These Boys Volunteered April 11, 1917

Ray City, GA Men Volunteer for WWI

On April 6, 1917, after Germany broke the Sussex Pledge not to torpedo U.S. merchant vessels and after the decoding of the Zimmerman Telegram which sought to recruit Mexico as a German ally, the United States declared war. Days later, on April 11, 1917  three Ray City men, Lorton Register, William Balley Register and William O. Frazier, went to Five Points, Atlanta, GA where they volunteered for service in the United States Army.

When the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, the Army Recruiting Station for white men was above Liggett's Drug Store at Five Points, Atlanta, photographed here circa 1922.

When the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, the Army Recruiting Station for white men was above Liggett’s Drug Store at Five Points, Atlanta, photographed here circa 1922.

For white men, the Army Recruiting Station in Atlanta, GA was  above Liggett’s Drug Store at Five Points on Peachtree Avenue.  Black men reported to the “substation for negroes” at 40 Walton Street, about a mile west of Five Points near the campus of Morris Brown College.

An April 12, 1917 article in The Atlanta Constitution reported:

These Boys Volunteered Wednesday

There’s A Recruiting Station Near You.

Army: 504 P. O. Building, Substation over Liggett’s drug store, Five Points. Substation for negroes, 40 Walton Street.

Navy: 514 Postoffice Building.
Marine Corps: 29 1/2 Marietta Street.
Registration bureau of the National League for Woman’s Service 172 1/2 Peachtree Street (upstairs).

Again Wednesday the recruiting offices for all three branches of the service were about the busiest places to be found around Atlanta. While the army did not quite come up to Tuesday’s mark, it is expected that  Thursday, the first day that recruits will begin training at Fort McPherson, will break all records.  Navy and Marine corps each spent a very busy day with a good number shipped and more waiting examination. 

The article lists 163 volunteers, including the three Ray City men.

 

William O. Frazier was sent to Valdosta, GA for induction. Lorton Webster Register and his brother, Balley Register, were sent to  Fort Thomas, KY.

New recruits at Fort Thomas, KY, April 29, 1917

New recruits at Fort Thomas, KY, April 29, 1917

Army tents at Fort Thomas, KY circa 1917. Lorton W, Register and William Balley Register, of Ray City, GA were inducted here in April, 1917

Army tents at Fort Thomas, KY circa 1917. Lorton W, Register and William Balley Register, of Ray City, GA were inducted here in April, 1917

Army Barracks at Fort Thomas, KY circa 1917

Army Barracks at Fort Thomas, KY circa 1917

WWI soldiers at Fort Thomas, KY circa 1917. Gilliam Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.

WWI soldiers at Fort Thomas, KY circa 1917. Gilliam Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.

WWI soldiers at Fort Thomas, KY mess hall circa 1917. Gilliam Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.

WWI soldiers at Fort Thomas, KY mess hall circa 1917. Gilliam Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.

Lorton W. Register would be killed in action on March 1, 1918 at St. Mihiel, France.   Balley Register went to France as a private in Company B, 16th Infantry but became partially disabled and came home from the war without seeing action.  William O. Frazier became a private in Company E, 16th Infantry Regiment, was sent to France and fought in Sessions, Neuse River, and the Argonne Forest where he was severely wounded.  He eventually made a full recovery and came home from France after the war.

Related Posts:

John C. Sirmons, Big Man On Campus

JOHN CHESTER SIRMONS (1883-1953)

John C. Sirmons, a native of Berrien County, GA, served as a school teacher, principal, county superintendent, college professor, dean, and president.  He culminated his career with two decades of tenure at North Georgia College, Dahlonega, GA.

john-c-sirmons-1952

john-c-sirmons-1952

John C. Sirmons was born November 30, 1883 in Berrien County, GA.  He was a son of Moses G & Nancy E Knight, grand son of George W & Rhoda Futch Knight, great grandson of  Aaron & Nancy Ann Sloan Knight, and great great grandson of William A & Sarah Cone Knight.  d. 13 Aug 1953). He was a nephew of Perry Thomas Knight, and a brother of Thomas Jefferson Sirmons who would perish in the sinking of the H.M.S. Otranto in World War One.

Image detail believed to be John C. Sirmons, about 13 years old, circa 1897.

Image detail believed to be John C. Sirmons, about 13 years old, circa 1897.

The M.G. Sirmons place was about eight miles east of Nashville, GA. His father owned a farm of 260 acres on Land Lots 241 and 242 in the 10th Land District of Berrien County.

moses-g-sirmans-family

In 1900, sixteen-year-old John C. Sirmans was enumerated in his parent’s household in the 1148 Georgia Militia District of Berrien County.

