

      The Senior Class has been practicing daily for the past several weeks in preparing for the class play to be held Saturday night.  It is said to be very good and should draw a large attendance on that night.

Cast of Characters

Helen Hallmark, a college senior, Mable McDonald.
Doris Dartless, another senior, Doris Swindle.
Botzky, a rushing Russian, J.T. Smith.
Lilly, Russia’s fairest lily, Edra Byrd.
Barker, a defective detective, W.H. Knight.
Ted Slocum, the football coach, Bernard Johnson.
Mrs. Holden, why son-in-law left home, Beth Terry.
Iantha Brown, the romantic bride, Margaret Carter.
Prof. William Brown, her lesser half, Brown King.
Bud Cedman, with good intentions, J.R. Knight.
Countess Kalmanoff, the cause of it all, Virginia Knight.

      The Ray City school has enjoyed a very successful year and 225 students were enrolled.  At the end of the seventh month, it was feared that the school would be compelled to close down on account of finances, but public spirited citizens and patrons made the nine months term possible by contributions and placing the school on a tuition basis, which furnished the necessary money to continue operations.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

Additional notes:

Mabel V. McDonald was a daughter of Carrie Eugenia Langford and Lacy Albert McDonald. She was a sister of Billie McDonald and Lillie McDonald.  Her father was a rural mail carrier at Ray City,GA serving the Cat Creek area.  Mabel attended the summer course at Camp Wilkins, University of Georgia in the summer of 1931.

Doris E. Swindle was a daughter of Sarah Ellen “Stell” Daniel and James Henry Swindle. Her father was a farmer and merchant of Ray City, and served in the Georgia House of Representatives in the 1930s. Doris attended Camp Wilkins at UGA in the summer of 1931, and went on to attend Georgia State Womens College (now Valdosta State University). She was killed in an automobile accident in 1941.

J. T. Smith was  John Thomas Smith, son of Leila Terry and Grandson of Zack Terry.  J. T. Smith and brother, Edwin, later operated a dairy farm near Ray City, GA.

Edra Byrd was a daughter of Mattie Swindle Byrd, and a granddaughter of Mary Etta and Redding D. Swindle. In 1930, Edra was living with her grandparents. Her grandfather, Redding Swindle, served as Ray City’s first mayor and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ray City School.

W. H. Knight was a son of Josie Langdale and Paul Knight.  His father was a farmer of Berrien County.  W. H. Knight was a grandson of Jimmie Gullet and Walter Howard Knight.

Bernard Lamar Johnson was a son of James Randall Johnson and Ruby Texas Knight. In 1930 his father was a farmer near Rays Mill, GA. Bernard attended Camp Wilkins at UGA in the summer of 1931

Beth Terry was a daughter of Charles Oscar Terry and Esther E Russell.  Her father was a pharmacist and prominent businessman of Ray City. In the summer of 1931, Beth attended the summer course at Camp Wilkins, University of Georgia.

Margaret Carter was born and raised in Ray City, GA. She was the daughter of Cora and Yancy F. Carter. Her father was a Ray City Councilman, board member of the Bank of Rays Mill, and operator of the Y.F. Carter Naval Stores, which in the 1930s was the largest firm in the community.  After completing school at Ray City, Margaret attended the summer course at Camp Wilkins, University of Georgia in the summer of 1931. She went on to attend  Georgia State Womens College (now Valdosta State University).

Franklin Brown King was a son of Ida Guthrie and Jim King.  He went on to a long career as a merchant marine.

John R. Knight was a son of Walton and Mildred Knight. He later lived in Lanier County.

Virginia Florence Knight was a daughter of  Carl Herbert Knight and Mattie Julia Hadsock.  In 1934, she married William A. “Bill” Garner. The Garners would later run the Ray City Post Office.

