Milledge Dewey Wood and the First Cotton Blooms of 1912

On June 25, 1912, The Valdosta Times reported on some of the first cotton blooms of the season. The growers were G. W. Carter, of Lois, and Milledge Dewey Wood, of Ray City, GA.

Valdosta Times
June 25, 1912

Messrs. G. W. Carter of the Lois District and M. D. Wood of Rays Mill, were  among the first to send in cotton blooms to the Herald.  They are among the enterprising farmers of the county, and have their crops in fine condition.  We appreciate the favor of these friends in keeping us posted on their farming operations.

Milledge Dewey Wood  was the father of George W. Wood and father-in-law of Creasy Brown Wood, subject of previous posts (see Creasy Brown Wood buried at Dupont, GA).

M. D. Wood was a son of Josiah Wood and Caroline Meeks. His gravemarker gives his birth date April 28, 1862, but from census records it appears that he was actually born in 1860.

At the time of his birth, his father, Josiah Wood, was farming in Macon County, GA near the town of Lanier. But with the outbreak of the Civil War, his father joined Company E of the 4th Georgia Cavalry.  Josiah Wood did not serve long in the Confederate States Army. Due to a disability he was discharged after just one year of service.

Some time before 1870, young Milledge moved with his family to Coffee County, GA, where his father farmed a small place valued at $200.

The 1880 census record for M. D. Wood has not been located, but in 1883 he married Nancy Caroline Rhoden. In 1900, the couple made their home in Dupont, GA where Milledge owned  farm free and clear of mortgage.

By 1910 the Nancy and M. D. Wood had moved their family to Georgia Militia District 1329, the Connells Mill district, near Ray City, GA. Wood rented a farm on the Rays Mill-Cat Creek road, next door to farms of  Lacy Lester Shaw and Francis Marion Shaw.

In 1920, Wood was farming a place outside of Ray City,  on the Nashville Road.  On the farm next door was Gideon Gaskins.

Children of Nancy Caroline Rhoden and Milledge Dewey Wood:

  1. George Washington Wood 1884 – 1960, married Creasy Brown
  2. Joseph Bryant Wood 1885 – 1969
  3. Ely Benjamin Wood 1888 – 1978
  4. Willie Westberry Wood (1889 – 1974) – worked for E.M. “Hun” Knight, and later Clements Sawmill
  5. Laura Wood 1891 – 1973
  6. John Rhoden Wood 1894 – 1996
  7. Celia Caroline Wood 1896 – 1988
  8. Lulu Wood 1899 – 1974
  9. James Oliver Wood 1901 – 1975
  10. Dewey Franklin Wood 1906 – 1988
  11. Eliza Bell Wood 1909-1910

Milledge Dewey Wood died October 31, 1932.  He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City, GA

Grave marker of Milledge Dewey Wood, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave marker of Milledge Dewey Wood, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

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Addie Hodges Hardie of Ray City, GA

Addie B. Hodges was born March 15, 1889 in Lowndes County, GA.  When she was a young woman, she moved with her family  to Hahira, GA.   Her father, Irvin “Plimp” Hodges, was one of the merchants in town. In the mercantile business he probably had contact with salesmen in the drygoods line; salesmen like Gordon Hardie. At any rate, Addie and Gordon became aquainted and, by and by, they were married.

Marriage Certificate of Gordon Vancie Hardie and Addie B. Hodges

 Gordon Vancie Hardie and Addie B. Hodges were wed on November 25, 1912 in Lowndes County, GA. Perry T. Knight, Minister of God and native of Ray’s Mill, GA  (nka Ray City), performed the ceremony.

It seems that by the time they married, Gordon had already moved to Ray City, where he had gone into business for himself. 

 The Hardies where part of the social scene in Berrrien county. Although the press didn’t get their name right in the society item below, it was just one of many errors:

Atlanta  Constitution, Feb 8, 1914, pg 8 M
Nashville (news items)

Rays Mill was well represented at the carnival last week. Misses Annie Mae Carter, Margie Dasher, Pearl Hardie Knight, Mr. and Mrs. G. V. Harvie, W. H. LuckieGeorge Norton, J. J.  and J. S. Clements and C.B . Shaw were among the visitors.


