Marvin and Arlie Purvis

 

Ray City home of Guy Marvin Purvis and Arlie Guthrie Purvis on the southeast corner of Main Street and Park Street, Ray City, GA.

Ray City home of Guy Marvin Purvis and Arlie Guthrie Purvis on the southeast corner of Main Street and Park Street, Ray City, GA.

Marvin and Arlie Purvis lived in this Ray City home from the 1920s to about 1942.

Marvin and Arlie Purvis lived in this Ray City home from the 1920s to about 1942.

Ray City home of Marvin and Arlie Purvis

Ray City home of Marvin and Arlie Purvis

Guy Marvin Purvis (1899-1975) was a merchant of Ray City, Ga. He was a son of Mary Brantley and Lee Arnold Purvis. For about 20 years he owned Purvis Grocery Store in the town.  His wife, Arlie Guthrie Purvis (1890-1976), was a sister of Effie Guthrie KnightJohn Guthrie, Sam Guthrie.

The Purvises lived in the house on the southeast corner of Main and Park streets. They had a nice houseful of furniture, dining room set, bedroom set in the master bedroom, iron beds in the other rooms. They had a nice little spool-leg dropleaf dinette set in the kitchen. In 1930 they had a radio, which was a rare thing in Ray City in those days. There were only eight radio sets within the city limits, the other owners being James A. Grissett, John D. Luke, Henry Swindle, Walter Altman, John Simpkins, Joseph Johnson and Fannie Parks.  The average cost of a radio in 1929 was around $139 dollars. In terms of comparable “affordability” for an average person in today’s dollars (2010 index) this would be like making a $7,600 purchase (relative worth based on nominal GDP per capita index – see MeasuringWorth.com). The house had a back porch and an outhouse at the very back of the lot.

Behind this house was the farm of Perry Swindle. Mr. Swindle and his wife Cynthia “Cynthy” Swindle.Perry Swindle had a large open truck and hauled goods and animals and people, too. He provided an annual excursion for the Ray City School students to Twin Lakes, GA.

By about 1941 Marvin could no longer make a go of it operating his Ray City store. Right after the Purvises lost the store, they moved about half a mile south on Park Street to live  with Arlie’s sister, Effie Guthrie Knight, for a few months. This was right before WWII and Marvin got a temporary job helping to build the bridge over Beaverdam Creek. He was probably making more money at this job than he had made for quite some time in his failing store. Some of the other Ray City men working on road construction were Cranford P. Bennett, Edwin L. Mobley, Oscar H. Scarborough, and Clementine Mikell.

After a short while Marvin & Arlie Purvis moved into town where they rented some rooms.  They were living in an apartment that had been partitioned off a part of the home of Mrs. Nancy Mobley on North Street. Mrs. Mobley was a widow and  had living with her in the main part of the house her daughter and son-in-law Eloise Williams Johnson and Bernard L. Johnson, and Eloise’s half sister Doris Mobley. Eloise was a teacher at the Ray City School.

Arlie Purvis made a little money baby sitting Jack Patten, son of Mabel Edith Cook and Thomas Penland Patten.

Later Marvin and Arlie moved across the street to live in the house on the southwest corner of North Street and Bryan Street in Ray City, GA.

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Nashville home of Terrell Swindle.

Terrell Swindle (1919-1994)

Terrell Swindle was born and raised at Ray City, GA. He later moved to Nashville, GA. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Terrell Swindle was born and raised at Ray City, GA. He later moved to Nashville, GA. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Nashville, GA home of Terrell Swindle.

Nashville, GA home of Terrell Swindle.

Glenn Terrell Swindle was born at Ray City, GA June 13, 1919, a son of Rozzie P. Swindle and Ollie May Moore. The Swindles were farmers and sold local produce. Their farm goods included clabber, a yogurt-like milk product, and the lane to their farm became known as Clabberville Road.

As a man, Terrell Swindle moved to Nashville, GA where he engaged in farming and raising hogs.