After high school John C. Sirmons attended Sparks Collegiate Institute at Sparks, GA, about 12 miles west of Ray City. He took up teaching as his occupation and was also ordained as a minister.

In 1906 John Sirmons attended the combined Teacher’s Institute held in Tifton, GA for the public school teachers of Tift and Berrien counties. Other teachers attending from Berrien included J. S. Kirton, A. B. Conger, Miss Bertha McKinney, Miss Mary Ellington, John Smith, M. L. Webb, W.M. Tyson, Miss Mamie Shaw, Miss Della Shaw, Aaron Sirmons, Wm. Rhodes, T. W. Price, J. S. Parr, N. E. Patterson, E. C. Patterson, J. D. Overstreet, Mrs. J. D. Overstreet, Dan McPhaul, Miss Carrie McCranie, Mark McCranie and Miss Fannie Norris.

By 1908 Reverend John Chester Sirmons returned to his alma mater in Sparks where he  joined the faculty of Sparks Collegiate Institute. There he taught in the Grammar School Department.

After a short stint at the Sparks Institute, John decided he needed more education if he was going to pursue a career in higher education. In 1909 he enrolled in Emory College to pursue a bachelors degree. There, he was accompanied by fellow Nashville, GA resident John Dixon Smith.  Smith was born near Ray City, a son of Mary Jane Whitehurst and John Woodard Smith.

At the end of the freshman year John C. Sirmons returned to Berrien County for the summer;  John Sirmans, age 26, was there on April 25,1910 on his father’s farm when enumerated for the 1910 census. He gave his occupation as School Teacher.

John continued his studies at Emory and in 1912 he was awarded the Bachelor of Philosophy degree with a major in English.

 

John C. Sirmans senior photo, Emory University, Class of 1912.

John C. Sirmans senior photo, Emory University, Class of 1912.

Emory University, 1912

John C. Sirmons, Jr., PH.B.
Nashville, GA.

Entered College Fall 1909

Member of Few Literary Society; Ministerial Association; President of Emory Student Volunteer Band; Special Gym, ’10, ’11; Memorial Day Orator for Few, ’11; Fall-Term Debater, ’09; Impromptu Debater, ’11; Second Vice President of Y.M.C.A.; Speaker Senior Banquet; Track Team, ’11, All-Emory Track Team, ’11.

    It is hard to explain “Cy” Sirmons’ popularity on any other ground except “all the world loves a lover.” Soon after “Cy” entered in ’09 the boys found out that his heart was in the keeping of a damsel fair.  For if asked, and if not asked, he would tell all about her and how she looked when he asked her.  When Dr. Walker Lewis took up a collection for LaGrange “Cy” made the largest contribution of any student declaring that he expected to get the best returns on that investment of any that he had ever made.

For John C. Sirmons, the 1912 Emory University yearbook noted “Coming events cast their shadow before them.  The expected announcement came July 21, 1912.

The July 21, 1912 Atlanta Constitution announced the engagement of Sarah Estella Moore to John C. Sirmons, of Nashville, GA.

The July 21, 1912 Atlanta Constitution announced the engagement of Sarah Estella Moore to John C. Sirmons, of Nashville, GA.

Atlanta Constitution
July 21, 1912
MOORE-SIRMONS
Mr. and Mrs. George W. Moore, of Sparks, Ga., announce the engagement of their daughter, Sarah Estella, to Mr. John C. Sirmons, of Nashville, Ga., the wedding to take place August 20.

John C. Sirmons married Sarah Estelle Moore in Berrien County, GA on August 20, 1912.  She was a graduate of Lagrange College, Class of 1911, with a Bachelors degree in Expression.

Marriage certificate of John C. Sirmans and Sarah Estelle Moore, August 12, 1912, Berrien County, GA

Marriage certificate of John C. Sirmans and Sarah Estelle Moore, August 12, 1912, Berrien County, GA

In the latter part of 1912, John C. Sirmans was involved in the production of the south Georgia Methodist conference at Waycross, GA.

Around early 1913, John and Estella moved from Georgia to Cherokee, San Saba County, Texas.  John took a position as principal of the preparatory program at Cherokee Junior College.  Their first child, Mary Helen Sirmons was born in San Saba County on July 1, 1913.

Cherokee Junior College, Cherokee, TX. John C. Sirmons served as principal of the preparatory program in 1913 and later was president of the institution.

