Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements (1858-1951)

Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements,  matriarch of the sawmill family of Ray City, died in 1951. She was the widow of Levi J. Clements and  a daughter of William and Elizabeth Register Patten.   In the early 1920s the Clements Lumber Company  was the largest business in Ray City, GA.

Obituary of Roena Patten Clements.

Obituary of Roena Patten Clements.

Valdosta Times
Friday, February 2, 1951


Mrs. Levie J. Rhoena Clements, 93, passed away at her home in Ray City this morning about 10 o’clock. Funeral services will be held at New Ramey Primitive Baptist Church at Ray City at 3 p. m. Saturday. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Lillie Gaskins, five sons, Dr. H. W. Clements, Adel; J. L. Clements, Fort Meade, Fla; W. G. Clements, Ebb, Fla; and J. I and J. S. Clements of Ray City.  Twenty grand children and 28 great-grandchildren also survive. Mrs. Clements was born in Berrien county and was a resident of that section all her life. Pallbearers will be the grandsons. Elder Marcus Peavy, pastor at Ray City, will conduct the services.  He will be assisted by the Rev. John W. Harrell, pastor of the Ray City Baptist Church. Wiseman Funeral Home, Adel, will direct the arrangements.

Funeral of Roena Patten Clements was held Saturday, February 3, 1951 at New Ramah Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

Funeral of Roena Patten Clements was held Saturday, February 3, 1951 at New Ramah Baptist Church, Ray City, GA

Mrs. Clements Is Laid To Rest

     Funeral services for Mrs. Rhoena Clements were held Saturday at 3 p. m. at the New Ramah Baptist Church.  Services were conducted by Elder M. C. Peavey and the Rev. John W. Harrell.
Mrs. Clements died Friday morning after an illness of several months.  She was a member of an old and prominent Ray City family.
Amazing Grace and I’m Going Home were sung by a mixed choir.  Interment was in the churchyard cemetery.
Active pallbearers were Donald Clements, Hugh Clements, Mason Clements, Kief Clements, J. I. Clements, Jr., Ralph Clements, Austin Clements and Dr. Fred C. Clements.
Honorary pallbearers were H. P. Clements, J. H. Swindle, Y. F. Carter, L. H. Webb, W. A. Clements, P. N. Sirmans, R. P. Swindle, C. W. Schmoe, Morris Johnson and H. W. Nelson.

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Children of Elizabeth Roena Patten Clements and Levi J. Clements:

  1. Henry W. Clements, M.D.,   b. 1877, Ray City, Berrien Co., GA ,   d. 6 Feb 1952
  2. Lucille “Lillie” Clements,   b. 17 Feb 1879, Berrien County, GA,   d. 25 Apr 1967
  3. Lucius Jordan Clements,   b. 26 Dec 1880, Berrien County, GA ,   d. 20 Dec 1965, Ft. Meade, Polk County, FL
  4. Pearle E. Clements,   b. 6 Oct 1882, Berrien County, GA,   d. 9 Sep 1904
  5. William Grover “Bill” Clements,   b. 1 Oct 1884, Ray City Berrien Co., GA ,   d. 30 Jul 1984, Cross City, Dixie County, FL
  6. Joseph S. Clements,   b. 14 Aug 1886, Berrien County, GA,   d. 23 Aug 1963, Berrien County, GA
  7. James Irwin Clements,   b. 14 Aug 1886, Berrien County, GA,   d. 9 Feb 1965, Berrien County, GA

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Mary Jane Bostick McGee

Mary Jane Bostick McGee

Mary Jane Bostick McGee

Mary Jane Bostick McGee

Mary Jane Bostick was a daughter of John David Bostick and Rachel Kirkland.  She grew up in her parent’s household in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill District. She married David Judson McGee on September 29, 1895.   In Ray City, the MaGees lived in a house on the southwest corner of Main Street and Park Street.  Her son, June Magee, built a small house on Main Street just to the west of his mothers’ house, and on the next lot was the home of Lacey Moore.


Mrs. Mary McGee Died at Ray City
December 27, 1941

December 27th marked the passing of Mrs. Mary McGee, a most lovable citizen of Ray City. She had been in ill health for quite awhile, rallying only slightly at times. There and in the immediate vicinity has been her home throughout the sixty-five years of her life. Her friends were numbered by her acquaintances. The community sustains a great loss by her going. The funeral services were held Sunday afternoon, December 28 at the Ray City Baptist Church where she had been a loyal and consistent member many years. Rev. John W. Harrell, her pastor, was assisted in conducting the services by Rev. R. C. Carter, pastor of the local Methodist church. Wiseman & Son, undertakers, of Adel were in charge. Music was furnished by Mesdames H.P. Clements, Ancil Vickery, Messrs. Herman and John Guthrie, Mrs. A.B. Baskin was at the piano. Active pallbearers were nephews of the deceased: Curtis McGee, Willie B. McGee, Shelly McGee, L.J. Bostick, Lincoln B. Bostick, N.A. Boyette. Honorary pall bearers were: Messrs. Lossie Webb, Pleman Sirmans, H.P. Clements, A.B. Baskin, N.A. Swindle, B.P. Swindle, J.N. Swindle, Lyman Giddens, Lacy Moore. Mrs. McGee is survived by five brothers and sisters: Messrs. Hardy, Leonard, Jesse, Freeman, Ivey Bostick, Mesdames Mattie Boyette, Florence Kent-Peavy, Annie Durren. Her surviving children are: Mesdames Bessie Rhodes, Nashville, N.C.; Emma Smith, Ray City, Ga.; Messrs. Perry McGee,Miami, Fla.; Eddie McGee, Cecil, Ga.; Luther McGee, Adel, Ga.

