Georgia Prohibition – No Bottle in the House; No Soda at the Fount

Did Berrien’s own Jonathan P. Knight almost nix Coca Cola in Georgia? Knight grew up at Ray City, GA before moving to the Berrien county seat at Nashville. He was elected to Georgia Assembly first as state representative and later as state senator, and was known for his fiery activism against drinking. He was chairman of the Temperance Committee in the Georgia Senate and was outspoken about the prevalence of drinking in the very halls of the Georgia Assembly.

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

J. P. Knight, of Berrien was among the foremost champions for statewide prohibition on the sale of liquor, which was passed in Georgia in July 1907.  Knight didn’t think the law went far enough and was among the first to point out that the law contained very large loopholes, namely, that liquor could continue to be served in social clubs where members kept their own stock in private lockers.  Knight’s bill introduced July 17, 1907 was aimed at closing this loophole.

1907-jul-17-jp-knight-pushed-prohibition

Knight to Present Bill to Banish Club Lockers

Those of the clubmen of Georgia who boast a convivial liking for the cocktail, the highball, or the mint julep, as the particular taste may dictate, and have been consoling themselves with the fond belief that, after all, prohibition would not mean such a hardship forthem, as at the worst they would be able to keep their well-stocked lockers, where they would always be easy of access, have a rude jar coming to them, if Senator Knight of the sixth district, chairman of the temperance committee of the upper house, has his way.
     The former representative from Berrien has in his desk a bill the purpose of which is to declare that any place in which liquors are kept for sale or use, whether by individuals or corporations, is a tippling house, and consequently in violation of the prohibition bill which he expects to see entered on the statute books of Georgia.
     If this bill is passed, it will not only be illegal for clubs to supply their members with drinks, but it will be impossible for them to provide lockers in which members may keep their own liquors and mixing materials.  It will then be possible for a man to get a drink only within the confines of his own home.

But some thought the state prohibition laws were too tight – Prohibition could have ended the sales of soft drinks in Georgia as well as alcoholic beverages.

Ocala Star, July 17, 1907 reports J.P. Knight's bill for prohibition

Ocala Star, July 17, 1907 reports J.P. Knight’s bill for prohibition

Ocala Florida
Thursday July 18, 1907

GEORGIA WILL BE A GEM

———–

Of Purest Ray Serene in Prohibition’s Diadem

———-

No Bottle in the House; No Soda at the Fount – The People will be proper to Climb Zion’s Happy Mount

Atlanta, July 16. – Senator J. P. Knight, of the seventh, from Berrien county, chairman of the state temperance committee, says he will introduce a bill tomorrow, not only to prevent the sale of liquor in private clubs but to make it a misdemeanor for any member of any club to keep a bottle in his private locker.  He thinks there is no question about its going through along with state prohibition.


Soft Drinks Will be Scarce

Atlanta, July 16. – It is claimed if the state prohibition bill passes practically all the soft drinks manufactured Georgia will have to go out of business. A small quantity of alcohol is required for the purpose of preserving the syrups, which are the basis of them, and with state prohibition in effect it will be impossible to secure it. – Savannah News.

Georgia’s prohibition law went into effect in 1908, although Knight’s proposal to tighten the prohibition  was not adopted.  For a while at least, alcohol remained available in Georgia’s social clubs, and while the presence of alcohol in sodas became widely known, the demand for soft drinks soared under Prohibition and ever after.

1907-aug-1-bainbridge-dem-prohibition-and-soda

“SOFT DRINKS.”

     Apropos of prohibition, word comes from Washington that the Internal Revenue Bureau has discovered that in many of the so-called soft drinks dispensed from soda fountains there is present alcohol in larger percent than in the same sized drink of beer.
     If the man with the soft thirst could take a deep draught from the onyx covered receptables in which certain extracts and essences are concealed in soda fountains, he would consume a drink probably from 40 to 60 percent alcohol. With the addition of fizz and the other things that are artfully welded to make a soft drink the precentage is cut down considerably.
    Local druggists, it is said, may expect to hear that the internal revenue officers have determined that mixers of these extracts and essences with carbonated water shall pay taxes for the privilege of competing with the regular bars. The internal revenue laws says that before a man may mix a drink containing alcohol he must take out a rectifier’s license.
    Now the soda water man takes essences, extracts and syrups containing alcohol, and adds water to taste to produce a beverage, and is rumored that the internal revenue commissioners will be instructed to issue rules so worded to compel druggists who desire to use the alcoholic essences to become rectifiers and also retail dealers in spirits.
     It is claimed that in some soft drinks served from soda fountains there appears 4 percent of alcohol, while beer is claimed to contain less than 3 percent.  Most of the soda fountains in Bainbridge, however, use almost entirely the fruit juices, which contain not more than a fraction of 1 percent of alcohol.
     Druggists state, however, that some extracts are still used and that in some of them the “spike” is two-thirds of the entire fluid. A small drink of the pure extract would serve much the same purpose as several mint juleps and gin rickeys mixed in the regular bars.