Cherokee Junior College, Cherokee, TX. John C. Sirmons served as principal of the preparatory program in 1913 and later was president of the institution. Image source: Texas GenWeb

CHEROKEE JUNIOR COLLEGE. Cherokee Junior College, in Cherokee, San Saba County, was operated by the Llano, and later by the Lampasas District conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The college was housed in a building that had originally belonged to West Texas Normal and Business College. The Llano District conference bought the building from Francis Marion Behrns on April 4, 1911, for $20,000. C. A. Lehmberg served as the first president of Cherokee Junior College.

After only a year or two at Cherokee Junior College, John accepted the position of President of Pierce Collegiate Institute, Blackshear, Georgia. According to the text Pierce County, GA, Pierce Collegiate Institute was a military academy,  formerly known as the Presbyterial Institute,  which was acquired by the Waycross District Methodist Conference about 1913.    The institute’s male students who participated in the program of military instruction were known as the Georgia Cadets, but the institution was also co-educational.  The campus consisted of the main building, Williams Hall and Gordon Hall. There was a dining hall and a girl’s dormitory.

Pierce Collegiate Institute, Main building and girls dormitory (formerly the Presbyterial Institute). Pierce Institute became Blackshear High School in 1917. Image source: Pierce County, GA

Pierce Collegiate Institute, Main building and girls dormitory (formerly the Presbyterial Institute). Pierce Institute became Blackshear High School in 1917. Image source: Pierce County, GA

President Sirmons, of Pierce Collegiate Institute, was invited to address the graduates of Sparks Collegiate Institute during the commencement ceremonies held there on Tuesday, March 23, 1916. An interesting event at the commencement was the wedding of Miss Clifford Hendry to Reverend J. J. Ansley, pastor of the Methodist church at Nashville, GA. The bride was matron of the girls dormitory, which served as the setting for the wedding.

Officially, Sirmons continued to served as president of Pierce Collegiate Institute through December 5, 1916. In September 1916, he relocated to Atlanta and joined the faculty of Tech High School.  This school was on Marietta Street from 1909 to 1924. Tech High offered a college preparatory curriculum that also included training in technical subjects.  His teacher salary that year was $1350.00.

While teaching in Atlanta, John Sirmons suffered the indignity of having his car  stolen. The car was recovered by Atlanta police and in attempting to claim his property, John encountered some difficulty which sparked an investigation into municipal graft.

After the 1916-1917 academic year at Tech High School, John C. Sirmons sought a chance to return to higher education. An opening at his former institution, Cherokee Junior College, provided the opportunity. The  June 21, 1917 edition of The San Saba Star reported his return to Cherokee, TX to discuss a position as president of the institution:

Professor John C. Sirmons visited Cherokee, TX in June, 1917 regarding the presidency of Cherokee Junior College.

Professor John C. Sirmons visited Cherokee, TX in June, 1917 regarding the presidency of Cherokee Junior College, reported The San Saba Star.

The San Saba Star
June 21, 1917

Cherokee Locals.

Prof. J. C. Sirmons came in Wednesday from Georgia to see about accepting a position as president of the college, as Rev. McDonald had resigned.  Prof. Sirmons was formerly a principal of the C.J.C. and has many warm friends here who welcome him back.  While we are glad Prof. Sirmons is with us again, we sincerely regret that Rev. McDonald must leave us,for it is largely by his untiring efforts that the school has become what it is.  He has succeeded in raising the standard of the college, adding on the Freshman course in a University.  But his influence will ever be felt by his students, and the best wishes of a host of friends go with him.

The same edition of The San Saba Star, June 21, 1917 also reported J. C. Sirmons preaching at the Methodist Episcopal church of Cherokee, TX.

Cherokee Locals - Professor John C. Sirmons preached at the Methodist Episcopal Church, Cherokee, TX, June 21, 1917.

Cherokee Locals – Professor John C. Sirmons preached at the Methodist Episcopal Church, Cherokee, TX, June 21, 1917.

San Saba Star
June 21, 1917

Cherokee Locals.

     Prof. J. C. Sirmons preached Sunday morning at the M. E. church.
     Sunday night was Children’s Day exercises at the M. E. church. The little folks had been ably trained by their teachers, Misses Jessie Mae Ottinger, Stella Gay, and Ada Sims, and each one carried out their part well.

Cherokee Junior College entered it seventh year with President John C. Sirmons, of Berrien County, GA, at the helm, and his wife, Estella Moore Sirmons on the faculty. The September 17, 1918 issue of the San Saba Star entreated everyone to support the institution under its new president.

August 30, 1917, President John C. Sirmons and his wife Estella Moore Sirmans, of Berrien County, GA, led Cherokee Junior College, Cherokee, TX into the new academic year.

August 30, 1917, President John C. Sirmons and his wife Estella Moore Sirmans, of Berrien County, GA, led Cherokee Junior College, Cherokee, TX into the new academic year.