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Wilma Harper Shultz Began 60-year Teaching Career at Ray City

The Johnsons Were at Home in Ray City, GA

The old Johnson Home Place was near Ray City, GA. It was the residence of Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson. Chloe  was originally from Florida (see Family of Chloe Gardner Johnson) and JHP Johnson grew up in Clinch county, GA (see  From the King’s Tree to Ray City: Family of JHP Johnson) , his family having settled there in 1822.

Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal "Joe" Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Chloe Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

The Johnsons, Joe and Chloe, came to Berrien County some time before 1918 and made their home near Ray City, GA.  In the 1920s this was perhaps the finest home in the Rays Mill district, its $6000 value being equaled only by the home of Elias Moore “Hun” Knight.

Johnson Homestead near Ray City, Georgia circa 1923. Depicted are Chloe Gardner Johnson and her three youngest children- Robert Bruce Johnson, James Howard Pascal Johnson and Maurice (Morris) Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Johnson Homestead near Ray City, Georgia circa 1923. Depicted are Chloe Gardner Johnson and her three youngest children- Robert Bruce Johnson, James Howard Pascal Johnson and Maurice (Morris) Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

In 1929, the editor of the Nashville Herald called on Chloe at this home while visiting Ray City:

Just before taking leave of the little city it was our pleasure to visit the garden of Mrs. J.H.P. Johnson, which is a marvel, especially considering the dry weather.  Our observation of the garden and surroundings, convinced us that there is no danger of the family going hungry unless they should suddenly become too weak to pull up vegetables, milk a cow, kill a chicken, or clean a hog, as there was plenty of evidence that this family believes in living at home.

Johnson Home in Ray City, GA

After the old Johnson home place burned, Chloe Johnson moved into a small home on Johnson Street in Ray City, GA.  Although they lived in town, Chloe was still a “farm woman” and attended the 1931 summer course for Farm Women at Camp Wilkins, UGA in 1931.

The image below is the Ray City home of Chloe Gardner Johnson photographed on a rare south Georgia snow day in 1958.   This home still stands on Jones Street in Ray City, although the exterior was covered with a type of shingle siding in the late 50s or early 60s .

1958 Ray City home of Chloe Gardner Johnson.  Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

1958 Ray City home of Chloe Gardner Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

On Jones Street

This house was built for Mrs. Chloe Johnson, postmistress of Ray City, GA.  At that time the post office was located just down the street on the northeast corner of Jones and Paralleled Streets.

2008 photo of Chloe Gardner Johnson's home on Jones Street, Ray City, GA.

2008 photo of Chloe Gardner Johnson’s home on Jones Street, Ray City, GA.

Nazi Prisoners at Moody Field Worked Ray City Farms

During WWII roughly 372,000 German POWs were held in about 600 prisoners of war camps operated by the U.S. Army across the United States.  One such prison camp was established at  Moody Army Air Field (now Moody Air Force Base), about 7 miles south of Ray City, GA.

Walter and Herman Schroer, Elias M. “Hun” Knight and Lewis Bauknight were among those who used German POWs from Moody Field to help with farm labor. The Schroers operated a bedding plant farm just south of Ray City and employed more than 100 German prisoners  to pull and bundle the plants.  Hun Knight and Lewis Bauknight had work for about six to eight prisoners each week  during the summer cropping tobacco. In Lowndes and surrounding counties, German POWs  also worked sugar cane, peanuts, and especially timber.

WWII German Prisoners of War in Georgia.
WWII German Prisoners of War in Georgia. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51916128@N03/5085141454/

The German POWs first arrived at Moody Field just before Thanksgiving in 1943. News accounts heralding the arrival focused on the economic benefits and the security of the prison camp.

The Valdosta Times
November 22, 1943 

NAZI PRISONERS NOW AT MOODY

Officials of Local Post to Confer Today With City and County Authorities on Labor Activities

MOODY FIELD, Ga. – Officials from this Army Air Forces Pilot School were to confer today with Valdosta and Lowndes county officials in regard to work activities of the German prisoners of war now quartered at this post.