The Georgia legislature turned its attention to taxing the “bring your own bottle” clubs,  thus preserving the revenue of the state, the privilege of the wealthy, the future of Coca Cola, and the appearance of temperance for the lower classes.

For a time the legislature offered the “wets” some loopholes—near-beer saloons serving low-alcohol drinks were permitted, as were alcoholic beverages in locker-clubs—but these were closed in 1915. Georgia ratified the Eighteenth Amendment for national prohibition three years later. It did not vote for repeal of national prohibition, but after that occurred, Georgia repealed its own statewide prohibition in 1935. –New Georgia Encyclopedia

Even after the passage of national Prohibition, the Demon Alcoholmoonshine liquor, the kind that simply makes a man forget himself and everything else – was widely available in south Georgia, and public drunkenness in Ray City led to “free fights and a good deal of threatening and a considerable amount of gun play.” It must have been a personal embarrassment to Jonathan Perry Knight that in his own home county of Berrien the consumption of alcohol remained so rampant.

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Berrien County Cadets and Coeds at Georgia’s “West Point”

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1891. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1891. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

For over 125 years  “Georgia’s ‘West Point’” has been a college destination of choice for students of Berrien County, GA.

North Georgia Agricultural College (now known as the University of North Georgia), at Dahlonega, GA was founded in 1873 as a military academy  where military duty was obligatory for all male students over the age of 15. Cadets at the college drilled daily in artillery, infantry and other exercises.

1893-north-georgia-college-ad_tifton-gazette

1893 Tifton Gazette advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

The school’s 1938 Undergraduate Bulletin noted:

North Georgia College was originally organized and administered on a military basis which system has prevailed from the date of its founding. The college has been classified by the United States Government as an “essentially military college,” being one of eight colleges in the United States so designated. It is the only one in Georgia, and, since “essentially military colleges” endeavor to emulate the traditions of West Point, North Georgia College has well been called “Georgia’s ‘West Point.’” General Robert Lee Bullard, formerly Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science and Tactics, referred to the college as one of the two finest military schools in the country.

1910 Valdosta Times advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

1910 Valdosta Times advertisement for North Georgia Agricultural College.

Among those from Ray City who served in the Corps of Cadets at North Georgia  were Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953), Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966); William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000); James Arthur Grissett (1932-2010), and Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014).

Other cadets and coeds from Nashville, Berrien County, GA were:

  • W. M. Giddens, who pursued a business degree at North Georgia in 1898;
  • Alexander Stephens Knight (1883-1966), brother of E. M. “Hun” Knight, was a sub-freshman in 1898; became a pharmacist in Nashville, GA; later moved to Atlanta, then Palm Beach, FL.
  • Alvah William Gaskins, (1885-1934) merchant of Nashville, GA, graduated from North Georgia Agricultural College in 1907; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Archie Wardlaw Starling,  1922 sophomore cadet at NGC. Later served as editor of the Nashville Herald; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • William Lawton Clyatt, (1902-1987), of Nashville, was in the preparatory program in 1923; buried Old Providence Cemetery, Union County, FL
  • Robert Felton Bullard, (1908-1969) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later served as Director of the Southeast Region for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Junius Vanvechton Talley, (1907-1963) an NGC freshman in 1925 pursuing a B.S. in Communications; later elected mayor of Nashville, GA; buried Old City Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  •  John Parrish Knight; sophomore in 1925 was seeking a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
  • Charles Verne Parham and William Lamar Parham (1907-1932) were brothers  attending North Georgia College in 1925, Verne as a senior cadet and Lamar as a freshman. Lamar was killed in a plane crash at Randolph Field, TX in 1932.
  • Wilmot Earle Bulloch, graduated in 1928 with a B.S. in Mine Engineering;
  • Marion June Akins, 1929 NGC freshman cadet, was seeking his bachelors degree;
  • Shelby Jackson Morris was a freshman cadet and tackle on the 1930 North Georgia football team;
  • Wilson Connell entered North Georgia as College as a freshman cadet in 1937 and served in the military during WWII;
  • Marie Sirmans, a 1938 freshman coed at North Georgia College;
  • John Franklin Miller, (1921-1999),  a freshman cadet in 1939; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Donald Rowan, (1920-2006)  1939 sophomore at NGC, was a grandson of Lucius Galveston Outlaw and Della Sutton Outlaw ; joined the Army Air Corps  and was assigned duty in the Hawaiian Islands for the duration of WWII;
  • Walter W. “Buddy” Dickson, (1920-1997) in the NGC Corps of Cadets in 1939 and served in the Army Air Corps during WWII; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Donald Willis, (1921-1981) was a resident of Nashville, GA when he entered the Corp of Cadets  at NGC in 1940; served in the Army during WWII; buried Oak Ridge Cemetery, Tifton, GA.
  • Jamie Connell, (1920-1973) graduated  from NGC and enlisted in the Army in 1943, becoming a navigator-bombardier in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII;
  • John David Luke, (1921-2004) 1940 sophomore cadet, North Georgia College;  In WWII served in the U.S. Army Air Corp, P-40 Pilot Instructor, Luke Field, Arizona; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • William Henry Mathis, (1922-1993) of Nashville, GA. 1940 Freshman, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; buried Westview Cemetery, Nashville, GA
  • Edison “Eddie” Brodgon, (1918-1984), of Alapaha, GA was an NGC  sophomore cadet in 1940 – Enlisted in the Army, July 18, 1941; buried Riverside Missionary Baptist Church, Berrien County, GA
  • George W. Chism, of Nashville, GA. 1940 freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
  • Donald Keefe,  of Nashville, GA; son of turpentine operator Roland E. Keefe; 1941 sophomore cadet at North Georgia College; joined the Army Air Corps and served in Europe; died in France during WWII.
  • Jacob Jackson “Jack” Rutherford, (1924-2004), a 1942 NGC freshman Cadet. Served in the Army in WWII; buried at Douglas City Cemetery, Douglas, GA.
  • William “Harry” Luke (1923-2000),  born  in Ray City, GA; moved to Nashville, GA as a boy; 1942 Freshman cadet at North Georgia College; flew with the 390th bomber squadron during WWII; flew in the Berlin airlift, 1949; career Air Force officer; ret. 1973; buried Alabama Heritage Cemetery, Montgomery, AL.
  • William D. Alexander,   of Nashville, GA. 1942, Freshman cadet at North Georgia College.
  • Bill Roquemore (1923-1997),  of Nashville, GA. 1942, sophomore cadet at North Georgia College. Enlisted in the Army in 1943; Served in WWII as a Martin B-26 bomber pilot; married Nell Patten; operated Patten Seed company in Lakeland, GA. Later mayor of Lakeland; buried City Cemetery, Lakeland, GA.
  • James A. Grissett (1932-2010); born and raised in Ray City, GA; 1951  Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College; later received a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech.
  • Joe D. Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA; North Georgia College cadet 1949-1953; joined the Army after graduation; later moved to Rome, GA.
Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight grew up in Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA and attended North Georgia College in the 1880s (photographed 1902).

 

James A. Grissett, 1951, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College

James A. Grissett, 1951, Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College

 

Joe Donald Clements, 1931-2014

Joe Donald Clements (1931-2014), of Ray City, GA. 1953 Corps of Cadets, North Georgia College.

Jamie Connell, of Nashville, GA. 1940 sophomore at North Georgia College

Jamie Connell, of Nashville, GA. 1940 sophomore at North Georgia College.

 

 

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Jim Griner ~ Lawman

Deputy Jim Griner,  Berrien County Lawman

James Benjamin “Jim” Griner , who was Ray City, GA Police Chief in the 1940s, also served as Deputy Sheriff of Berrien County from 1905 to 1915.  (In 1915,  Griner was elected Police Chief of Nashville, GA.)  Below are a few clippings from newspapers around the region  about his time as Deputy Sheriff .

Deputy Sheriff James B. "Jim" Griner, 1906, Nashville, GA

Deputy Sheriff James B. “Jim” Griner, 1906, Nashville, GA

Griner’s ten years of deputy work were filled with escorting prisoners, working the bloodhounds, trailing chain gang escapees,  tracking arsonists, raiding gambling dens and blind tigers, gunfights with desperadoes, and more. He began his law enforcement career as a deputy for Sheriff Marion J. Kinard.

Jim Griner worked as a deputy for Sheriff Kinard, 1905.

Jim Griner worked as a deputy for Sheriff Kinard, 1905.

Tifton Gazette
March 24, 1905

Mr. I. C. Avera, for a long time deputy sheriff, is now city marshal of Nashville, and makes a model officer.  Messrs. J. A. Lindsey and J. B. Griner are Sheriff Kinard’s deputies, and are making good officers.