In Memorium

We will never forget our beloved brother, June McGee, who died February 24, 1936 and our dear Mother, who died December 27, 1941. With many thanks to all our friends, through the trying bereavement during the illness, and the after the death of our Mother, is this memoriam written.

Perry McGee, Miami, Fla.; Luther McGee, Ray City; Eddie McGee, Ray City; Mrs. R. D. Smith, Ray City; Mrs. L. B. Rhodes, Ashville, N.C.; Mrs. June McGee and daughter, Hazel.

Grave of Mary Jane McGee (1875-1941), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave of Mary Jane McGee (1875-1941), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Andrew College Alumnus Mildred Clements

Andrew College

In 1940-41 Mildred Clements, of Ray City, GA, attended Andrew College at Cuthbert, GA. At the time, Andrew College was a small Methodist junior college for women. The choice of schools was appropriate , as Mildred Clements would observe a lifelong commitment to the Methodist church.

The Valdosta Times
April 6, 1941

The friends of Miss Mildred Clements are glad to learn that she has improved from her illness and returned to Andrew College Tuesday where she will graduate this term.

Andrew College, Cuthbert, GA

Andrew College, Cuthbert, GA

Born Sept. 14, 1921, in Berrien County, Mildred Lorene Clements was a daughter of Alma May and Hod P. Clements.  H. P. Clements was a banker and prominent businessman of Ray City. He was college educated and appreciated the value of a college education for his children.


Andrew College Historical Marker

While Mildred attended Andrew College, her sister Frances and cousin Annie Ruth Clements went to Georgia State Women’s College.

According to the Andrew College website:

The Charter of Andrew College, granted in 1854 by the Georgia Legislature, is the second oldest charter in the United States giving an educational institution the right to confer degrees upon women. Originally named Andrew Female College, Andrew operated as a women’s four-year college for 63 years. In 1917 Andrew became a junior college and in 1956 the institution became co-educational. During the Civil War, classes were stopped and the College served as a hospital for wounded confederate soldiers. When classes resumed in 1866, a physical education course was added to the College’s curriculum, the first such course to be required of women in the South. In 1892, Andrew’s buildings burnt to the ground. However, the people of Cuthbert raised the funds necessary to build Old Main, the College’s landmark building, that very same year. Only a handful of colleges in Georgia are older than Andrew and few possess such a rich and celebrated history. Andrew College is recently celebrated the culmination of its Sesquicentennial (150 years of service) and a progressive Campus Master Plan was recently approved by Andrew’s Board of Trustees. “Andrew is small, but there are those that love her.”

After college, Mildred Clements married Mitchell Haygood Moore, a young salesman from Sirmans, GA.  During WWII he joined the Army Air Force and was assigned as a Staff Sergeant to the 854 AAF Bomber Squadron, 491st Bomber Group, flying as a crewman on a B-24 Liberator.  Some say he was a bombardier, others say he was a tail gunner. The 491st was one of seven Heavy Bombardment Groups – 488th through 494th – activated in the autumn of 1943.  By April of 1944, the 491st was  in England, and the group engaged in long-range strategic bombardment of Germany.  In July 1944 it supported the breakout at St. Lo and assaulted V-weapon sites and communications lines in France during the summer of 1944.  After August, 1944 the 491st concentrated its attacks on strategic objectives in Germany, striking communications centers, oil refineries, storage depots, industrial areas, shipyards, and other targets in such places as Berlin, Hamburg, Kassel, Cologne, Gelsenkirchen, Bielefeld, Hanover, and Magdeburg; on one occasion attacked the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen, Germany.  On the date of Mitchell Moore’s death, 26 November 1944, the 491st bomber group was on a mission to bomb an oil refinery at Misburg, Germany when the group was attacked by large numbers of enemy fighters.  There were 31 B-24s dispatched on that mission, 28 reached the target, 16 never came back. Although more than half of its planes were destroyed, the group fought off the interceptors, and successfully bombed the target. For this action the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. According to the 491st Bomber Group website, Mitchell Moore was flying as a Left Waist gunner on the Misburg raid when he was killed in action.


After the war, Mildred applied for and received a marble headstone from the Army Office of the Quartermaster General, to mark his grave at Union Church Cemetery, near Lakeland, GA.

Application for WWII headstone for Mitchell H. Moore.

Application for WWII headstone for Mitchell H. Moore.

Later, Mildred married WWII veteran and high school classmate Lawson Fountain.  After the war, Lawson Fountain had gone into the banking business with Mildred’s father, Hod P. Clements and was for many years a fixture  in Ray City’s financial institutions.  Lawson Fountain has been the subject of previous posts: Lawson Fountain ~ Ray City Banker and Shoe String Bandits Strike Ray City Bank.