The year 1919 was a difficult one for the Hardies. That summer, they lost an infant boy. The babe was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

 Sometime after 1924 the Hardies purchased a big white house with a high roof, on the north side of Jones Street on the block between Ward street and Samuel Street.  The house was originally built about 1917 for Rachel and Francis Marion Shaw (See Francis Marion Shaw Historical Site by Brian Shaw).   The Hardies occupied the house for many years. They kept a big garden on the lot west of the house, on the corner of Ward and Jones Street.

Ray City, GA home built circa 1917 for Francis Marion and Rachel Horne Shaw was later the residence of Gordon V. Hardie and wife, Addie Hodges Hardie. Image courtesy of

Gordon Vancie Hardie died March 27, 1937 at just 46 years old. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Gordon Vancie Hardie (1890-1937), Beaver Dam Cemeter, Ray City, GA

 In the 1950s, the widow Addie B. Hardie was a dear friend and neighbor to Lessie Guthrie Futch.  Lessie and Rossie Futch lived first in a small house next door to the Hardies on the east, then after 1951 directly across Jones Street, opposite the Hardie residence.  Addie Hardie was a frequent visitor to the Futch home.  Most afternoons, Mrs. Hardie would cross the street to visit with Lessie, and to have one of Lessie’s hot baked biscuits. When Lessie’s daughter happened to be visiting, she would do Mrs. Hardie’s hair.

Addie Hodges Hardie died October 9, 1972.  She was buried next to her husband at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Addie Hodges Hardie (1889-1972), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

The Shaw/Hardie house on Jones Street was destroyed by fire in 1972, and the car shed seen in the background in the photo above was demolished in 2010. The lot where they stood is still vacant.  The Hardie’s big garden is now occupied by a modern brick house.

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Lacy Lester Shaw

Lacy Lester Shaw,1873-1944.

Lacy Lester Shaw. Image courtesy of

Lacy Lester Shaw. Image courtesy of

Family researcher Bryan Shaw published a newsletter on Lacy Lester Shaw in 1998.  (see  A son of Francis Marion Shaw and Rachel Moore Allen Shaw, Sr., Lacy Lester Shaw was involved in the turpentine industry with his brothers Arthur and Chester Shaw, primarily running the commissary at the still sites.

On June 7, 1896, at the age of 23, Lacy married Tula Albritton, daughter of Hodge Albritton and Susan Catherine Byrd. She was the sister of Gertrude Albritton Shaw, wife of Lacy’s oldest brother.


Later, Lacy Lester Shaw was  involved in the hardware and grocery business in Ray City, GA and in Valdosta. He was a member of the New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City. He was also a Mason and  served as treasurer of Ray City lodge No. 553.  In 1917 he built a house on North Street and opened a hardware business as the Ray City Supply Company. But after only a few years Lacy Lester Shaw moved his family to Valdosta.

Lacy Lester Shaw - In Search of a Lost Brotherhood

Lacy Lester Shaw – In Search of a Lost Brotherhood

Lacy Lester Shaw, Tula Albritton Shaw gravemarker, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Georgia

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Miller Hardware started at Ray City

Miller Hardware was one of the historic businesses of Ray City, GA. The Ray City store was managed by  Arthur Harvel Miller, brother of Lint Miller. Leon Clyde Miller clerked in the store.  Charlie Parham  and M. C. Lee were among the investors.

According to the Annual Report of the Secretary of State, the Miller Hardware & Furniture store located at Milltown, GA was incorporated in 1913 with a capital of $25,000. The trade journal Southern Hardware, Volumes 79-80, June 1918, W.R.C. Smith Pub. Co., 1918 pg 66 announced the incorporation of  a Miller Hardware & Furniture Company store at Ray City.

Image Right:  W. L. Miller and Lena Lee circa 1908. The couple were married in 1913 (see larger images at Berrien County Historical Foundation).

Willis Linton “Lint” Miller was the President and General Manager of the company. Later he served as Chairman of the State Highway Department.  James Thomas Phillips was a salesman for the company. Leon Earl Thigpen was a clerk at the Milltown location.

By 1923, the company letterhead boasted the capital stock had grown to $35,000. The letter head pictured below was from a document included in the death papers of Francis Marion Shaw.

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