 

Sheriff Jim Griner and Charlie Israel, 1907

Sheriff Jim Griner and Charlie Israel, 1907

 

Tifton Gazette
April 26, 1907

Deputy Sheriff Griner went to Homerville Sunday and brought Charlie Israel back to jail. He is the young white man who dug a hole in the brick wall of the county jail and made his escape a few weeks ago. Sheriff Screven Sweat of Clinch captured him. – Nashville Herald. Israel is the young man that burglarized the store of J. B. Gunn, at Enigma, several weeks ago.

1908-jim-griner-and-ed-sutton

Tifton Gazette
September 18, 1908

 

Ed Sutton, who was tried and adjudged insane here last week, got away from Deputy Sheriff Griner at Cordele, while enroute to the asylum. The county authorities offer a reward of $25 for him. – Nashville Herald.

Sheriff Jim Griner calls out the bloodhounds, 1909.

Sheriff Jim Griner calls out the bloodhounds, 1909.

 

Waycross Journal
July 2, 1909

Nashville, Ga., July 2. – John A. Gaskins, living in the upper Tents [Tenth] district, six or eight miles east of Nashville, came here and got Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner and his blood hounds to go to his place for the purpose of tracking incendiaries who set fire to his gin house Monday night. The dogs failed to track the offender, however, and Mr. Griner returned to Nashville without a prisoner. Mr. Gaskins thinks he has a clue, as threats have been made against him because he refused to let certain parties fish in his mill pond. The ginnery, which had just been completed was a total loss.

 

Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner captures John Bradford, 1909

Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner captures John Bradford, 1909

Tifton Gazette
December 17, 1909

Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner and John Bradford went down in Clinch county Monday night and captured Dick Studstill, a desperate negro who is wanted in this county for assault with intent to murder. He resisted arrest several months ago, near Sparks, and shot at Sheriff Avera and posse who were raiding a gambling and tiger den. – Herald.

Sheriff Jim Griner in shootout with Beaty Gaskins, 1911

Sheriff Jim Griner in shootout with Beaty Gaskins, 1911

Vienna News
April 14, 1911

Sets Bullets Flying Wildly in Nashville

Adel, Ga., April 11. – News has reached this city of an affray at Nashville Saturday evening in which Beaty Gaskins, a well known and prominent young man, undertook to shoot up the town. He began by shooting at a young man named Knight, and continued to shoot until he had fired nine times. He came near hitting a clerk in Wein’s store and sent a bullet into the county school commissioner’s office in which were a number of teachers, it being the time of the monthly meeting of the teacher’s institute. He also sent a bullet into the office of J. P. Knight, ex-senator from this district. After shooting half a dozen times Gaskin directed his shots into the office of Judge W. D. Buie of the city court, hitting that official and Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner, who was there.
Mr. Griner returned the fire and slightly wounded Gaskins, was then arrested. Later he was released under bond of $10,500. He is a son of John A. Gaskins, one of the wealthiest men in Berrien county.

1913-jim-griner-and-oscar-jones

Tifton Gazette
November 7, 1913

Nashville Herald: Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner left Friday for Belleville, Illinois, in response to a telegrram from the Prison Commission advising him to go after Oscar Jones, who escaped from the Berrien county chaingang two years ago.  He is a lifetime man sent here from Fulton county in 1911.

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Deputy Sheriff Jim arrests Bob Luke, 1914

Deputy Sheriff Jim arrests Bob Luke, 1914

Tifton Gazette
June 12, 1914

Bob Luke, who shot and killed Calvin Lingo about three weeks go, was placed under arrest last week by Deputy Sheriff Jim Griner, of Berrien.  Luke says he killed Lingo in self defense while Lingo was under the influence of whiskey.  He offered to surrender but the coroner’s jury returned a verdict of Justifiable homicide and he was turned loose.  Lingo’s brother had the warrant sworn out for Luke.  George Henderson, the only eye-witness to the tragedy, has also been placed under arrest.

Prisoners escape Deputy Jim Griner, 1914

Prisoners escape Deputy Jim Griner, 1914

Atlanta Constitution
December 31, 1914

Two Prisoners Escape Berrien County Jail

Nashville, Ga., December 30. – (Special.) – J. C. Carter, a white man held in the Berrien county jail here for stealing hogs, and Capers Beach, colored, held for securing goods under false pretense, escaped late last night by sawing a bar in two and climbing to the ground on tied blankets. Love Vickers, colored, reported it to Deputy Sheriff J. B. Griner, but they had already successfully effected their escape. When last seen they were headed for Sparks on the Georgia and Florida track.