San Saba Star
August 30, 1917

Cherokee Locals.

     Lest you forget that September 4 next Tuesday, is the opening day of the seventh year of the C. J. C. we kindly remind you, Let everyone prepare to help and make this a better year than any. We realize that conditions are unfavorable but let us not forget that now, in the adolesence period, is the time to train the boys and girls’ minds in the right way, and nowhere else can this be done so well as in the denominational schools, where under the supervision of Christian instructors they  will be carefully trained.  The faculty, with Prof. J. C. Sirmons as president, will be a strong one.  One special feature is that Mrs. J. C. Sirmons will be the Expression teacher.  She is most excellent in her line of work. Prof. W. Jeff Wilcox still continues as head of the music department: Let every one do his or her part for a better C. J. C.

President Sirmon’s inaugural year was bookended by a senior celebration for the class of 1918. The San Saba Star May 16, 1918 reported the event:

May 16, 1918 San Saba Star reported that the family of John C. Sirmons was in Cherokee.

May 16, 1918 San Saba Star reported that the family of John C. Sirmons had returned to Cherokee, TX and the Cherokee Junior College.

San Saba Star
May 16, 1818

Cherokee Locals
(By Daffodil.)

     Last Monday April the 6th the Senior Class of the C.J.C. had their Class Day exercises.  About ten-thirty the students assembled in the Auditorium.  The Seniors had charge of the Chapel exercises, and from that they succeeded to the Class Day Program.  The class history, class prophecy, class will were read, then the class Giftorian presented the gifts, and the class musicians played the class song and the class sang it.
     After the program the Seniors went up to Grays Mill pond to spend the afternoon. They were accompanied by Mrs. Sirmons and small son,  Derrel. A happy time was spent on the creek kodaking, and in various other ways. The day will long be remembered in the annals of the C. J. C. by the following Seniors:  Missess Flay Farmsworth, Rosalie Bragg, Sallie May Burke, Melba Wilcox, Marie Barber, Julia Hart, Lydia Keese, Jessie Allison, and Messrs. Tom Nelson Gay, and Ralph Thompson.

But the hope of John C. Sirmons presidency of Cherokee Junior College was not to endure. The institution, which had accepted students since 1911, reported a small enrollment in the fall of 1918. On July 21, 1921, the property would be sold  to the school trustees of San Saba County for $20,000. “The building was used as a public school until it burned on January 30, 1945. In 1978 Cherokee High School stood on the site, the entrance to the old college having been incorporated in the new structure.”

From personal notices in The San Saba Star it appears that by January 1919, John C. Sirmons departed Cherokee Junior College and was working in Fort Worth, although Estella and the children remained in Cherokee, TX.

The January 16, 1919 edition of the San Saba Star, San Saba, TX reported that John C. Sirmans was commuting between Forth Worth and Cherokee, TX where his family was still residing.

The January 16, 1919 edition of the San Saba Star, San Saba, TX reported that John C. Sirmans was commuting between Forth Worth and Cherokee, TX where his family was still residing.

The San Saba Star
January 16, 1919

Cherokee

“Rev. J. C. Sirmons of Fort Worth spent the week with his family.”

The 1920 Census found John C. Sirmons, his wife Sarah Estella Moore Sirmons, daughter Mary Helen and son John Derrell back in San Saba County, TX renting a home near Cherokee. The occupation of both John and Estella was recorded as teaching public school.

It appears that shortly thereafter, John C. Sirmons and his family returned to Berrien County, GA.  He was there in time to join Ray City citizens who fought the creation of Lanier County, GA.

In 1922, John C. Sirmons was himself back in school. He returned to Emory University, Atlanta, GA where he registered in the Graduate School. For his graduate studies he was awarded a Master of Arts in Education.

In 1924, John C. Sirmons was serving as principal of Tifton High School, Tifton, GA.  In the summer of 1924 he attended the UGA summer school for county superintendents and in 1925 he was Superintendent of Tift County schools.

In 1927 he joined the faculty of  what was then the South Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical College at Tifton, GA. The College was formerly the Second District A&M School, a “college preparatory boarding school” for students from 14-21 years of age, which had offered two and four-year programs with a study of agriculture for boys and a study of home economics for girls. In 1927, the  school was transitioning from a high school to college curriculum. Beginning  in the fall of 1928 only college-level classes were offered. In 1929, the name of the institution was changed to the Georgia State College for Men (GSCM), and in 1933 it was renamed Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Second District Agricultural College, Tifton,GA, now known as Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Second District Agricultural College, Tifton,GA, now known as Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

John Continued to work at the college through 1931. In 1928 he was president of the Tifton Kiwanis Club and in 1930 he a member of the “Flying Squadron,” a group of four Kiwanian singers (H. D. Webb, J. C. Sirmons, Otis Woodard, and A. F. Darden) in the club.