Terrell was a great fan of folk music and a friend of Ray City musician John Guthrie, often hanging out at the Guthrie home in Ray City or attending musical events.

Terrell was also a good friend to David Miley, nephew of John Guthrie . Terrell was a pilot and owned his own plane. He periodically flew from Nashville to Dog Island, FL to pick up piglets for his stock.  Sometimes David Miley would fly with him.

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Terrell Swindle and hogs. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Terrell Swindle died on February 20, 1994. He is buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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John Guthrie Tells Story of Berrien Tiger

John Guthrie, folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA relates the story of the Berrien Tiger.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985) , folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985) , folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

The legendary Berrien Tiger was a large panther that attacked two Wiregrass victims in 1849, before the creation of Berrien county, GA.  Guthrie was a nephew of Hamp Guthrie, who was mauled by the big cat, and grandson of Martha Newbern Guthrie, who was an eyewitness.

John Elwood Guthrie was a son of Arren H. Guthrie and Elizabeth Lucinda “Lucy” Newbern Guthrie.  He moved with his family to Ray City in 1922 and attended the Ray City School. He and his parents and siblings resided on the the farm of his sister, Effie Guthrie Knight on Park Street.  As a boy he attended the Primitive Baptist Church but later attended the Ray City Methodist Church.  He married Madge Sellers and they made their home on North Street in Ray City.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985)
Ray City, Georgia,
August 20, 1977

I was borned out on the Alapaha River.

You want me to tell you a little story about the Alapaha River?

OK. Now, believe it or not, now…if you want do a little research you can go back and find this story.

Now my grandmother…she was about ninety year old when she first began to come to our house. She’d sit in a rockin’ chair and all of us kids would gather up around her, and she would begin to tell us stories about the Civil War and things that happened back during that time.

Here’s a story…now you can believe it or not. Now, it did appear in the Valdosta paper, the Valdosta Times, and also in the Berrien Press. If you want to do a little research you can look it up. But, it happened.

A young boy back in those days, he went down on the Alapaha River a lookin’ for some hogs down there at was lost. And whiles he was down there they was some animal. Now, they said it was a tiger – now you can believe it or not – they said it was a tiger. But it appeared, now, in both these papers. They said it was a tiger.

He jumped on this boy’s back, and he clawed him up, and bit ‘im, and he thought he had killed ‘im. And he tried to drag ‘im back in the river swamps down there. But he’s too heavy. He couldn’t carry ‘im. Instead, he covered ‘im up with leaves. Covered ‘im up with leaves.

So this boy, when he came concious again, he was almost dead, but he got back ta house an he told his brothers and sisters and his parents an’ everything about it. Well, they formed a search party and they went down there lookin’ for this animal. They had their dogs, and their guns, and everything. That’s on Alapaha River, now, right over here.

When they got down to the swamp, the dogs, the first thing, they began to bark, you know, and run all down the river swamps. Well, it wasn’t very long before all them dogs came back, and their hair was standin’ right straight up on their backs, up there, and they just whimperin’, the dogs.

So, the men decided they’d go down there an’ see what had happened. Well, they went down there, and an ol’ uncle o’ mine, his name was Hamp -now, this is history, now if you don’t believe it you can go back and search. His name was Hamp.  And, he was a little bit behind all the rest. Well, this animal, whatever it was, jumped on his back. Jumped on his back and he began to claw ‘im an’ bite ‘im, an’ almost killed ‘im.

Some of the rest of the fellas in the search party looked around back there, and they saw what was happenin’ and they had a gun and they just shot whatever it was, if it was a tiger or whatever it was. They shot ‘im and killed ‘im. And when they killed ‘im, they had to pull his claws out of Uncle Hamp’s back, back there.

Now, this is history, now if you won’t believe it, all right. If you don’t, you can go back an’ search the records, and that’s part of the history.

