WWI Berrien County Draft Board

1917 Berrien County Draft Board

Men who are eligible to draft shall not “hide behind petticoats or children.”

On May 17, 1917, the Governor of Georgia announced the appointment of county boards of registration for the selective draft for WWI. The local boards, composed of leading civilians in each community, were entrusted with the administration of the selective draft. These Registration Boards, also known as Exemption Boards, issued draft calls in order of numbers drawn in a national lottery and determined exemptions for dependency, essential occupations, or conscientious objection. Board Members appointed for Berrien County, GA were:

  • Joe Varn Nix, Sheriff of Berrien County, GA
  • James Henry Gaskins, Clerk of the Superior Court of Berrien County, GA
  • Joel Ira Norwood , Ordinary of Berrien County, GA
  • Dr Lafayette Alonzo Carter, Physician

 

Joseph Varn Nix (1882-1963) <br /> Sheriff Joe Varn Nix, appointed by Governor Harris as Executive Officer of the Berrien County Registration Board for the 1917 WWI selective draft. Image detail courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Joseph Varn Nix (1882-1963)
Sheriff Joe Varn Nix, appointed by Governor Harris as Executive Officer of the Berrien County Registration Board for the 1917 WWI selective draft. Image detail courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

 

Jim Gaskins <br> With the onset of World War I in 1917,  James Henry "Jim" Gaskins was appointed as clerk of the Berrien County Exemption Board.  Gaskins was dismissed from the Exemption Board in December, 1917 after he became embroiled in a scandal over reward money for capture of a draft dodger. Gaskins was a former resident of Ray City, GA

Jim Gaskins (1872-1928)
With the onset of World War I in 1917,  James Henry “Jim” Gaskins was appointed as clerk of the Berrien County Registration Board.  Gaskins was dismissed from the Registration Board in December, 1917 after he became embroiled in a scandal over reward money for capture of a draft dodger. Gaskins was a former resident of Ray City, GA

 

Dr Lafayette Alonzo Carter (1858-1932), of Nashville, GA was appointed as Physician for the Berrien County Draft Registration Board, 1917

Dr Lafayette Alonzo Carter (1858-1932)
Dr. L. A. Carter, of Nashville, GA was appointed as Physician for the Berrien County Draft Registration Board, 1917

 

The fourth member of the board, Joel Ira Norward (1869-1956) (not pictured), was a native of Berrien County, GA born on July 9, 1869, in that section of Berrien later cut into Lanier, Georgia. Joel came from a large family, with eight brothers and sisters; at the time of his birth his father, Theodore Gourdine Norwood, was 65 and his mother, Elizabeth Green Norwood, was 32. Joel Ira Norwood married Laura Virginia Shaw on October 23, 1890 and they made their home in Nashville, GA. Joel farmed for a time and was elected county treasurer of Berrien County in 1896 and re-elected in 1900 and 1904, but declined to run for the position in the election of 1908.  In the early 1900s, J.I. Norwood was a business partner of fellow Draft Board member, Dr. L. A. Carter, the two being joint owners of a 250 acre land lot situated on Grand Bay, east of Ray’s Mill (now Ray City). By 1910, J. I. Norwood had his primary occupation from farming to selling insurance for a living. In 1910, he campaigned unsuccessfully for election as county sheriff of Berrien County. In 1912 he was elected Ordinary of Berrien County and was re-elected in 1916.  J. I. Norwood and Laura Virginia Shaw had seven children. He died on November 2, 1956, in Lowndes, Georgia, at the age of 87, and was buried in Adel, Georgia.

The Governor’s appointments and charges to the Registration Boards was published in the Atlanta Constitution, May 20, 1917 edition.

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On May 17, 1917, the Governor of Georgia announced the appointment of county boards of registration for the selective draft for WWI. Registrars for Berrien County were J.V. Nix, J.H. Gaskins, J.I. Norwood, and L.A. Carter.

On May 17, 1917, the Governor of Georgia announced the appointment of county boards of registration for the selective draft for WWI. Registrars for Berrien County were J.V. Nix, J.H. Gaskins, J.I. Norwood, and L.A. Carter.

 

Atlanta Constitution
May 20, 1917

Governor Harris Appoints Boards of Registration

Officials in Charge Must Perfect Organizations and Swear in Registrars Within Five Days.