The conference was scheduled in an effort to aid in the labor shortage of this section, which has been highlighted by demands for farm and other labor, depleted by war industries and armed services.

The group of prisoners arrived at Moody Field last week-end and will be under the supervision of Lt. Edward T. Lillis of Arlington, Va., Prisoner of War Camp Commander, who commands the contingent of the 315th Military Police Escort Guard Company, assigned to guard the Nazis. Lt. Lillis arrived at Moody Field from Camp Blanding, Fla.

The Nazi prisoners are being quartered in buildings on the parade ground, near the motor pool of this Pilot School. The Military Police have their quarters in the same area, outside the prison stockade.

In November of 1943, newspaper articles in the Atlanta Constitution were commenting on the POW camps and  laborers  in Georgia.

The Atlanta Constitution
Nov. 23, 1943 

“There are individual [pulpwood] producers in and around Valdosta who have been making shipments weekly in excess of 200 carloads, because of available manpower from farms.  Production is expected to soar even higher after this week, it being planned to put a number of German war prisoners from Moody Field into the woods beginning Monday, and things will move smoothly unless the shipments should cause a shortage in transportation. – 

The Atlanta Constitution
November 28, 1943, pg 14A

VALDOSTA, Ga., Nov. 27. –  Lieutenant Edward T. Lillis, who commands the contingent of the Military Escort Guard Company, assigned to guarding the German prisoners of war at Moody Field, was the guest speaker Thursday at the dedication of the annex and recreation center of the Valdosta Hebrew congregation.

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Judge William Daniel "Jack" Knight, son of E.M. "Hun" Knight and Gladys Daniel Knight. He served as a judge of the Superior Courts of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, 1977-1996.

Judge William Daniel “Jack” Knight, son of E.M. “Hun” Knight and Gladys Daniel Knight. He served as a judge of the Superior Courts of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, 1977-1996.

The late Judge W.D. “Jack” Knight, of Berrien County, was a boy of ten growing up at Ray City when the German POW camp was established at Moody Field.  He later recalled how the German prisoners worked on his father’s farm:

It was 1943 or 1944 , German WWII prisoners were kept in a stockade or prison at Moody Air Force Base.

 My Daddy, (E. M. “Hun” Knight) had a farm located three miles south of Moody Air Force Base in those years. On this farm lived Lewis and Loudell Bauknight, who were “tenant farmers”.  Corn, peanuts and tobacco were the main crops grown, but sometimes watermelons and cucumbers were grown on a “share crop basis”.

My Daddy and Lewis received permission from the military authorities to work a group of these prisoners on our farm “cropping” tobacco.  Lewis would go to Moody AFB early each morning in his old pickup truck and get the prisoners and transport them back to our farm for work. As I recall the prisoners would sit in the back of the truck and the MP (armed guard) would sit in front with Lewis.  There would usually be six or eight prisoners working each time and they would bring their lunch which had been prepared in the “mess” at Moody AFB.

Each group would have one or two who could speak English and they would receive instructions from Lewis as to how to “crop” the tobacco and translate it on to the other prisoners.  When they first began to work they wanted to “crop” all the leaves off the tobacco stalk and had to be told to only “crop” three leaves from each stalk.

They were dressed in military clothes (brown) with a large “PW” on their backs. The all had military issue shoes and were real neat with short hair cuts and most of them had blonde hair.

At this time, I was ten years old and worked on the farm each time that tobacco was gathered and was very impressed by this entire matter.  As I recall, my daddy had to pay each prisoner twenty-five  or fifty cents per day as the military didn’t want people to say we were using slave labor on the farms.