The 1930 Census shows John, Estella and son Derrell residing in Tifton, Georgia. John’s occupation was “college professor; Estella was working as a public school teacher They were renting a home at 810 Love Avenue. Their next door neighbor was Orion Mitchell, head football coach at the college. In 1931, Mitchell would lead the fledgling GSCM team to a 14-13 victory over the University of Miami.

By 1932 John C. Sirmons accepted a position at North Georgia College, Dahlonega, GA. He served as Registrar and was also a faculty member in Education.

North Georgia College administration building, 1934. John C. Sirmons, native of Berrien County, GA, served as registrar and dean for over twenty years.

North Georgia College administration building, 1934.

John C. Sirmons, native of Berrien County, GA, served as Registrar and Dean of North Georgia College for over twenty years.  A number of young men and women of Berrien County attended North Georgia College during his time of service, including Jimmy Grissett, Jamie Connell, Joe Donald Clements, Wilson Connell, Marie Sirmans, John Franklin Miller, Walter Buddie Dickson, James Donald Rowan, Donald Willis, William Henry Mathis,John David Luke, Eddie Brogdon, George W. Chism, Jack Rutherford, Donald Keefe, William Luke, W.D. Alexander, Bill Roquemore, and Donald Keefe.

1934-john-c-sirmons

Portrait of John C. Sirmons, 1934, North Georgia College.

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John C. Sirmons, Dean of Men and Professor of Education, 1938, North Georgia College.

John C. Sirmons, Dean of Men and Professor of Education, 1938, North Georgia College.

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John C. Sirmons, 1939, North Georgia College.

John C. Sirmons, 1939, North Georgia College.

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John C. Sirmons, 1940, North Georgia College.

John C. Sirmons, 1940, North Georgia College.

In 1940 John C. Sirmons was admitted to Duke University as a graduate student pursuing an advanced degree. Duke University was some 470 miles from Dahlonega, but Sirmons continued in his position as Dean at NGC; hemust have been enrolled in a correspondence program or low residency program that did not require regular attendance in Durham, NC.

The Census of 1940 shows John and Estella, and their son Derrell were living in Dahlonega, renting a house valued at $6000. Estella was working as a school teacher; Derrell was a student at medical college.  The 1940 enumeration of John C. Sirmons does not indicate he owned a farm or reference a farm schedule, but Sirmons must have acquired or rented an agricultural property by 1940.  In 1939, while he continued to serve as Dean of the college, John C. Sirmons also went into poultry production under contract to Jesse D. Jewell, Inc. Sirmons “began with a small chicken house in 1939 and later in the 1940s built a larger one, growing flocks of 10,000 birds for Jesse Jewell’s expanding poultry empire.”

John C. Sirmans, Dean Emeritus, North Georgia College, 1943

John C. Sirmans, Dean Emeritus, North Georgia College, 1943

About 1943 Estella Sirmons joined the NGC faculty. She had been serving as the principal of the school at Suches, GA.

Estella Moore Sirmons, 1943, Associate Professor of English, North Georgia College.

Estella Moore Sirmons, 1943, Associate Professor of English, North Georgia College.

 

John C. Sirmons, 1951, Dean Emeritus, North Georgia College. Sirmons was a native of Berrien County, GA.

John C. Sirmons, 1951, Dean Emeritus, North Georgia College. Sirmons was a native of Berrien County, GA.

John C. Sirmons was ill in 1953 and unable to attend events at the college. He died August 13, 1953.  He was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Dahlonega, GA.