Obituary of Mildred Clements Fountain.

Mildred Clements Fountain

Mildred Clements Fountain, 84, of Ray City passed away Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005, at her residence after a lengthy illness. She was born on Sept. 14, 1921, in Berrien County to the late Hosea and Alma Clements. Mrs. Fountain taught school for many years, teaching in Enigma, Hahira and Pine Grove. She was a very active member of the Ray City United Methodist Church serving as president of the United Methodist Women for 21 years and many other positions in her church. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mitchell Moore who gave the ultimate sacrifice in WWII and her husband, Lawson F. Fountain who was the president of the Bank of Ray City. Survivors include her son, James L. Fountain, Ray City; sister, Frances Carter, Valdosta; two nieces, Sherry Buffaloe, Lexington, Tenn., Laurel Thomas, Valdosta; nephew, Larry Carter, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; several great-nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005, in the Ray City United Methodist Church with burial following in Beaver Dam Cemetery.

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Georgia Normal College and Business Institute

The Ray City History Blog has previously noted the Ray City Alumni of Georgia Normal College and Business Institute at Abbeville, GA.

Georgia Normal College and Business Institute Abbeville GA

Georgia Normal College and Business Institute Abbeville GA

A number of the Clements family attended the Georgia Normal College and Business Institute including Lucius Jordan Clements, William Grover Clements, James Irwin Clements, Joe Clements, Chester Lee (son of Moses C. Lee and Amanda Clements),   Bessie Clements, and Hod P. Clements. D. C. Clements of Nashville, graduated from the business program in 1906.

Another alumnus from Ray City was Charlie Parham, who taught  in Ray City and Berrien County schools over a twenty year period, and served twelve years on the Berrien County School Board.

Samuel I. Watson attended the Institute in the year of its opening, and later served on the State Board of Education. When S. I. Watson arrived at Georgia Normal College and Business Institute in the winter of 1899 he wrote back to the Editor of the Tifton Gazette:

Samuel Irvin Watson attended the inaugural session of the Georgia Normal College and Business Institute in 1899.

Tifton Gazette
March 3, 1899

A Berrien Boy in Wilcox.

Abbeville, GA, Feb. 27. – As I have reached my destination, I take great pleasure in writing an article to your paper from this place, as I have found everything pleasant, both my traveling and place of stopping.
    While there is whiskey of almost every description sold here I have not seen an intoxicated person since I came to Wilcox county.
    I find the people of Abbeville and surrounding country to be intelligent, sober, whole-hearted, enthusiastic, sociable and enterprising, and who give a hearty welcome to those coming to their city.
   The enrollment of the Georgia Normal College and Business Institute is about 300, and it has been in session only about five months; the school ranks among the best in Georgia.  The principal is a plain, unassuming gentleman, whom we all, as students, love;  this however, applies to the entire faculty.
    There are students here from Georgia and Florida, and scarcely a vacant room for boarding students.  This town will surely have to make more arrangements for the accommodation of the latter, if they continue to increase as they have in the very short time the school has been in session.
    There is a great problem that should be carefully and accurately solved by each and every one of us that contemplates attending some high institution of learning.  A great meany of our boys and girls leave their state to obtain a higher education than can be accomplished in our common schools, but we ought to remember that it is an honor to us to recognize our own state, and that we have fully as good schools and colleges as any adjoining state.
    I hope to have some of my Berrien county friends come with me next time.

S. I. Watson.

P. S. Why not the teachers of Berrien have two days in the examination for license this year?

Students at Georgia Normal College and Business Institute. Albany, Georgia, 1911. Hod P. Clements (back row, 3rd from left) later became a banker in Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com/

Students at Georgia Normal College and Business Institute. Albany, Georgia, 1911. Hod P. Clements (back row, 3rd from left) later became a banker in Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com/

Here added is the 1902 commencement announcement:

The Atlanta Constitution
30 May 1902

Georgia Normal and Business School Ends Successful Year.

Abbeville, Ga., May 29. -(Special.)-The fourth annual commencement of the Georgia Normal College and Business institute closed here tonight. This was the most successful term in the history of the college and the number of graduates were greater than ever before.

The halls of the college were crowded to its utmost capacity at every exercise to hear the speeches of the graduates. Those graduating in the commercial class are Addie Laura Collins, Webster, Fla,; R. F. Dowdy, Vance, Ga; Florence E. Huss, Franklin, Ohio; D. F. Burnett, Jr., Madison, Fla.; Ashley C. Snow, Abbeville, Ga.; Gertrude Blow, Ashburn, Ga.; James C. Story, Abbeville, Ga; A. M. Sykes, Wright, Ga.; Elijah R. Simmons, T. J. Townsend, Lake Butler, Fla.; R. D. Howard, Patterson, Ga.; Lucius J. Clements, Millstown, Ga.; Alvin V. Sellers, Graham, Ga.; Ralph F. Collins, Bushnell, Fla.