Each time they came, Lewis’ wife, Loudell, (an excellent cook) would prepare a huge farm dinner for all of us who worked at the barn.  She would always give them som of that food and they very quickly began to like it, and the same group wanted to come back to our farm for each tobacco gathering which was once each week during the summer months.
~ Judge W. D. Jack Knight

German POWs at a prison camp in Georgia. Source: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-592

German POWs at a prison camp in Georgia.  Source: http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-592

Area residents found the German prisoners intriguing from several perspectives.  These were the enemies that the native sons of south Georgia were fighting against;  they were Hitler’s “supermen.”  And they were the economic salvation of the region, in a time when the available farm labor had all been recruited for the war effort.  Many residents would later recall seeing truckloads of German POWs being transported around the region under military guard, to serve as laborers on the farms and timber lands of the Wiregrass.  In an Op/Ed piece, the Valdosta Times commented on the myth and facts of the German prisoners of war that were interned at Moody Field.

The Valdosta Times
Monday, December 6, 1943

HEIL ROOSEVELT

The appearance of German prisoners at work in various places about this section has been creating quite a stir lately. Crowds have flocked to these spots to get a view of the Germans, anxious to see what they look like…only to find that they look just about like the Americans they see on the street every day…exploding in their minds any ideas they may have had about Hitler’s race of “supermen.”

It seems there’s been a false impression made by the rumors going the rounds that the Nazi prisoners are not such good workers. Reports coming in from the pulpwood operators and others employing the prisoners indicate that the prisoners are catching on speedily to jobs which the have never done, and which they have never seen done.

One pulpwood operator, S.M. Hemingway, is quick in telling you that the German prisoners of war are the happiest bunch of fellows he ever saw, and that he ever saw, and that they are easy to guard, since the last thing they seem to have on their minds is the idea of leaving three squares daily, comfortable living quarters and the regular pay they receive … only for a chance to escape to their own bomb-ridden country where they would be again sent into battle to face death.  Their chances of getting back are nil, anyhow.  Mr. Hemingway says that while the Germans are entirely “green” when it comes to cutting pulpwood, they are good workers, and learning fast.  He also states that they are witty, and enjoy a good joke as well as the next fellow.

This writer visited a few of them at work at the Nat Smith brick warehouse one afternoon last week, where they were hard at work unloading fertilizer from boxcars.  They were in high spirits.  One of the prisoners, while waiting to load the wheelbarrows, had drawn on the side of the car, in the dust of the fertilizer, an image of President Roosevelt.  Probably they wanted someone’s picture to heil.

 South Georgians would later recall the impact of the German prisoners, and the positive cultural interchange that occurred, even under difficult war-time conditions.

The Charlotte Observer
May 5, 2002

German POWs Affected the South

  Harley Langdale had a hard time finding ablebodied workers during World War II, so he didn’t hesitate when offered hundreds of strong former soldiers who would cut timber, plant seedlings and clear land.

    The soldiers weren’t American heroes returning from the front. They were German prisoners of war, some of the hundreds of thousands taken to camps in the United States-most of them in the South.

“Some people were afraid of them,” said Langdale, 87. “They thought some would get away but we never did have any serious incidents.”

The camps are an all-but-forgotten part of history, but the prisoners did leave some remnants behind in south Georgia and throughout the country.

Langdale’s POWs came from camps at Moody Field near Valdosta and Fargo, an isolated Okefenokee Swamp town. They planted many of the azaleas at what is now Moody Air Force Base, and there still is a “Prison Camp Road” north of Fargo.

Some 700 internment camps were thrown up in the United States to detain 426,000 enemy soldiers, who arrived sometimes at a rate of 30,000 a month. Some Americans resented the relative comfort and food provided the enemy soldiers. Texans called camps the “Fritz Ritz.”

But Georgians said the Germans won people over.

“I got the impression they were glad to be over here,” said Langdale, chairman of the Langdale Co., a major south Georgia timber company. “I didn’t see any animosity toward us at all.”

Although there were a few Japanese and Italian prisoners, most were Germans.

“The young women from the area…remember they were good-looking and didn’t spit, because they didn’t chew tobacco,” said Renate Milner, a German-born historian in Valdosta who is writing a book about the POWs.