Eulogy for John C. Sirmons, October 1, 1953

Eulogy for John C. Sirmons, October 1, 1953

The Cadet Bugler

North Georgia Loses Beloved Dean Emeritus

Read in Assembly
October 1, 1953

    A man has passed away at North Georgia College which leaves a lonely place on our campus.  Dean. J. C. Sirmons has gone to his heavenly inheritance.
    Christianity is a triumphant thing. Sometimes when the heart is lifted on the wings of song we feel it. Under the spell of a great speech or sermon we feel it again.  And the truth sweeps over us in great tides when we look upon a life like that of Cy Sirmons.  Christianity IS a triumphant thing!
    I was on the way to the college when the news came to me of Dean Sirmons’ passing. I am at that stage in my own journey when I cannot afford to lose friends.  Sometimes when we look over our shoulder and see good friends passing away into the shadows beside the road, then we feel a loneliness as we go on under the burden of grief.  Sometimes you think life is hard, even evil.  Then, if you have the sort of faith that made Dean Sirmons’ life shine in the stars, you realize that they have not simply dropped into the shadows, but have passed from the light – through the night – into the light as God promised.  This assurance strengthens you, and girded with this great truth, you lengthen your step, fix your hand a little more firmly in the hand of GOd, and keep working toward your own bend in the road.
     I have seen many alumni and friends of North Georgia College both here and in other parts of the State. Wherever I go, people ask, “Do you know Cy Sirmons? How is Dean Sirmons now?” School teachers have remarked upon his great sense of humor. Some have said, “He helped me with a smile and a good story when I felt awfully blue.” Rich, poor, girl, boy, man, and woman found in him a sympathetic friend.
     Cy Sirmons was a man whose halo was unstained and who well found it easy to exchange the royal robes of earthly servant for whatever spotless garment God provides for those who pass under the shining arch.  The world is a better place because J. C. Sirmons lived on the campus of North Georgia College for a score of years.
          -By Will D. Young, Dean

Grave of John C. Sirmons, Mount Hope Cemetery, Dahlonega, GA.

Grave of John C. Sirmons, Mount Hope Cemetery, Dahlonega, GA.

At North Georgia College an annex to Lewis Hall was added in 1966. The dorm was called Sirmon’s hall after John Sirmons, Registrar and Dean from 1932 until 1949.  This dorm served the campus until 2011.

Mary Theresa Tyler and Charles Oscar Carter

Mary Theresa Tyler and Charles Oscar Carter were married in Ray City, GA on December 26, 1922.  The Bainbridge Post – Search Light ran the story:

1922 marriage of Mary Theresa Tyler and Charles Oscar Carter.

1922 marriage of Mary Theresa Tyler and Charles Oscar Carter.

The Bainbridge Post – Search Light
December 26, 1922

TYLER _ CARTER

    A quiet wedding of Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock was that of Miss Mary Theresa Tyler and Mr. Charles O. Carter, of Climax, in the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Tyler of Ray City.     This marriage will be of very cordial interest to the many firends of both parties in and around Bainbridge. Mrs. Carter, as Miss Mary Tyler, was a lovely and popular girl here [Bainbridge], where she spent most of her time in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tonge. Mrs. Carter was also a member of the faculty of the public schools.     The groom is a member of a mercantile firm in Climax, and belongs to one of the old prominent families of the county.

The wedding announcement made the Atlanta papers, too!

The Atlanta Constitution
January 2, 1923

Miss Tyler is Bride of Mr. Carter

Milltown, Ga. December 28 – Miss Mary Tressa Tyler, of Ray City, and Charles Oscar Carter, of Climax, were married by Rev J. Frank Snell, of Milltown, at the home of the bride in Ray City Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock in the presence of a few relatives and friends.

 Mrs. J.T. Phillips played the wedding march. Miss Pauline Dugger, of Hazelhurst, sang “I Love You.”

Immediately after the ceremony the young couple left for Valdosta. They will make their home in Climax.

Miss Tyler is the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Tyler of Ray City. She is a beautiful and popular young lady. She has been teaching school in Bainbridge for the past two years.  Mr. Carter is a popular young business man of Climax., being engaged in the mercantile business there with his brother.

The Bride

The bride, Mary Theresa Tyler, was born in Quitman, GA, a daughter of Mary L Knight and John M. Tyler.  She was a granddaughter of Levi J. Knight, Jr.,  and a great granddaughter of John Knight.  Mary Theresa Tyler came with her parents to Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA from Quitman, GA sometime before 1917.  The family home was on Jones Street, next door to the residence of business owner J. Fred Hinely.   Her father, John M. Tyler, was employed as a salesman in one of the general merchantile stores of Ray’s Mill.  He was a founding member of the Ray City Methodist Church, and helped to draw the plans and construct the original wooden church building, along with Lucious Clements, W.M. Creech, Will Terry, and Mr. Patterson.

Mary T. Tyler attended  high school, at least in part, in Bainbridge while living with her sister and brother-in-law  Mr. & Mrs. Tonge.

Mary Theresa Tyler, of Ray City, GA attended high school in Bainbridge, 1918.

Mary Theresa Tyler, of Ray City, GA attended high school in Bainbridge, 1918.

After graduating high school,  Mary  herself became a teacher at age 19 and taught in the Bainbridge, GA schools.

The Groom

The Groom, Charles Oscar Carter, was a son of Lucy Callie Carter and William Carter, a prominent merchant of Climax, GA.  Charles O. Carter was born July 27,1893 in Matthews, AL and had come to Climax with his parents as a young boy. As a young man, he was described as medium height, stout build, with blue eyes and light colored hair. He was employed with his father, as a clerk in the family mercantile business  in Climax, GA.