Those graduating in the teachers’ class are Mollie Lee Dorminey, Dormineys Mill, Ga.; S.S. Knight, Lake Butler, Fla.; Eunice McCullough, Melrose, Fla.; E. A. Rice, Dupont, Ga.; Myrtle Baker, Abbeville, Ga.; Ida Irene Vause, Edgar, Fla.; W. O. Young, Leland, Fla.; Henry P. Smith, Simmons, Ga.; Lillie May Maynard, Abbeville, Ga.; J. A. J. Pinholster, Brooks, Fla.; Bessie Clements, Milltown, Ga.; R. S. Johns, New River, Fla.; Theola Ruff, Fort White, Fla.; Lola Smith, Abbeville, Ga.; Murrel Futch, High Springs, Fla.; C. L. Cowart, Collins, Ga.; Joseph Coffin, Lake Butler, Fla.; H. D. Warnock, Leland, Fla.

Those graduating in the scientific classes are Carlotta L. Townsend, Lake Butler, Fla.; Sampie Smith, Shepperd, Ga.; M. L. Purcell, Glenville, Ga.; Maude Avant, Patterson, Ga.; E. F. Fender, Griggs, Ga; H. J. Dame, Homerville, Ga.; I. S. Smith, Simmons, Ga.; Louis Smith, Simmons, Ga.; Mary Lizzie Paxson, Abbeville, Ga.; W. E. Carter, Louis, Ga.; N. M. Patten, Milltown, Ga.; W. B. Cornelius, Homerville, Ga.; Mark L. Morrill, Atlanta, Ga.

The commercial graduates are Elijah R. Simmons, Citra, Fla.; John D. Dorminey, Dormineys Mill, Ga.; Mark L. Morrill, Atlanta, Ga.; Helen S. Bomberg, Jasper, Fla.; S. F. Rogers, Abbeville, Ga.; L. M. Carter, Louis, Ga.; B. H. Dorminey, Dormineys Mill, Ga.; B. B. Maynard, Newton, Ga.; J. Louis McLeod, Abbeville, Ga.

When William Grover “Bill” Clements attended Georgia Normal College and Business Institute,

“He stayed at the dormitory which was run by the President of the Commerce Department. The charge for living at the school, including meals, was $9.80 a month which his parents paid for in syrup and bacon from the farm. It was a co-educational school.

Bill said, ‘The ladies lived downstairs and the gents up. I had a Yankee sweetheart. She was the sister of the Principal’s wife. There wasn’t much time for social activities then but I did play on the baseball team. I played first base and sometimes I was the catcher.’  He modestly didn’t want to admit it, but was one of the star hitters on the team.

  …the total enrollment was about 200 students at that time. Bill was graduated with honors, the leader of his class, and he was offered a job on the faculty. He turned it down though, preferring to go back to the farm and help his parents send the twins through school.” – Madison County Carrier, April 16, 1981 

Transcription courtesy of Ron Yates, http://www.yatesville.net/

The twins were Joe and Irwin Clements of Rays Mill, GA, students at the business institute in 1904:

A personal mention in the September 9, 1904 edition of the Tifton Gazette. Irwin and Joe Clements, and Chester L. Lee headed to college.

Commencement speaker Reverend John W. Domingos, of Tifton, reported this description after his visit to the college in 1905 :

I never had the pleasure of a visit to the delightful little town of Abbeville ’till last Saturday.  When I arrived on the grounds, and went into their school buildings, met the teachers, and examined a little into their fixtures and outfit, I was suprised to find a school of such proportions in the little city of Abbeville.
    There are on the grounds three spacious buildings, standing side by side all of them two-story buildings; two of these are built of wood, and the latest, a new building is of brick.  In the first of these, on the left as you approach them, phonograpy, or short hand, and type writing and telegraphy are taught on the first floor. On the second floor the intermediate classes are taught; and the museaum is also located on this floor.  In the middle and main building, on the first floor, are four class rooms; on the second floor are the auditorium, the music room and the laboratory. In the third, the new building, on the first floor, the work of the business department includes book keeping, banking, etc.  On the second floor is the principal’s recitation room.  This is a fine room, and can accommodate 100 pupils.  The library is also located on this floor.  It now contains between tow and three thousand volumes ans some of these are choice and costly works.  The books are very appropriately arranged, and are kept in splendid book cases.  There are twenty-two of these, four feet in length, with four shelves to the case.  In seventeen of these the books range in sections: Educational, fiction, literature, encyclopedias, language and mathematics, poetry, science, etc.  The other five are devoted to periodical literature, magazines, etc.
    Prof. W. A. Little is the principal of this school.  He is a man of rare gifts, push and energy, and is assisted by an able corps of teachers.  This is the listed course of study: Scientific course, teachers’ course, complete commercial course, accountants’ course, music course, shorthand, telegraphy, penmanship, post-graduate business course.
    They have had in the school this year, I was told, some 200 boarding pupils; but they have no dormitories; the pupils board in families in the town.  The principal told me that they have matriculated this year, in all, nearly 300 pupils…
    I give you these facts, Mr. Editor, for — people to think about a little.  The phenomenal success of this school is simply due to a few things.  First of all, of course, to the efficiency of the teachers, but very largely to two other things; first, they have good work-shops, or good buildings in which to do their work, and good material and implements with which to work; in the second place, they have the hearty co-operation of the people.  The school is the pride of the town.  Give a teacher or preacher your sympathy and co-operation and you can expect something of him;  withhold it, and you cannot get the best result.  Don’t put a man in an ice box, and then curse him for not sweating.
     We have a fine town; why may we not have one of the largest and best schools in all this country?