1914 Nashville Nine

At age 16 Dewey Knight was a coach and player for the Nashville High School baseball team of 1914. A son of Jonathan Perry Knight and Ada Parrish, he  was born at Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City) on May 1, 1898, but grew up in Nashville, Georgia.   Team mascot Lucius Eugene Griner was a son of James B. “Jim” Griner, who would later serve as Police Chief of Ray City.

 

1914 Nashville Nine

Nashville High School Nine.  The players in the photo are, left to right: Standing, Dewey Knight, Sub and coach; Noble Hull, pitcher and manager; Emory Gary, first base; Robert Hendricks,second base; June Norwood, short-stop; Willie Peeples, catcher and captain.  Sitting: Homer Connell, centerfield; Lucius Griner, mascot; Basom Webb, left field; Hobart Alexander, third base; Alvah Webb, right field.

Nashville High School Nine. The players in the photo are, left to right: Standing, Dewey Knight, Sub and coach; Noble Hull, pitcher and manager; Emory Gary, first base; Robert Hendricks,second base; June Norwood, short-stop; Willie Peeples, catcher and captain. Sitting: Homer Connell, center field; Lucius Griner, mascot; Basom Webb, left field; Hobart Alexander, third base; Alvah Webb, right field.

The Atlanta Constitution
March 8, 1914

Nashville High School Nine 1914

Nashville, Ga., March 7. – (Special.) The Nashville High school ball team was organized Friday, February 12. The boys elected Noble Hull manager unanimously. Willie Peeples was made captain of the squad, while June Norwood will be treasurer.

The school heretofore has not had an organized ball team, and there it is very evident that it will make a “hit” with the school as well as the surrounding community.

The teachers have all pledged themselves to do all they can for the maintenance of the organization financially and otherwise.

The team is preparing a play from which the proceeds will go for the support of said team. Other measures of obtaining funds have and will be resorted to.

The boys work together “better than any bunch that have ever worn Nashville uniforms.” They are all about the same size and are capable of understanding each other magnificently.

The boys of said team claim that they are “unbeatable” by any high school team of south Georgia. Beginning with March 14 the boys challenge any high school for one or three games.

Address all challenges to N. A. Hull, Manager

 

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Guy Stokely Selman and Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney

Guy Stokely Selman and  Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney

Guy Stokely Selman, born October 24, 1886 was a son of Joseph Landrum Selman and Nannie L. Abercrombie of Douglasville, GA.  In the early 1900s, the Selmans came to have connections with Ray City and Nashville in Berrien County, GA.

Guy Selman’s father was a doctor, and the family had many social connections with other physicians.  As Guy grew up and completed school, he and his siblings were influenced by this exposure.  The Selmans were staunch Democrats; Guy’s father, as well as his uncles James H. Selman and Thomas Hurt Selman, were Douglas County representatives to the state Democratic Convention in 1906.

Society items from the Atlanta Constitution show the mix of  Guy Selman, his brothers, sisters, cousins and classmates with the doctors and social set of Atlanta. A spring social in 1902  in honor of his sister, Bessie Selman, was attended by Guy and also by his brother Paul Selman.  Another guest of the party was his soon-to-be  brother-in-law, Dr. Foster Pierce Key:

The Atlanta Constitution
April 13, 1902

Miss Camp Entertains.

Miss Jessie Camp delightfully entertained a number of her friends last evening in honor of her guests, Miss Bessie Selman and Miss Coburn Morris, of Douglasville, at her home on Mitchell Street.     During the evening delicious refreshments were served.     The invited guests were Misses Annie Kate Bondurant, Bessie Selman, Ida Sewell, Birdie Dunlop, Coburn Morris, Bessie Northen, Annie Lou Keown, Edith Thomas, Maggie Dunlop, Alice McLauchlin, Daisy Brown, Clifford Layfield, Tenine Aderholt, May Layfield, and Beatrice Anderson and Messrs. F.P. Key, M. O. Colston, A. F. Campbell, Clevland Kiser, Emmet Harding, Paul Selman, Frank Hanle, D. H. Camp, Morris Askew, E. W. Livingston, John Keown, Charlie Wheeler, Guy Selman, John Camp, Loy Campbell, A.T. Dunlap, John Knight, Willie Selman, J. J. Barger, Irvin Barge, and Joe Keown.

In 1903 Guy’s sister, Bessie Velma Selman, married Dr. Foster Pierce Key and moved with her husband to Nashville, GA .  Guy Selman continued his social networking, while attending Mercer University.

The Atlanta Constitution
August 15, 1905

HOUSE PARTY AT CAMPBELLTON.