Adler, T. A. & Guthrie, J. (1977) John Guthrie tells stories and plays guitar, Ray City, Georgia. Ray City, Georgia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc1982010_afs20900/ .

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Ray City, GA ~ Town is Smaller Now

A sign on the tracks of the Georgia & Florida Railroad indicates the town of Ray City, GA to passing trains. The trains no longer stop at Ray City, although the town once had a bustling depot.

ray-city-ga_old-news-clipping

Times Union
1978

Ray City
The town is smaller now, but folks are coming back home

RAY CITY, Ga. – Before the turn of the century there were more than 27 businesses, five doctors, a pharmacy, corn mill, sawmill and several thousand people.

Ray City has changed.

The town now has a population of 725. What remains are a few stores and churches, the remnants of the corn mill – now a restaurant and fish camp – and Victory Soda Shop and General Store, where people meet to exchange news and gossip.

Billy Clements, owner of The Victory and long-time Ray City resident, said the closing of the sawmill and the Depression drove most of the people away, but old residents are “gradually creeping back.”

People come from all over to listen to John Guthrie play his guitar or just talk.
“I could talk all day about music, Guthrie said.

Guthrie teaches music to anyone who wants to learn, and musicians from all over the country meet in Ray City for jam sessions.

Lamar Booth, who runs the fish camp, points out that the Old Mill Pond draws a number of out-of-town fishermen during the summer. The lake is more than a mile wide but only 5 to 7 feet deep.

Booth’s mother, Mrs. Ann Campbell, owns a cafe, which is the main attraction at the pond. People say she serves the best fish dinners in the area.

The original post office and general store were at the lake during the late 1800s, and the corn mill (it opened in 1863) was once the heart of Ray City’s economy.

The town limits form a one-mile circle, located on Highway 37, 15 miles east of Adel between Nashville and Valdosta.

Farming is the main occupation in Ray City now, though many of the town’s people travel to Valdosta, Adel, Lakeland and Nashville for work, according to Mrs. Don Wilson, the town clerk said. Many residents also own or work in local businesses, she said.

Clements said there is not much for people to do after work except hunt or fish and many young people go to other places for entertainment.

He said he likes it there, because “people care for each other and pitch in and help each other when they need it, like a big family.”

Madge Sellers Guthrie as a Young Woman

Madge Sellers Guthrie

Madge Sellers married Ray City musician John Guthrie.  The couple opened a general store on Main Street in Ray City, on the lot now occupied by City Hall.

young madge sellers?

young madge sellers?

As a young woman, Madge contracted tuberculosis. She was treated in a sanitarium in South Carolina and cured.

Madge Sellers Guthrie, long time resident of Ray City, GA grew to adulthood in South Carolina.

Madge Sellers Guthrie, long time resident of Ray City, GA grew to adulthood in South Carolina.

Madge Sellers Guthrie, of Ray City, GA, photographed at Ruby, SC, 1966.

Madge Sellers Guthrie, of Ray City, GA, photographed at Ruby, SC, 1966.

Madge Guthrie, August, 1969

Madge Guthrie, August, 1969

June 8, 1970 Madge Guthrie, Johnny Guthrie, John Guthrie

June 8, 1970 Madge Guthrie, Johnny Guthrie, John Guthrie

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Madge Sellers Guthrie

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In the August 14, 1858 issue of the Thomasville Southern Enterprise  the editor reported  that Col. Edward Remington had something which few people in this section had ever seen—a banana plant – which was attracting the attention of Thomas county citizens.

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Madge Sellers Guthrie (1912-1998)

Madge Sellers, wife of John Elwood Guthrie, made her home in Ray City, Berrien County, GA for more than 40 years. She met John in Florida while he was on tour with a band. After they married, they opened a feed store in Ray City and John taught music.

Madge Sellers Guthrie

Madge Sellers Guthrie

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Guthrie Music School at Irene Church

Music School at Irene Church

Music School conducted by John Guthrie (right) and John Varner (left) at Irene Church, Lanier County, GA

Music School conducted by John Guthrie (right) and John Varner (left) at Irene Church, Lanier County, GA

John Elwood Guthrie was the youngest child of Arrin Horn Guthrie and Lucy Newbern Guthrie, of Ray City, GA.