The German internees are still remembered for their skills and hard work. With most of America’s young men overseas, the POWs helped overcome a labor shortage by harvesting crops and doing other physical labor for 80 cents a day.  

About 466 of the 700 camps were in the South; Georgia had 40 with 11,800 prisoners, Milner said.

“The government classified them as unskilled laborers, but in reality they were very skilled carpenters, mechanics and goldsmiths,” Milner said. “They were pulled into the military at 16 or 17, but by then, they had already been trained” in technical schools.

Audrey Peters, 77, worked at Moody Field during the war. The Valdosta woman still has a wooden jewelry box made by one of the prisoners, who carved “Gerhard Todte, Moody Field 1.9.1945” on the bottom.

“They were nice people,” she said. “Of course we didn’t fraternize with them. I tried to locate him, but I couldn’t. I wanted to see how he was doing and thank him for the box.”

Related posts:

For more on German POWs in Georgia, see:

Historic Marker Placed at Site of New Ramah Church

Historical Marker - New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA.

Historical Marker – New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA.

SITE OF NEW RAMAH
PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH
1913-2000

PASTORS
Elder A.A. Knight                  9/1913 – 6/1925
Elder C.H. Vickers                 9/1925 – 10/1970
Elder J.R. Stallings                1/1971 – 12/1971
Elder Elisha Roberts             1/1972 – 8/1973
Elder M.S. Peavy                    9/1973 – 9/1978
Elder Robert A. Register    9/1978 – 8/1996
Elder Robert Skinner           9/1996 -12/2000

On September 16, 1913 E.M.  Knight conveyed 7 acres of land to the elders of New Ramah Primitive Baptist church for $300. The statement of faith included in deed was as follows:

“New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, their successors and assigns, holding to the doctrine of predestination, election, and the final perseverance of the Saints, observing the ordinances of Communion, Baptism (Emersion) and washing the Saints feet, and known as the Old School Primitive Baptist, holding one protracted meeting annually, and that is to be only three days, and using no musical instrument in the worship, (any departure from the above principles shall disinherit such action from any and all the rights, privileges, and title to the property).”

Historic Marker - New Ramah Church, Ray City, GA.

Historic Marker – New Ramah Church, Ray City, GA.

A Brief History of New Ramah Baptist Church at Ray City, GA

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, at Ray City, GA, was built on land donated by   Elias M “Hun” Knight, John T. “Coot” Knight, Alexander “Bub” Knight, and  Levi Jackson Knight, the four sons of  Sarah “Sallie” Moore and Henry Harrison Knight,  and grandsons of pioneer settler John Knight.

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

In 1976, B.L. Johnson wrote a brief history of the church:

NEW RAMAH PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH

The land for the church and cemetery was donated by A.S. Knight, E.M. Knight, L.J. Knight, and John Knight, all sons of Henry H. Knight.

On August 30, 1913 the following brethren met and established the new church:  Elder I.A. Wetherington, Unity Church; Elder H.W. Parrish, Salem Church; Elder A.A. Knight, Pleasant Church; Elder E.R. Rhoden, Pleasant Hill; and Elder Ed Lindsey, Ty Ty Church.

Public donations from twenty-five cents on upwards to thirty-five dollars were given to build the church.  Elder A.A. Knight was the first pastor and served for twelve years from August 1913 until July 1925.  He was the father of June Knight,  Mrs. Martha Burkhalter, and Mrs. J.L. Lee, all former residents of the community.

Elder C.H. Vickers succeeded Elder Knight and he served as pastor until December 1970, having served continuously for almost 45 years. Serving shorter terms as pastor were Elder J.R. Stallings from January 1971 to January 1972; and Elder Elisha Roberts from January 1972 until August 1973.  The present pastor, Marcus Peavy, began his pastorate in August 1973.

Brethren who have served the church as clerks are George Mikell, Terrell Richardson, Lloyd Cribb and the present clerk, Austin Register.

There are presently eighteen members of the church.

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 http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/gruin_r.htm) .  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.

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