After marriage, the couple made their home in Climax, GA. By the time of the 1930 census, Charles and Mary had two children; Charles Oscar Carter, Jr., age 6, and Carolyn Carter, age 2. Their house was valued at $2500 dollars,  making it among the grander homes of Climax. The census noted that they owned a radio, one of only a dozen such sets in the entire town. Mary’s widowed mother Mary L. Tyler, was also living in the Carter household in Climax; her father had died of pneumonia and heart problems on February 26, 1930 and was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA. Mary’s mother, Mary L. Tyler, died September 13, 1934 and was buried next to her husband in Ray City.

The 1940 census found the Carters, Charles, Mary and the children,  still residing in Climax, GA. They owned a home on Lee Street valued at $1800 dollars. Charles “Charlie” Carter was operating his grocery store, while Mary was a homemaker. Their son, Charles, Jr., was a freshman in high school, and daughter Carolyn was in 6th grade.

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Robert J. Starling was at Emory College, Valdosta, GA 1948

Emory at Valdosta

Robert J. “Bob” Starling, a son of Henry Laverne Starling and Allie Purvis, attended the Emory College campus in Valdosta in 1948. His father was the school lunchroom supervisor at Ray City, and his grandfather, Juniper Griffis Starling, was a pioneer settler of Coffee County, GA.

Bob Starling grew up in his father’s household on Park Street in Ray City, and attended the Ray City School along with his brothers and sisters. The Starling kids were all involved in the Glee Club. In 1939, Bob and his sister, Wylda Starling, played in the school’s Symphonet Band, along with Lamar Hardy, Fain Guthrie, Ferrell Herring, Barbara Swindle, Annie Martha Grisset, Lois Burkhalter, Kenneth Cameron, Billy Creech, Casswell Yawn, and Sadie Griner. His older siblings, Hubert C Starling and Juanelle Starling sang with the school chorus.

Robert J. Starling, 1948, Emory Junior College, Valdosta, GA

Robert J. Starling, 1948, Emory Junior College, Valdosta, GA

Emory Junior College, 1940s, Valdosta, GA

Emory Junior College, 1940s, Valdosta, GA

Bob Starling went on to become Dr. Robert J. Starling. He married a nurse, Frances Carolyn Singletary, and practiced medicine in Donalsonville, GA.  He eventually purchased the hospital in Donalsonville and he and Frances operated it for many years.

A writer on the Donalsonville Forum: Remember the Good Ole Days, posted in 2011:

Dr Earle Moseley built the facility and it was known as Moseley Clinic and Hospital until his death in 1963. After that time, Dr Bob Starling purchased the hospital and it was renamed “Seminole Memorial Hospital”. Dr Jake Holley came that same year and joined him. Later he was joined by Dr Lewis Chisholm for a while, then later Dr Charlie O Walker.

Another writer in 2008 recalled the doctor’s bedside manner:

“Doctor Starling was such a kind and gentle man. I was never afraid of going to him as a child. I wish he was still around for my own children. I cut my hand when I was a senior in High School, and he was on call in the emergency room that day at lunch. I had never been to him; we always went to old man Dr.B….But Dr. Starling took me in, and soothed me quickly. He had 6 stitches in my hand before I could squeeze out another tear for my mom !! I remember Fran and Scott Starling, Linda and Robert too.They always had the best Halloween decorations!”

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Luckie Stop at Ray City

Luckie Lumber Company

In the early 1900s there were  at least 86 lumber mills situated on the line of the Georgia & Florida Railroad running from Augusta, GA to Madison, FL, some 250 odd miles.   A big sawmill was situated on the railroad just  above Ray City, at a stop known as Luckie.  First operated under the name Luckie Lumber Company, it was owned by William F. Luckie.  About 1911, W.F. Luckie sold out to Levi J. Clements and his sons.  It appears that the Clements may have continued to operate under the name Luckie Lumber Company for several years, for the business was still listed under this name in the March 15, 1915 edition of the Lumber Trade Journal.  (see also Clements Lumber Company and the Company Town;  November 6, 1923 ~ Big Fire Loss at the Ray City Sawmill)

William Floyd Luckie, 1858-1937, operated the Luckie Lumber Company at Ray City, GA

William Floyd Luckie, 1858-1937, operated the Luckie Lumber Company at Ray City, GA

William Floyd Luckie

William Floyd Luckie, Jr.  was born on October 15, 1858 in  Greene County, Georgia. He was a son of William F. Luckie and Delaney Sayers, but was orphaned at an early age.  His father was killed in 1859.