SHERIFFS AND MAYORS GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS

Registrations Will Be Taken at Regular Precinct Voting Places Between Hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

     Following President Wilson’s proclamation of Friday, setting June 5 as selective draft registration day, Governor Nat E. Harris received a telegram from Provost Marshal General E. H. Crowder Saturday morning directing him to order the several county registration boards of Georgia to organize and prepare to take this registration.
     Through Adjutant General J. Van Holt Nash, who will supervise the Georgia registration, orders were sent out Saturday to every sheriff and the mayors of all cities of more than 30,000 population in Georgia to organize their boards, swear in their registrars and to report the perfection of such organizations to the adjutant general within five days. General Nash sent out these orders by wire and is forwarding by mail necessary blanks for making the report of organization back to him.
Each county board is to be composed of the sheriff, the clerk, the ordinary and a county physician in such counties as have county physicians.
     It is estimated that one registrar will be required for every 80 men to be registered.

Hours of Registration.
     The registration will be taken between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., June 5, at the regular precinct voting places. Every man, sick or well, married or single, white or black, between the ages of 21 and 30, inclusive, will be required, under penalty, to register.
     In cases where a man is ill or expects to be absent from his place of residence on registration day, he may apply at once to the clerk for registration.
     Not only is there a jail penalty attached to failure to register, but like penalty attaches to failure on the part of registration boards, or members of such boards, to perform the full duties required of them.
     When a person has registered he will receive a registration certificate.
     The instructions as to how to answer the questions which will be asked of persons registering, emphasize the fact that the government does not desire that any man shall increase the misery of war by failure to qualify for exemption where other people are dependent upon him solely for support, yet , on the other hand, it is also made clear that the government does not propose that men who are eligible to draft shall “hide behind petticoats or children.”

Governor Names Boards.
     The governor has appointed the county boards of registration. These boards will have charge of the registration in their respective counties. The state of Georgia and war department will hold them responsible. They must see to the appointment of registrars in each precinct in their county and look after the registration and making out of returns and reporting to the governor or adjutant general.
     Owning to the fact that some counties have no county physicians; some counties have as many as three and four, and others have county physicians who live many miles from the county site, Governor Harris could not appoint the county physicians as a class, but had to select physicians to serve each county without respect of their employment by the counties.
     The following list shows the boards for the respective counties. The names appearing in the following order:
     First, the sheriff, who will be executive officer of the board; second, the clerk of the superior court, who will be secretary or clerk of the board; third, the ordinary; fourth, the physician for the board.

The Board, once organized, saw to the appointment of registrars in each precinct in the county to administer the registrations. In Berrien County these registrars included:

Franklin Otis Baker, farmer, Alapaha, GA
Seaborn Jackson Baker, County School Superintendent, Nashville, GA;
William Arthur Bradford, farmer, Adel, GA ;
Eugene F. Bussey, merchant, Enigma, GA ;
James R. Carter, farmer, Adel or Greggs, GA;
John Samuel Carter, farmer, Lois, GA
James Griffin Connell, farmer, Massee, GA ;
William Riley Crumpton, merchant, Lenox, GA;
William Montieth Evarts, farmer, Adel, GA;
Lyman Franklin Giddens, barber, Ray City, GA ;
Vinter B. Godwin, general merchandise salesman, Lenox , GA;
George Washington Gray, farmer, Enigma, GA ;
John D. Gray, farmer, Alapaha, GA;
Frank Griffin, farmer, Nashville, GA;
John T. Griffin, mail carrier, Nashville, GA;
Sims Griffin Griffin, farmer, Nashville, GA
William Henry Griffin, farmer, Nashville, GA ;
Adolphus Brown Hammond, farmer, Enigma, GA ;
Charlie Brown Harris, farmer and merchant, Enigma, GA
Samuel J. Harwell, druggist, Adel, GA ;
Edward L. Ivey, naval stores operator, Cecil, GA ;
Joseph J. Knight, cross tie camp manager, Milltown (Lakeland), GA
Perry Thomas Knight, minister, Milltown (Lakeland), GA;
Henry Lee Lovett, farmer, Sparks, GA ;
Ralph George Luke, bank cashier, Cecil, GA;
Perry Newton Mathis, bookkeeper for J.N. Bray Lumber Co., Cecil, GA;
Hady Calvin McDermid, farmer and doctor, Sparks, GA;
William J. McKinney, dry goods merchant, Sparks, GA;
Malcom J. McMillan, retail merchant, Alapaha, GA
B. G. Moore;
Henry Moore, Alapaha, GA
Irwin Newton Moore, farmer, Nashville, GA ;
Luther Glenn Moore, student, Sparks, GA;
Richmon Newbern, farmer, Massee, GA ;
Charles. S. Parham, salesman and teacher, Nashville, GA;
William Manning Pafford, dry goods salesman, Milltown (Lakeland), GA ;
Arthur Henry Robinson, clergyman, Adel, GA ;
Thomas Morgan Rowan, farmer, Nashville, GA;
W. Rowe;
David Asa Sapp, turpentine operator, Ray City, GA ;
James David Cooper Smith, dry goods merchant, Tifton, GA
H.C. Smith;
Early Hamilton Spivey, farmer, Bannockburn, GA ;
O. Sutton;
James Henry Swindle, merchant, Ray City, GA ;
Charles Oscar Terry, druggist, Ray City, GA ;
William Edwin Tyson, teacher, Lenox, GA;