John Guthrie was  country storekeeper, operating a feed store on Main Street in Ray City, that was situated where the City Hall is now located.  His home was directly behind the store.  John and his brothers, Sam and Herman were  and musician extraordinaire of Ray City, GA at times conducted music schools that drew students from surrounding counties. Guthrie was well known around the region as a teacher and performer, appearing at local night clubs, events and churches.  He was master of a variety of instruments and was known for playing country, gospel and jazz styles throughout the Southeast.

These photos depict a music school held by John Guthrie (right) and John Varner (left) at Irene Primitive Baptist Church,  which was located in Lanier County, GA (formerly Berrien County) about 5.5 miles northeast of Ray City.

Music School conducted by John Guthrie (right) and John Varner (left) at Irene Church, Lanier County, GA.  Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

Music School conducted by John Guthrie (right) and John Varner (left) at Irene Church, Lanier County, GA. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

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Guthrie Music School, Irene Church near Ray City, GA

Guthrie Music School, Irene Church near Ray City, 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.

1895-marr-cert-d-j-mcgee-1

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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John Guthrie Brought Six Decades of Music to Ray City

Another clipping, circa 1983, from the Ray City scrapbook.  John Guthrie (1911-1985), subject of previous posts, taught music and entertained for six decades in Ray City, GA (see John Guthrie ~ Ray City’s Musician Extraordinaire).

John Elwood Guthrie, Ray City musician and shopkeeper.

John Elwood Guthrie, Ray City musician and shopkeeper.

Plenty of Wind

John Guthrie, 73, still has enough wind to make his saxophone sing.  The Ray City, Ga. shopkeeper and music teacher is master of a number of instruments including sax, organ, piano and several types of guitars.  Since obtaining his first guitar at age 14, he’s played country gospel and jazz styles throughout the Southeast.

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Samuel G. Guthrie of Ray City, GA

Sam Guthrie

Samuel G. Guthrie of Ray City, GA with an unidentified friend.

Samuel G. Guthrie, of Ray City, GA, photographed in Florida with an unidentified friend.

Samuel G. Guthrie Dies in Brunswick; Burial at Ray City

      Samuel G. Guthrie, well known and highly regarded Ray City and Berrien county man, passed away Tuesday, January 9, in the Brunswick Hospital following a heart attack. He was 44 years of age.
     A son of Mrs. Lucy Newbern Guthrie and the late A. H. Guthrie of Ray City, the deceased was born and reared in Berrien county and had spent practically all his life here. He had lived in Brunswick about one year where he held a position in the shipyards.  He was a member of the Baptist church.
     Funeral services were held at the New Ramah church in Ray City Wednesday afternoon, January 10, at 4:30 o’clock, conducted by Elder Charlie Vickers of Nashville, and Elder Orville Knight of Valdosta.  Burial was in the church cemetery.
     A choir composed of N. H. Harper, Mrs. J. I. Clements Sr., Mrs. H. P. Clements and Mrs. Jack Cribb sang two songs, “Asleep In Jesus,” and “Rock of Ages.”
     Pall-bearers were Carroll V. Guthrie, June Eroll Purvis, Emmis Purvis, Archie Peacock, Rudolph Moore and A. T. King.
     Surviving besides his mother, there are four brothers and five sisters,  June Guthrie and Herman Guthrie of Jacksonville, Fla., P. T. Guthrie of Lakeland, and John Guthrie of Ray City, Mrs. J. R. King of Nashville, Mrs. Marvin Purvis, Mrs. O. A. Knight, Mrs. Rossie Futch, and Miss Bettye Guthrie of Ray City.

Samuel G. Guthrie (1900-1945), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Samuel G. Guthrie (1900-1945), New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

 

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