“In 1859, a runaway slave of William Luckey’s was captured. While attempting to punish him, the slave grabbed a knife and stabbed Luckey to death.”  http://www.inheritage.org/almanack/c_greene_03.html

In 1861, his mother followed in death.

Afterward, William Floyd Luckie and his sisters, Falby and Mary were raised by their grandfather, James Martin Sayers, on his farm near Penfield, GA.  William Floyd Luckie was enumerated there in 1870 as William Sayers. At the time, he was assisting his grandfather with farm labor.

On March 20, 1887 William Floyd Luckie married Anita Inez Parks in Dodge County, GA. She was born in 1863 in Georgia.

Anita Inez Parks, first wife of William Floyd Luckie.

Anita Inez Parks, first wife of William Floyd Luckie.

By the census of 1900 the couple had seven children and made their home in Hortense, GA  in Wayne County, GA (now Brantley Co.) William was working as a merchant. Hortense is situated on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which ran the fast mail train through the town, from New York to Jacksonville. But the town generated such little traffic that it wasn’t even a flag stop for the railroad.

Children of Anita “Nida” Inez Parks and William Floyd Luckie:

  1. Fulton Woodard Luckie (1880-)
  2. Annie Mae Luckie (1891-1971)
  3. Nebbie I or J Luckie (1892-1977)
  4. Willis Heard Luckie (1894- abt 1984)
  5. Fannie C Luckie (1895- )
  6. Rosa Kate Luckie (1897- )
  7. Candler C Luckie (1899)
  8. William M Luckie (1902-1931)
  9. John Parks Luckie (November 14, 1903 –  October 23, 1996)

It appears that the Luckies moved about 85 miles from Hortense to McRae, GA  sometime before 1903.  Anita Inez Parks died May 5, 1906 and was buried there at Oak Grove Cemetery. William was left a widower with eight minor children to raise.

About 1907 William F. Luckie married a second time.  In 1908 a son was born to this union, James Luckie (1908-1974). Elizabeth Susan and William Floyd Luckie were enumerated in McRae, GA with their children in 1910. William was working as a sawmill superintendent; Elizabeth was keeping house.  In McRae, the Luckies owned a home on Huckabee Street,  named in honor of William Allen Huckabee. Huckabee was first president of  South Georgia College, a  school which had been founded at McRae about 1885.

Shortly after the 1910 census William F. Luckie came to the newly incorporated town of Ray City, GA.  Mr. Luckie founded the Luckie Lumber Company, a business that within a decade would grow to be one of the largest employers in the area. The big sawmill was located on the tracks of the Georgia and Florida about a mile north of town.

Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Luckie were among the first members of the Ray City Methodist Church, along with Will Terry, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Turner, Mrs. Julia Dudley, Annie Lee Dudley, and Marie Dudley. The Church was organized by brother F.D. Ratcliff on October 29, 1910. The Rev. W.E. Hightower of Remerton, Georgia served as the first pastor. Originally the services were held in a tent on the north side of town near the homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Will Clements.

The business and social activities of the newcomers were newsworthy. The Valdosta Times, Saturday, November 26, 1910,  noted:

Mrs. B.W. Boyd and Mrs. W.F. Luckie, of Ray’s Mill came down yesterday and spent the day in this city on a shopping trip.

and in  January 19, 1911 The Valdosta Times reported from Rays Mill:

Mr. W. F. Luckie made a business trip to McRae last Saturday returning Monday.

In time, the Luckie children were on the social scene in Berrien county.   The Atlanta Constitution noted Willis Heard Luckie among the Ray City young people at the Nashville, GA carnival in 1914.

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. Luckie, George Norton, J. J. and J. S. Clements and C.B . Shaw were among the visitors.

Some time between 1914 and 1920, William F. Luckie had moved his family to Spence, GA in Grady County where he was operating a sawmill at the time of the 1920 census. But by 1921, the Luckies moved to Cairo, GA.

By the time of the 1930 census, William and Elizabeth Luckie had returned to Ray City.  They lived in town in a rented house; William Luckie engaged in truck farming.

William Floyd Luckie died on 16 Aug 1937 in Quitman, Brooks, Georgia. He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, Georgia.

William Floid Luckie (1858-1937), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

William Floid Luckie (1858-1937), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

After his death,  Elizabeth S. Luckie went to live in the home of her daughter Nebbie and son-in-law William H. Terry, on South Broad Street in Quitman, GA. She died on May 1, 1953 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

Elizabeth Susan Luckie, (1876-1953), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

Elizabeth Susan Luckie, (1876-1953), Oak Hill Cemetery, Quitman, GA.

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