Penalties for giving false testimony to Exemption Boards were published in local newspapers.

Penalties for giving false testimony to Exemption Boards were published in local newspapers.

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A Christmas Pickle for Berrien County

In December of 1945, a new business venture came to Berrien County, The Manhattan Pickle Company. Doing business locally as the Nashville Packing Company, the  Manhattan Pickle Company set up a processing plant in an industrial building constructed by Berrien Investment, Inc.

The Manhattan Pickle Company was founded about 1915 by Louis Weinberg in Manhattan, Illinois, just south of Chicago.  By the 1940s,  Louis’ son, Jack Weinberg, was at the helm of the company.  One patented product of the company was the wine cured pickle.  “Wine Cured Made with fresh cucumbers, garden dill , sweetened wine and blended with aged vinegar salt onions and rare spices”.

Industrial plant, 1117 East Marion Avenue, Nashville, GA. This facility, constructed in 1945, was originally home to the Nashville Packing Company, a subsidiary of the Manhattan Pickle Company of Chicago.

Industrial plant, 1117 East Marion Avenue, Nashville, GA. This facility, constructed in 1945, was originally home to the Nashville Packing Company, a subsidiary of the Manhattan Pickle Company of Chicago.

The Manhattan Pickle company filled the Nashville, GA plant with processing equipment to handle and package produce. For making pickles, there were huge vats with floating oaken lids.

Sol Weinberg, CEO of the Manhattan Pickle Company, moved to Nashville to manage the operation of the local pickle plant. Weinberg moved into a newly constructed home on Parrish Street.

Weinberg House, constructed circa 1945. This house on Parrish Street, Nashville, GA was orginally the home of J. A. Weinberg, President of the Manhattan Pickle Company.

Weinberg House, constructed circa 1945. This house on Parrish Street, Nashville, GA was originally the home of  Sol Weinberg, CEO of the Manhattan Pickle Company.

An old newspaper clipping from 1945 reported on the opening of the pickle factory in Nashville, GA.

December 22, 1945
Nashville (Georgia) Booms, Wants No Bottlenecking

      NASHVILLE, Ga., Dec 22. – If the people up in Tennessee aren’t going anywhere, won’t they please get out of Nashville, Georgia’s way?
The trouble with Nashville, Tenn., thinks Mayor W. K. Gaskins of Nashville, Ga., is that it hasn’t budged an inch since Andrew Jackson’s day.
“All they’re doing today is sitting up there reading our mail,” he says, “and bottlenecking our railway express shipments.”
      Mayor Gaskins wants the whole world to know – and particularly the postal and railway shipping clerks – that there’s a NASHVILLE, GA.
He doesn’t believe there’s room in the South for two big cities with the same name, but says the people here are planning to be in business at the same old stand and under the same old name for quite some years to come.
      Now Nashville, Ga., has a lot of ground to cover before she’ll be as large as Nashville, Tenn., but she’s on her way. She’s alive and growing while her Tennessee cousins are dead and standing still, according to the best trend of thinking here.
      She’s doubled her population in the last four years and in the past year has quadrupled her industrial productive power. And she’s the fastest-growing city in Georgia and the U. S. A. Anybody in Nashville will tell you that.
      But you don’t have to have someone tell you of Nashville’s growth. You run smack into it anywhere you turn.
      Stretching itself alongside a Georgia & Florida railroad siding is a whaling-big structure of concrete blocks – spanking new. It’ll house the Nashville. Ga., Packing Co., a subsidiary of the Manhattan Pickle Co., of Chicago.