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In 1934 Ray City was ‘Noted Section’ of Berrien County

Ray City began 1934 on an optimistic note.  A “booster” story from the Nashville Herald praised the farming, education, churches, municipal government, roads and businesses of Ray City.

The Nashville Herald, 
January 25, 1934, Pg 1


Excellent Community of Berrien County and South Georgia – Fine Farming Section

In writing about different communities of Berrien County it is next to impossible to neglect the city of Ray City and the large farming territory surrounding it.  The Ray City section constitutes the southern portion of Berrien County, where extensive farm operations are carried on during every month of the year in all lines of endeavor.

The trading point is the city of Ray City, just ten miles south of Nashville, the county seat.  It has a population of around 500 people, all of whom are industrious and hospitable, with fine schools, churches and live wire merchants.  There is no better place in south Georgia to live than Ray City.

The farming population surrounding Ray City constitute an industrious and progressive people.  To a certain measure they are prosperous, because everything to be raised on a farm can be grown on their fertile lands, and each year their products find ready markets, returning to them cash in abundance.  The section is noted for its fine tobacco and cotton lands and is a hog and cattle raising territory of excellent possibilities.

The city of Ray City affords every convenience and comfort for the citizens of the community.  There is a fine school system, which is under the capable and efficient supervision of Prof. P. M. Shultz.  Prof. Ulmer Crosby is principal, and the other teachers are:  Mrs. P. M. Shultz, Miss Jessie Aycock, Mrs. A.B. Baskins, Miss Lillian Ford and Mrs. Eulalie Dickson.

The school has nine grades, with an enrollment of a few over the two hundred mark.  A number of fine students complete the school each year, advancing to higher institutions of learning.  The school system in Ray City is really a big asset, (illegible) a higher type of citizenry.

The school board is composed of the following gentlemen who handle their duties in a most admirable manner and of benefit to patrons and students combined.  H.A. Swindle, chairman, M.A. Studstill, sec.-treasl., C.H. Vickers, J.M. Studstill and W.M. Creech, members.

Ray City is not short either along the spiritual line, having four active churches as follows:  Baptist, Rev. Walter Branch, pastor; Methodist, Rev. F.A. Ratcliffe, pastor; Primitive Baptist, Elder C.H. Vickers, pastor; Christian, supply pastor.  The Baptist and Methodist churches conduct Sunday Schools, and young people’s organizations.

The affairs of the city of Ray City are in the hands of men who apparently have the united support of the people, as the entire body was recently re-elected to office.  J. H. Swindle is mayor, and the councilmen are:  G.V. Hardie, Y.F. Carter, H.P. Clements and W.M. Creech.

The standing committees for the year 1934 are:  Water and lights, G.V. Hardie and Y.F. Carter; Street, W.M. Creech and H.P. Clements; Sanitary, entire city council.

In questioning the mayor, Mr. J. H. Swindle, he stated that the city enjoyed a very good administration the past year, and that 1934 was begun with the city in much better financial condition than a year ago.

Ray City is soon to enjoy one of the best highway outlets of any small city in south Georgia.  It is located on Route No. 11, the short route into Florida from Atlanta.  This highway has been recently graded for paving and at some future date this work will be a reality.  Other good roads lead out in all directions as well.  It is located on the Georgia and Florida railroad, and is one of the railroad’s most important shipping points.  Mr. T.W. Thompson is the G. & F. Agent, having served in that capacity for a long number of years.

The postmistress is Mrs. J. F. Fountain, and the rural mail carriers are James Grissett and L.A. McDonald.

There are also several industries which add to the progressiveness of the town and community.

The Ray City Ice & Storage Company, of which Mr. D.T. Sharpe is manager, serves a wide territory.  At present this concern has on storage over 100,000 pounds of meat being cured for farmers.

The Y.F. Carter Naval Stores concern is the largest firm in the community, where approximately fifty men are given employment.  This firm operates over ten crops of boxes, the leases affording additional revenue for landowners.  It has been in operation for about eighteen years.

The J.H. Swindle Gins and Warehouse is another concern of benefit to the entire section.  Plants are located at Ray City and Barrett, being among the most up to date in south Georgia.  Mr. Swindle buys cotton and cotton seed, corn, peanuts, hay and other country produce.  Besides gin and warehouse activities he operates a twelve horse farm.

The Peoples Banking Company, a private institution, is owned by Mr. J. H. Swindle, with Mr. E. J. Patten as cashier.  This bank was organized several years ago by Mr. Swindle when Ray City lost its regular bank, so as to carry on the business operations locally and without interruptions.

Mrs. R.N. Warr is owner of old Ray Pond, famous for its fishing for the past hundred years.  Mrs. Warr acquired the pond about two years ago, and since has created a good income out of the sale of minnows, pond plants, frogs, and tadpoles.  The pond covers an area of approximately 4,000 acres.