Campbellton, Ga.  August 14. – (Special.)  A delightful house party has been in progress at the country home of Missess Sue Ola and Carrie Henley, at Campbellton.  Those present were Mrs. R. B. Marsh and Mrs. E. A. Moore, of Atlanta; Misses Mattie Lee and Nettie Burton, of Smithville; Miss Mamie Little, of Carnesville, and Miss Elizabeth Marsh, of Atlanta; Messrs. Tom Selman, Emmet Marding and Dr. J. W. Whitley, of Atlanta; R. L. Henley, of Campbellton; Furman Bullard, J. A. Johnstone and Dr. E. A. Smith, of Palmetto;  B. H. Bomar, Guy Selman and Sanford Abercrumbie, of Douglasville.

When Bessie Selman Key died in 1907, Dr. F. P. Key continued to live in Nashville for a while, boarding with Jonathan Perry Knight and his family. In 1911 he remarried and moved to Atlanta.

After graduating from Mercer University in 1905, Guy Selman entered the Atlanta Medical College.  He must have been a good student, for he completed the four year program in only three years, graduating on April 22, 1908. (Other Ray City alumni of Atlanta Medical College include Dr. John Thomas Clower, 1862)

Guy S. Selman graduated from Atlanta Medical College

Guy S. Selman graduated from Atlanta Medical College

Shortly after graduation from Medical School, young Dr. Selman came to Ray’s Mill to enter practice.  The town, on the verge of municipal incorporation,  was being formed by the likes of Dr. Charles X. Jones, who served as its first elected Mayor.  It was situated on the route of the new Georgia & Florida Railroad, and the headlines of a local booster article  read “Ray’s Mill has Arrived.”

From the Atlanta Georgian and News, Jul. 5, 1909 — page 6, comes the following Society item:

Miss Nannie Love Selman has returned home [to Douglasville] after spending several weeks with her brother, Dr. Guy Selman, at Rays Mill, Ga. 

Dr. Guy Selman was one of the first medical doctors in the town of Ray’s Mill, GA .  He set up his office in H.H. Knight’s  old mercantile store which stood on Pauline Avenue. Dr. Selman was one of the men named to serve as city councilmen for the newly incorporated Ray City until the first elections were held on January 10, 1910.

Did Dr. Selman step out of the office and on to the diamond? Maybe. In the summer of 1909, the man on the mound for the Ray City baseball team was pitcher ‘Sellman’. But more information is needed on that point.

bat

On April 14, 1910 Guy Selman and Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney were married in Lowndes County, GA.   The bride, 23 years old, was a daughter of Patrick Mell Cheney, of Valdosta, GA.  Her father was a former school teacher from Penfield, GA who entered the insurance business in Valdosta. The groom, young doctor Selman, was  24 years old, of medium height with a stout build, brown eyes and dark hair.  The marriage ceremony was performed by  John E. Barnard  who was pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Valdosta, and  President of Oaklawn Baptist Academy, Lakeland, GA.

Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney married Dr. Guy Selman

Betsey Lurine “Bessie” Cheney married Dr. Guy Selman

In the 1910 Census, Guy S. Selman was listed as a physician practicing out of his own office.  He and  Bessie were boarding  with Austin Bridges in a house on Jones Street;  Mr. Bridges was a dry goods merchant working on his own account.

The Selman’s were prominent citizens and continued on the social of Ray City, Nashville, and Atlanta.  Mrs. Selman was a member of the Nashville Womans Club.

nashville womans club shower 1915

Nashville Womans Club Shower, 1915

In 1912, The Georgia annual : a compendium of useful information about Georgia : needed by every business and professional man in the state. A.B. Caldwell, Atlanta, Ga. listed Selman as one of three doctors in Ray City, the other two being Dr. Charles X. Jones and Dr. Manning G. Scherrer.

It appears from society page announcements in the Atlanta newspapers that the Selmans relocated from Ray City to Nashville, GA in the spring of 1912.

Atlanta Constitution
July 14, 1912

NASHVILLE, GA
A very enjoyable entertainment was given by Mrs. Guy Selman in compliment to Miss Ruth Selman, of Douglasville.  “Fishing for Love” and “Wink” were played.  Cream and wafers were served. Those present were Misses Clarice Askew, Ina Askew, Myrtle Tyson, Nettie Snead, Jewel Giddens, Ruth Selman, Tyson Fitch, Thelma Knight, and Miss Britt;  Messers. James Stephens, Noble Hull, Dewey Knight, Willie Peeples, Bob Hendricks, Dan Buie, Wallar Wood, Jessie Fitch, Maston Avera and Hobart Alexander.

