Narcissus Rouse and Bryant Miley

Bryant Miley and Narcissus Rouse

Narcissus Rouse and Bryant Luther Miley of Hahira, GA

Narcissus Rouse and Bryant Luther Miley of Hahira, GA

Narcissus Rouse came to Wiregrass Georgia when she was a little girl. Her father was Joshua W. Rouse and her mother was Sarah Monroe, the Monroe name being a pioneer family of the Tar Heel State. When she was six years old she came with her family from Wilmington, North Carolina by boat to Savannah, Georgia, then by train to Valdosta, GA, and by ox-drawn wagon to the area of Hahira, GA where they settled in the Bethany Community.

Narcissus Rouse married Bryant Miley on December 26, 1901 in Lowndes County, GA.  The groom was of medium height and build, with blue eyes and black hair.

Marriage certificate of Bryant L. Miley and Narcissus Rouse, Lowndes County, GA

Marriage certificate of Bryant L. Miley and Narcissus Rouse, Lowndes County, GA

Bryant Miley was a farmer and merchant of Hahira. He was born April 22, 1881, a son of James B. Miley and Laura Etta A. Webb.  His father was a prominent farmer and mill man in the Hahira District; the James B. Miley place was six miles above Hahira. His brother, Lucius Miley, was an agent for the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad who in 1896 disappeared for a week in an apparent abduction. Another brother, Grover Cleveland Miley, was a proprietor of the Hahira Drug Company and secretary to the Board of Education.

In 1910, Bryant L. Miley and his brothers were working  in Hahira. Bryant was a hardware salesman.   James R. Miley was a grocery salesman. Cleveland Miley was managing his drug store.  Lucius Miley was working as a lumber inspector in Milltown, GA (now Lakeland). Bryant’s uncle, Remer Young Miley, was a house carpenter in Hahira.

In 1918, Bryant L. Miley was employed as a mail carrier on a rural free delivery route for the U. S. Government. His brother, James “Jimmie” Miley, was constable of Hahira.

By 1920, Bryant L. Miley went into  business for himself, opening his own store in Hahira.

Children of Narcissus Rouse (1882–1979) and Bryant Luther Miley (1881-1940):

  1. Reba Miley (1902–1974)
  2. Berry James Miley (1904–1989)
  3. John David Miley (1906–1993)
  4. Genesta Miley (1908–1996)
  5. Henry Frederick Miley (1910–1998)
Bryant Miley, Narcissus Miley and Genesta Miley in their Hahira, GA store

Bryant Miley, Narcissus Miley and Genesta Miley in their Hahira, GA store

In the 1930s B. L. Miley’s health declined from hypertension and kidney failure. In June of 1940 he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died at 5:00am on June 17, 1940. He was buried  at Shiloh Church, Hahira, GA. The burial was performed on June 19, 1940 by the Hahira Hardware Company.

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Family of John David Miley

John David Miley, subject of earlier posts ( see The Marriage of John David Miley and Lessie Lee Guthrie ), married Lessie Guthrie of Ray City, GA.  The Guthries were early pioneer families of Berrien County, and many of the family connection still reside in Ray City.  John David Miley was a son of Narcissus Rouse and Bryant Miley. The Mileys were a prominent family in the local history of Hahira, Lowndes County, GA.  Hahira is located about twelve miles west of Ray City.

Family of John David Miley, Hahira, GA. Circa 1906. Left to Right: Bryant Luther Miley, Berry James "B.J." Miley, Reba Miley, John David Miley, Narcissus Rouse Miley.

Family of John David Miley, Hahira, GA. Circa 1906. Left to Right: Bryant Luther Miley, Berry James “B.J.” Miley, Reba Miley, John David Miley, Narcissus Rouse Miley.

Bryant Miley operated a grocery & butcher shop in Hahira. Later, after Bryant’s death in 1940, Narcissus had her own little grocery in town.  B.J. Miley became a big tobacco trader, and a Hahira street one block south of Main bears his name.

Grave marker of Bryant and Narcissus Miley, Shiloh Methodist Church cemetery, Lowndes County, GA.

Grave marker of Bryant and Narcissus Miley, Shiloh Methodist Church cemetery, Lowndes County, GA.

 

The Marriage of John David Miley and Lessie Lee Guthrie

John David Miley, of Hahira,  and Lessie  Lee Guthrie, of Ray City, were married February 24, 1926 inValdosta, GA.  They were married at Christian Parsonage by Reverend Richard Wallace.  Mrs. Wallace served as the witness.

Lessie Guthrie was raised in Ray City and spent most of her life here. Her ancestors were among the pioneer families that settled Berrien County, and many of the Guthrie family connection still reside in the Ray City area.

Lessie Guthrie Miley and John David Miley, 1928, Brunswick, GA.

Lessie Guthrie Miley and John David Miley, 1928, Brunswick, GA.

Following their wedding, John D. Miley took a job at the A & P  Grocery, in Waycross, GA.  At the first opportunity, though, he took the Civil Service Entrance Exam, and got a position with the U.S. Postal Service working at the Post Office in Brunswick, GA.  Thereafter, John D. Miley worked with the postal service the rest of his life.  Even when he served in the military, his service was in mail delivery.

The Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929 edition mentioned, “Mrs. John D Miley of Brunswick is visiting relatives here.”

Personal mention in the Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929.

Personal mention in the Ray City News, Jan 3, 1929.

Lessie Guthrie Miley with daughter Diane Miley, circa 1934

In the early 1930’s John D and Lessie had two children, Diane and David. But by 1935,  they were experiencing marital difficulties. 

Lessie left Brunswick and took the childen to Florida. They lived for a short time with Lessie’s brothers, Sam and John Guthrie, in an apartment  in Winterhaven, FL.  John D. Miley came to see her, they reconciled, and he took his family back to Brunswick.

The marriage of Lessie Lee Guthrie and John David Miley lasted another four years.   They separated in 1939 while living in Hollywood, Florida.

John David Miley, Jr., "David", circa 1939.

 Lessie was left alone there with her two children.  Her mother-in-law, Narcissus

 

Miley, came from Hahira, GA to take them back to Georgia.  Narcissus arranged for a large railroad crate to be delivered to Lessie’s place of residence. She packed all of Lessie’s possessions, her electric appliances, clothes, everything right down to the doilies.  The railroad picked up the crate and they all rode the train together back to Hahira.  Lessie and the kids stayed with Narcissus in Hahira about a week.  Then June Guthrie, Lessie’s brother, came to get them and took them back to the Guthrie farm on Park Street, Ray City, GA.

 

Later, Lessie wrote, “We came back to Ray City on Easter Sunday, 1939.  John D. left us December 1938 – one week before Christmas.  We remained in Hollywood, until Granny Miley, went and brought us back on Easter Sunday.”

For more on the Guthrie and Miley families, and the history of Ray City, GA visit http://raycity.pbworks.com/