Among Ray City’s most enterprising merchants are:  Swindle & Clements, B. Ridgell Jones Drug Store, Purvis Grocery Store, Weeks Grocery Store, Hardie Filling Station, South Georgia Oil Company, Bradford Barber Shop, Putnell Barber Shop, Swain Garage, Woodward Blacksmith Shop, Griner Corn Mill and others.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker

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James Henry Swindle ~ Businessman and Public Servant

Hod Clements ~ Doughboy

Hod P. Clements, a Ray City, GA veteran of World War I,  joined the US Army at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA.   He reported as ordered at Nashville, GA on September 21, 1917, along with 28 other Berrien County men, for transportation to the “mobilization camp”  at newly opened  Camp Gordon, Chamblee, GA. Clements trained at Camp Wheeler in Macon, GA before shipping overseas.

Josea Peeples "Hod" Clements, 1918, , dressed in his World War I uniform and holding his rifle.

 21 Hosea Peeples “Hod” Clements, 1918, , dressed in his World War I uniform and holding his rifle. Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Archives, Office of Secretary of State. http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/u?/vg2,3978

Hod served overseas from September 17, 1918 to July 5, 1919. He was assigned to Company F, 106th Engineers, a unit of the 31st  Division. Known as the Dixie Division it was made up of men from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The 31st was at Brest when the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.

Thomasville Times Enterprise, Armistice Day, Nov 11, 1918

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J.M. DeLoach Jumped from the HMS OTRANTO

While many soldiers were taken by the sea in the sinking of HMS Otranto, at least three Berrien county men survived the disaster. Among the survivors, James Marvin DeLoach.

James Marvin Deloach. Image source: Francine Coppage

James Marvin Deloach. Image source: Francine Coppage


DeLoach was never quite a resident of Ray City, GA but had connections with the town. In 1910, J. M. DeLoach purchased a lot on Jones Street in the newly platted city, but owned the property only a few weeks before selling out to Levi J. Clements.

James Marvin DeLoach, born May 29, 1890, came from a large family of Lowndes pioneers. Among his elder brothers was Edmund Thomas DeLoach, thirty years his senior, who watched many younger relatives march off to war and, thankfully, come marching home again. A Tifton Gazette article from August 22, 1919 tells of the WWI service of the DeLoach family:


William Lindsey DeLoach, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. DeLoach, who live near Cycloneta, returned home Saturday from overseas service. He was with the Second Division, in the infantry, and took part in the big parade in New York. He received his honorable discharge at Camp Gordon Saturday. He went across in the summer of 1918.
 Mr. DeLoach had two sons, two nephews and a brother [J.M. DeLoach] in foreign service, all escaping without a scratch except his brother who was injured when he jumped from the sinking Otranto.
 Mr. DeLoach will give a homecoming picnic to the boys and their friends at his home Saturday.

Tifton Gazette, Aug. 22, 1919 — page 8

WWI Registration for Selective Service

James M. DeLoach, at age 27, registered for the draft in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, the Ray’s Mill District, on June 15, 1917. Following President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war on Germany, the Selective Service Act had been passed authorizing the registration and drafting of men into the U.S. armed forces. The first registration began on June 5, 1917, and included all men between the ages of 21 and 31.

Thomasville Times Enterprise announces declaration of war, April 6, 1917.

Thomasville Times Enterprise headlines declaration of war, April 6, 1917.

Military records show that Deloach was fair-haired with blue eyes, tall at six feet – one inches, with a medium build, and single. His draft card was processed by Charles Oscar Terry, who served as Registrar in addition to his regular pursuits as druggist and merchant of Ray City, GA.

At the time of registration, Deloach was working a farm at Milltown, GA (now Lakeland) under the employment of Ray City businessman Hod. P. Clements. James M. DeLoach continued to work for another year as the war dragged on, but the following summer he volunteered for service and enlisted as a private about July 16, 1918 at Nashville, GA. He was assigned to the Coast Artillery and trained at Fort Screven, GA.

After training DeLoach and hundreds of other Georgia men were sent to New York, where they boarded the troopship H.M.S. Otranto. The ship departed New York on September 24, 1918 on what was to be her final, tragic voyage. Among the contingent of Berrien County men sailing along with DeLoach on Otranto were Ralph Knight and Shellie Webb, of Ray City, GA; James Grady Wright of Adel, GA; and Early Steward of Nashville, GA.