LAND OF GREAT PRODUCE
      The Nashville, Ga., Packing Co. will process and package the cucumbers, beans, okra, cabbages and other varieties of vegetables grown on truck-farming lands of Berrien county.
      J. A. Weinberg, president of the parent company, thinks so much of the possibilities of such a good processing plant here, and of the productiveness of Berrien’s soil, that he’s planning to leave the Chicago business to his brothers and pitch permanent camp here.
      “This land will grow more things to eat,” he says, “than any other land in the world.”
      The Nashville (Ga.) Packing Company is a big project and one that will provide employment for some 200 to 300 persons and distribute thousands of dollars in farm purchases from the residents of Berrien county, but backed up right to it is another whopping big building getting finishing touches before its machinery starts humming.
      This plant will house the fertilizer and chemical concern of J. D. Tygart. It will mix fertilizers and agricultural chemicals for the farmers who grow food for the next-door packing company and for other outlets.
      You don’t have to leave the spot where you’re standing to see still another tremendous sign of Nashville’s industrial growth. They’re breaking ground and laying the foundation for one of the largest tobacco warehouses ever to go up in south Georgia. Already one of the state’s leading tobacco markets, this warehouse, to be owned by J. H. Harvey, will add vastly to the city’s stature as a tobacco center.

FREEZER-LOCKER, TOO

      Take a look at that abattoir over there, lying squat and industrially pretty. It’ll slaughter and process meat for some of the home of the section. J. Henry Gaskins is building it.
      And you’d have to look far and wide to find a more handsome automobile-distributing and servicing plant than the one E. Jenkins has erected at a cost of $75,000.
      Still another building in the process of construction is the elaborately equipped freezer-locker, ice and meat-curing plant which Henry Hornbuckle, of Tifton, is putting up.
      Nashville is on its way, and it is being given a tremendous boost by its organization of progressive business leaders operating under the name of Berrien Investment, Inc. Some 125 citizens of Berrien county are stock-holding members of this organization born solely for the purpose of stimulating industrial growth in the county.
      A nonprofit organization, headed by J. H. Harvey and a board of live-wire directors, Berrien Investment, Inc., is backed by a working capital of $150,000. This money is used to help establish new industries. Its first project was the Nashville (Ga.) Packing Company. The company advanced the money to build the $75,000 packing plant. The Manhattan Pickle Company has contracted to rent the building for five years with the privilege of purchasing it at the end of that time and having what money they’ve paid in rentals apply on the purchase price. The money which the investment company receives in rentals or purchase will be put to work again – toward the construction of another industrial plant.

NEWCOMERS WANTED

      The investment company works in close cooperation with the Nashville Lions Club and the Georgia & Florida Railroad in its campaign for a greater industrialized Nashville. Besides pitching in on the price of building a plant, the investment company uses its influence in other ways to make things easier on an incoming industry. Free taxes for a period of years, for example.
      President Weinberg, of the Manhattan Pickle Company, parent of the Nashville (Ga.) Packing Company, says that industry isn’t seeking a handout from any town it enters, or doesn’t mind risking investment capital in putting up a building, but the Nashville plan is attractive because it shows that the community really means business and has the welcome mat out front. He says his company will buy the building it will occupy at the end of the five years and would buy it now, but in the formative years it’s a nice working arrangement to have the people of the town interested in the industry.
      Housing is another project of Berrien Investment, Inc., and today new houses are mushrooming all over Nashville. The organization is using its collective influence to get building materials, and soon a vast home-building project will swing into operation designed to provide 50 homes for workers of the Nashville (Ga.) Packing Company. Under the plan, the investment company and the packing firm will jointly stand the initial cost of erecting the homes with the worker-occupants getting the chance of buying them at terms convenient to them.