The Atlanta Constitution
July 21, 1912

NASHVILLE, GA
Miss Ruth Selman, of Douglasville, who has been visiting her brother Dr. Guy Selman, has returned home….Miss Louise Cheney, of Valdosta, who has been the guest of her sister, Mrs. Guy Selman, has returned home.

By 1915, Dr. Guy Selman was exercising leadership of the Berrien County Medical Society:

Atlanta Constitution
January 15, 1915

Berrien County Physicians.

Nashville, Ga., January 15. – (Special.)  The Berrien County Medical society held its monthly session here Friday night.  Dr. G. S. Selman was elected president; Dr. Lacy Lovett, vice president, and Dr. D. E. Carter, secretary and treasurer.

The Medical Association of Georgia places Dr. Selman at Nashville in 1917, along with Dr. William Carl Rentz; the Ray City doctors at the time were Dr. Francis Marion Burkhalter and Dr. Lawson S. Rentz.

With America’s entry into World War I, the medical men of Ray City, GA were called into service, along with many other men of Berrien County. Dr. F.M. Burkhalter was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, then to France with the American Expeditionary Force.  Dr. Lawson Rentz went to Camp Wheeler, then to the Embarkation Service in New Jersey.  Dr. Gordon DeVane was  busy treating the victims of Spanish Influenza at home in Berrien County; he was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corp, but died before he was deployed.

The June 8, 1918 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association included updates on the Medical Mobilization for World War I and the Orders to Officers of Medical Reserve Corps. The Honor Roll of physicians who had applied for or accepted commissions included Dr. Guy Selman:

To Camp Jackson, Columbia, S.C., for duty, Lieut. Guy S. Selman, Douglasville, GA

WWI service record of Guy S. Selman

WWI service record of Guy S. Selman

Dr. Selman was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the Medical Corps on May 27, 1918. He was stationed at Camp Jackson, SC. By the time Lieutenant Selman, M.D. arrived at Camp Jackson, more than 42,000 men had reported there and more than 1,500 buildings had been constructed.  The base hospital was a medical complex,  with more than 80 buildings covering 12-15 acres of land.  There were 32 hospital wards adequate for the treatment of 1,000 patients.  The  hospital was staffed by about 450 men and nurses.  Selman was one of the fifty doctors and dentists assigned to the group.

That September, 200 cases of “Spanish Influenza” suddenly struck Camp Jackson.  The Spanish Flu quickly spread through the camp, infecting more than 5,000 people.   At Camp Jackson alone there were 300 deaths from the disease.   No doubt, Dr. Guy Selman played his part in treating the stricken soldiers of Camp Jackson.

1918 military hospital ward filled with

1918 military hospital ward filled with “Spanish Flu” cases.

The Spanish Flu of 1918-19 was the worst epidemic in history,  killing  over 600,000 Americans and over 40 million people world-wide. A little children’s rhyme attributed to popular comedian Joe Cawthorn appeared in print by October, 1918,  making light of the death that touched everyone:

I had a little bird,
And its name was Enza.
I opened the cage,
And in flew enza.

A month later, November 11, 1918 the Armistice ending WWI  was signed.  Lieutenant Selman’s  service at Camp Jackson continued another two month until his discharge came through January 8, 1919.  After the war, Dr. Selman and Dr. Rentz returned to Berrien County.  Dr. Burkhalter died in France of Lobar Pneumonia, probably induced by the Spanish Flu, as was Dr. DeVane’s death in October, 1918.  Many other  Ray City men were Veterans of World War I,  some gave their lives (Armistice Day Memorial to Soldiers from Berrien County, GA Killed During WWI).

As a veteran of stateside service Selman would have worn silver chevrons on the left cuff of his Army uniform denoting service on American soil. Gold chevrons were for men who saw foreign soil, worn on the left cuff to denote overseas service, or on the right to indicate a wound or gassing received in combat.  For many who did stateside service the Silver stripes instead of gold became a badge of shame.

In the 1920 census, Guy Selman continued his medical practice in Nashville, GA. His wife was teaching  public school. They were boarding with Jesse D. Louetie. Another boarder was Barnert Hall, Clerk of the Superior Court.

Some time after 1920 the Selmans moved to Florida. In 1928 Dr. Selman was elected president of the Seminole County Medical Society, Seminole County, FL.