Final Voyage of the Otranto

On the 6.10.1918, the Auxiliary Cruiser Otranto, bound from New York to Glasgow, with a crew of 360 men and some 660 American Troops, collided with the P. & O. Liner Kashmir off the North Coast of Islay. Both ships had acted as Column Leaders in Convoy HX50 and arrived in the North Channel in the midst of a violent gale and poor visibility. When land was sighted, the Officer of the Watch aboard the Kashmir correctly identified it as Islay, but his counterpart in the Otranto mistook the ground for that of Inishtrahull. As a consequence, both ships were turned in toward each other and at 8.45 a.m. the Kashmir struck the Otranto with a fatal blow amidships on her port side. As the damaged vessels drifted apart, water poured into the huge hole in Otranto’s side and she drifted towards the rocky coast of Islay. First to answer the stricken vessel’s S.O.S. calls was the Torpedo Boat Destroyer H.M.S. Mounsey, commanded by Lieutenant F.W. Craven and crewed by such men as Stoker Petty Officer Shillabeer, shortly to be a D.S.M. The Mounsey reached the stricken Liner at around 10 a.m. and, dwarfed by her rearing and plunging 12,000 ton frame, very gallantly closed her to take off survivors. On no less than four occasions the plucky little Destroyer crashed against the Liner’s side, each time hundreds of American servicemen jumping from the latter’s decks in an effort to reach those of the Destroyer. In what must have been horrific circumstances, many of them met their death between the pitching sides of the two vessels, while many others sustained serious injuries on hitting the Mounsey’s deck. At length, however, with her decks perilously overladen, the Mounsey set sail for Belfast with an astonishing 596 survivors. Tragically at least another 400 souls remained trapped aboard the Otranto, and when she hit the bottom less than half a mile from shore, near Machir Bay, Captain Davidson gave the order to abandon ship – only 16 of these men ever reached land (Argyll Shipwrecks, P. Moir and I. Crawford refers).

– Christie’s Auction House synopsis of the Otranto Disaster written for the auction of a Distinguished Service Medal and other service items that had been awarded to crewman Sidney William Shillabeer of the rescue ship HMS Mounsey. The medal lot sold for £897 ($1,492).

Shellie Webb and Ralph Knight, along with some two dozen other Berrien men were among those who perished that stormy Sunday morning off the island of Islay. Captain Ernest George William Davidson, master of Otranto, also went down with his ship. Early Steward, of Nashville, GA was one of the very few who went into the sea and made it to the shore of Islay still alive.

Lieutenant Francis Worthington Craven, commander of HMS Mounsey, made it to Belfast with his rescue-laden ship, and was later presented with the Distinguished Service Medal by President Woodrow Wilson and the Distinguished Service Order by the United Kingdom. Craven was killed in an Irish Republican Army ambush in 1921.

Deloach and Wright were two of the fortunate American soldiers who were able to jump from the heaving deck of the doomed Otranto to the deck of the destroyer HMS Mounsey. In 1919, DeLoach recounted his experience:

Tifton Gazette
June 20, 1919


Private Deloach, From Berrien, Had a Close Call When Troop Ship Sank

Private J. M. DeLoach, who went into service from Berrien County, but whose home is now in Lowndes, was up a few days ago to visit his brother, Mr. E. T. DeLoach near Tifton.
 Private DeLoach was on the Otranto when that ill-fated ship was rammed by the Kashmir and sank early on Sunday morning in October, 1918. He escaped, as did Sergeant? [James G.] Wright, by jumping to the deck of a destroyer below.
 He was knocked partially unconscious by the landing but he had enough presence of mind to catch another man’s leg to avoid being washed overboard. His –[text obscured]—- and he was unconscious –[text obscured]– before reaching port. –[text obscured]– he was sick and his temperature was 104 before he took the –[text obscured]–debated awhile because he was so ill.
 DeLoach said the toughest part of the rescue was when the destroyer –[text obscured]– for the last time and the men –[text obscured]– were lined up at the –[text obscured]–it was not until then that they —danger. It was heartbreaking to see the men in the water begging to be taken on board, when nothing could be done for them. One man was washed off the destroyer by a big wave and then washed back on again.

DeLoach was discharged from Army service on May 6, 1919 at Camp Gordon, GA. Afterwards, he made his way back to Hahira, GA , the place of his birth, where he returned to farming.

James Marvin Deloach died May 10, 1976. He was buried at Cat Creek Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA.

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Hosea Peeples “Hod” Clements

Hosea P. “Hod” Clements,  son of Ann Eliza Swindle and John Miles Clements, was a life long resident of Berrien County. He was a cousin of the Clements brothers who ran the Clements Lumber Company at Ray City, GA. Hod was educated at the Georgia Normal College and Business Institute, and served in France during WWI, but always returned to Ray City.

Hod P. Clements of Ray City, GA, 1911.

Hod P. Clements of Ray City, GA, 1911.

On September 15, 1917 Hod P. Clements married Alma Florence May in a ceremony performed by A. J. Futch, Minister of God.  Alma was a daughter of Mary Florence “Molly” Simmons and Sirmon Green May. Her father was a farmer at Nashville, GA .

Hosea Peeples "Hod" Clements and Alma Florence May were married in Berrien County, GA on September 15, 1917.

Hosea Peeples “Hod” Clements and Alma Florence May were married in Berrien County, GA on September 15, 1917.

The following year Alma gave birth to their first child, James Herman Clements, born May 8, 1918.

As told in the previous post (Hod P. Clements and the Dixie Division ), Hod joined the army and shipped overseas late in the summer of 1918  where he served from September 17, 1918 to July 5, 1919.

James Herman Clements, son of Alma Florence May and Hod P. Clements, circa 1921. Image courtesy of berriencountyga.com.

James Herman Clements, son of Alma Florence May and Hod P. Clements, circa 1921. Image courtesy of berriencountyga.com.

