James Henry Swindle and the Georgia Official and Statistical Register

Another find from the volumes of the Georgia Official and Statistical Register:

James Henry Swindle, 1953.

James Henry Swindle, 1953.

James Henry Swindle, Ray City, member [Georgia House of Representatives], 1935, 1937-37/38 Ex., 1939, 1947-48 Ex. – 48 2 Ex., 1949-49 Ex.-50,  1953-54. Farmer; merchant. Born Aug. 6 1886 near Ray City, Berrien County, GA. Attended elementary schools. Baptist, Democrat, Mason, Member, county board of education, 18 years; chairman, 4 years; member, town council, four years; mayor of Ray City, two years.

Family details: Married June 25, 1912 in Nashville, GA, Sarah Ellen Daniel (born Sep. 3, 1888 in Berrien County, GA), daughter of Aaron and Lula Virginia (Luke) Daniel. Children: Margarette Virginia; Doris Evelyn; Grace Elizabeth;James Aaron.   James H. Swindle is the son of George Emory Swindle and Margaret Melvina Futch (born June 20, 1856 in Berrien County, GA), and the grandson of James S. and Nancy (Parker) Swindle, and of John M. Futch (b0rn September 12, 1821 in Berrien County, GA, served as sheriff of Berrien County,  after county organization and during the Civil War, and Phoebe (Mathis) Futch (born Aug 1, 1822 in Berrien County, GA.).

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Nathan W. Byrd (1808 – 1881)

Ray City History
Current research subject: Nathan W. Byrd (1808 – 1881)

According to the histories of Folks Huxford, Nathan W. Byrd was a mail carrier on the postal route serving Ray’s Mill, GA in the peoriod after the civil war. The 1876 records of the U.S. Congress show that Nathan W. Byrd put in a bid to carry the mail on the route from Nashville, GA to Allapaha, GA that year. The route was awarded to William J. Nelson of Allapaha, who was contracted to provide the mail service for $190 per year. That sum would equate to about $49,300 in 2009 dollars.

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Bank of Ray’s Mill

The Bank of Ray’s Mill and the Bank of Milltown

In 1905, local investors including some with Ray’s Mill connections formed the Bank of Milltown.  The bank was  chartered March 14, 1905 and the bank opened for business March 21, 1906.

GOSSIP AT THE CAPITOL
Atlanta Constitution. Feb 7, 1905 pg. 7

 Application was filed with Secretary of State Philip Cook yesterday for a charter for the Bank of Milltown, at Milltown, in Berrien county. The capital stock of the new bank is to be $25,000 and the incorporators are J.V. Talley, W.L. Patton, P.T. Knight and L.J. Clements, Jr.

The Bank of Ray’s Mill was organized around 1908 with George W. Varn as president and Lewis M. Marshall as cashier. Its directors were J.H.P. Johnson, J.H.SwindleC.O. Terry, Y.F. Carter, Harmon Gaskins, and Frank Fountain. Wallace Johnson, son of J.H.P  Johnson, began working for the bank when he was fourteen years old.  Lewis M. Marshall served as the bank’s cashier until he was succeeded in the early 1920’s by John D. Luke who held the position until the bank failed during the great depression – probably around 1931.  In 1909 the bank’s name was changed to Citizens Bank of Ray City.

The Annual report of the Treasurer and State Bank Examiner of the State of Georgia for the year ending 1910, still lists the bank as the Bank of Ray’s Mill, with a capital of $15,000 dollars.  That sum would have been about $6 million in 2007 dollars.

Medical Men of Ray’s Mill

Medical Men of Rays Mill and Berrien County

John Thomas Clower (1830 – 1893)

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

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

The Medical Men of Ray City, GA

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

ADEL, GA

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

ALAPAHA, GA

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

CECIL, GA

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

ENIGMA, GA

  • J. B. S. Blitch – Enigma

FRANKLINVILLE

LENNOX, GA

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

MILLTOWN (Now LAKELAND), GA

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

NASHVILLE, GA

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

SPARKS, GA

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

TIFTON, GA

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

 

T.M. Byrd is F.M. Byrd

After further research it seems that the listing of T.M. Byrd at the Florence Hotel during the flight of the Strobel Airship was most likely a typographical error.  Starling’s companion must have been Frank M. Byrd (F.M. Byrd)and the F. was mistaken for a T. Both Benjamin L. Starling and Frank M. Byrd were residents of the Ray City area and had similar agricultural interests.

Ray’s Mill Residents See Strobel Airship

In 1909, Ray’s Mill (later Ray City) residents Benjamin L. Starling and T.M. Byrd were among those who thronged to Valdosta, Georgia to see the first flying machine to visit the region. The Valdosta Times reported  “Strobel  Airship made a beautiful flight to-day“.

Benjamin Levi Starling or Levi Benjamin Starling (depending on which records you look at) is documented in the 1910 census in Ray City. More information is needed on T.M. Byrd.

Strobel Airship appeared in Valdosta in 1909 (photographed in Michigan)

Strobel Airship appeared in Valdosta in 1909 (photographed in Michigan)

Primitive Baptists at Ray City

A recent document discovery at Ray City Community Library, Ray City, GA was the minutes of the 1962 Union Primitive Baptist Association.

The settlers of the Wiregrass in Lowndes and Berrien county, Georgia were predominantly of the Primitive Baptist faith.  Union Church (aka Burnt Church) on the Alapaha River served the families of early settlers like William A. Knight and his son Levi J. Knight. Primitive Baptist churches became a part of many communities. In 1913, the Knight descendants built New Ramah Primitive Baptist church at Ray City.

Just a few of the Ray City People who were Primitive Baptists:
Cassie Lee Hall, Arrin Horn Guthrie, Effie Shaw Clements, Alfred F. Fender, Minnie Clements Sirmans, Aden Boyd, Elizabeth Skinner Register.

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