For a while Hod and Alma made their home on his father’s farm, situated on

They moved to Ray City in the 1920s and lived in a house on Jones Street, Ray City, GA. Armed with a degree from the Georgia Normal College and Business Institute, Hod Clements went into business in Ray City: “From 1923 until 1945 Clements operated a general store named Swindle and Clements.”

James Herman Clements and Mildred Lorene Clements, children of Alma and Hod P. Clements, with Marie and Pete Studstill. Image courtesy of berriencountyga.com.

James Herman Clements and Mildred Lorene Clements, children of Alma and Hod P. Clements, with Marie and Pete Studstill. Image courtesy of berriencountyga.com.

The Clements were involved in the community. Hod Clements was a Master Mason, raised up January 8, 1935, and a member of Duncan Lodge. Alma Clements was a supporter of local education and in 1941 she was working in the lunchroom at the Ray City School.

In the 1940s the Clements home on Jones Street was valued at $1000.  Hod and Alma lived there with their children, James Herman Clements, Mildred Lorene Clements, and Helen Frances Clements. Also boarding in the Clements home was James Gaskins Grady.  Grady was a school teacher who had come to Ray City from Montevallo, AL some time after 1935.

The Clements’ neighbors on Jones Street were James M. Studstill, who was the uncle of Vera R. Yawn, and great uncle of D’ree, Allene, and Caswell S. Yawn. Another neighbor was Thomas J. Studstill, and a few doors down were Chester Nobles, Billy Creech, and J. H. P. Johnson.

Hod worked 60 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, employed as the manager of a meat market.  For this he earned $30 a week, $1500 a year.

In 1948, buying the old Ray City Bank and its equipment for $3,500 he opened The Bank of Ray City , a private bank and the only financial institution in the town at that time.  Obtaining a state charter in 1949, H.P. Clements began banking with a capital of $10,000. In 1956, Mr. Clements’ son-in-law, Lawson Fountain, returned to Ray City, from Jacksonville, FL and afterwards the two ran the bank together. In later years Mr. Clements was forced to retire due to ill health. Then in 1973 the bank was sold to the Citizens Bank of Nashville. Georgia, and is now the Ray City office of that bank.

Hosea P. Clements died June 8, 1978 and now rests in Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA


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Hod P. Clements and the Dixie Division

Hosea P. “Hod” Clements was born December 27, 1890 in Milltown, GA, a son of Ann Eliza Swindle and John Miles Clements. Hod grew up on his father’s farm, situated on one of the ‘settlement’ roads outside of Ray City.

Hod P. Clements of Ray City, GA, 1911.

Hod P. Clements of Ray City, GA, 1911.

On June 15, 1917 Hod Clements registered for the  WWI draft at Milltown, GA . At the time he was working as a self employed farmer. He was 26 years old, medium height and build, with gray eyes and light hair.  His draft card was processed by C. O. Terry, registrar for Berrien County and also the druggist at Ray City, GA.

Three months later on September 21, 1917, and less than a week after marrying Alma Florence May,  Hosea Peoples Clements was inducted into the US Army at Milltown. His military service records show he was first assigned to Company A, 307th Engineers and trained at Camp Wheeler in Macon, GA.

Artillery Hill, Camp Wheeler, Macon, GA.  October 2, 1917

Artillery Hill, Camp Wheeler, Macon, GA. October 2, 1917. Image courtesy of Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2007664196/

Late in the summer of 1918 Hod shipped overseas where he served from September 17, 1918 to July 5, 1919. There on Oct. 14, 1918, he joined Company F, 106th Engineers. This unit was part of the 31st (old 10) Division  which encompassed units from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.  The 31st Division was known as the Dixie Division, under the command of Major General Leroy S. Lyon.

WWI Dixie Division arm patches.

WWI Dixie Division arm patches.

Upon arrival in France the 31st was designated as a replacement division. The personnel of most of the units were withdrawn and sent to other organizations. The 31st was at Brest when the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.

Hosea P. Clements was honorably discharged from the Army on July 13, 1919. Records show he had 0 percent disability at discharge.

After the War, Hod Clements returned to Berrien County, GA and took up farming.

Frances Clements’ 1944 Rendezvous with Frogs, Formulas, and Figures

Frances Clements, daughter of Hod P. Clements of Ray City, GA and subject of previous posts ( A Shower for Frances Clements),  excelled at technical studies.  After completing high school at  the Ray City School she went on to enroll at Georgia State Womans College, now known as Valdosta State University, entering with the freshman class in 1943. In 1944,  her extra-curricular activities included the Math-Science Club.

Frances Clements, of Ray City, GA.  A 1944 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA.

Frances Clements, of Ray City, GA. A 1944 sophomore at Georgia State Womans College, Valdosta, GA.

Beauty and brains, Frances Clements went out for the Math-Science Club. The activities of the club reflected the war-time enrollment at the college:

Math Science Club

 Our rendezvous with frogs, formulas, and figures combines our interest into one club, the Math-Science Club.  There are three divisions: Chemistry; Biology, and Mathematics; and the students may become a member of any one of these groups according to their chief interest. These divisions present monthly programs and bring the practical nature of the sciences to the members.

      This year the club has endeavored to do its bit for the war effort by contributing part of the dues, and proceeds from a dance and the scrap paper drive to the War Bond Scholarship Fund.

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