1922 home of Dr. Guy Selman, Sanford, FL

1922 home of Dr. Guy Selman, Sanford, FL
Built in 1922, this Colonial Revival house was originally owned by Dr. G.S. Selman. There are “eyelash” dormers on both the house and garage. Read more: The Sanford Herald http://mysanfordherald.com/bookmark/691026

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Related Posts:

Trial and Incarceration of James Thomas Beagles

Jame Thomas Beagles (1861-1911)

James Thomas Beagles (1861-1911)

In October of 1899, James Thomas Beagles, aka J. T. Biggles, of Rays Mill, GA sat in the Berrien County jail in Nashville.  At that time the jailhouse was a log building that had been constructed some 25 years earlier.  Beagles was being held for trial for  the 1887 killing of his brother-in-law on the steps of Henry H. Knight’s store at Rays Mill.

At that 1899 term of the Superior Court of Berrien County,   the jail where Beagles  and 11 other prisoners awaited trial was found by the Grand Jury to be in deplorable condition.

Berrien County Grand Jury, October 1899.

Berrien County Grand Jury, October 1899.

Tifton Gazette
Oct. 13, 1899 — page 1

GENERAL PRESENTMENTS

Returned by the Grand Jury, October Term, Berrien Superior Court.

     We, the Grand Jury, chosen and sworn to serve at this term of the court beg leave to submit the following General Presentments:
     We have examined the jail of our county and find it in bad sanitary condition, owing to the size and arrangement of said building, the same being entirely too small and badly arranged, prisoners having to be crowded together, male and female. We attach no fault whatever to the sheriff and jailer in charge, believing that he is doing all in his power to keep the same in order under existing circumstances. And we recommend that our Board of County Commissioners, at as early date as is expedient, build a new jail house and procure sufficient jail cells and arrange said building and cells so as to keep sexes separate and apart, as well as white and colored persons incarcerated therein, considering as we do the present jail a disgrace to the county…

Despite the findings of the Grand Jury, it would be another four years before the now historic building now known as the “old jail” was constructed.

The Berrien Superior Court convened that fall on Monday, October 9, 1899 with Judge Augustin H. Hansell presiding, and Jonathan Perry Knight acting as Clerk of the Superior Court. The docket was full that session and the judge postponed the civil cases, dismissing the witnesses, in order to get on with the trial of the criminal cases. Among the Grand Jury members were Warren L. Kennon, Henry Griffin, and Jonathan L Herring, editor of the Tifton Gazette. Silas Tygart served as clerk, and the jury members selected for their foreman, Malcolm J. McMillian.

 Ex-Senator M. J. McMillian, of Alapaha, is not an office-seeker, but the people know him to be an honorable and upright man, and insist on having his services.  He is foreman of the grand jury this week, though he hid, in an effort to escape the honor when the jury was about to make the selection.
– Ocilla Dispatch.

In addition to the charge of murder against James Thomas Beagles, the criminal docket included: Emma Reese charged with assault and attempted murder; Jim Oscar Stearns charge with the murder of Amos White; Warren G. Moss on the charge of burglary at Lenox; Allen Cooper charged with the killing of Philip Johnson at Kissemmee, FL; Rachel Thomas on counts of assault and battery; John Davis for burglary of the store of Mr. I.D. Ford; Robert Bell for simple larceny from Mr. W.M. Thurman; North Cochran for highway robbery.

The session of the superior court drew a significant crowd, and so was also prone to interruptions of every sort.

The woman “with the hoe” turned up at the last session of Berrien superior court.  She was colored, lived near Cecil, and laid open the cheek of another woman during a rucus, with that useful plantation instrument.

The attorneys arguing before the court were colorful and well-known characters of the Wiregrass judicial circuits.  Colonel Hammond, for example, was one of the prosecuting attorneys but was himself facing prosecution for shooting and wounding Colonel A. L. Hawes at Thomasville the week before.

But it was the Beagles case that generated the most interest.  The case had dragged over a decade because of the flight and subsequent return of Beagles. Beagles was defended  by Col. William Hamilton Griffin,  who was judge of the Valdosta City Court and a former mayor of Valdosta. Col. Griffin was a native of Berrien County and had served previously as clerk of the Berrien County court and as Ordinary of Berrien County.

SUPERIOR COURT IN SESSION.

Berrien’s Mills of Justice at their Semi Annual Grind.

Berrien’s superior court convened Monday morning at ten o’clock, that grey-haired veteran of the bench, Judge Aug. H. Hansell, presiding.  Besides the county bar, those of Worth, Lowndes, Thomas, Colquitt and Albany were well represented.
   The grand jury organized by electing Hon M. J. McMillan foreman and Silas Tygart clerk, and after an able and comprehensive charge from his honor, settled down to work, with a volume of business before it.

*****

Nashville, Oct. 10. – The entire day (Tuesday) in superior court has been consumed in the trial of Thos. J. Beagles for the killing of Madison G. Pearson, at the justice court grounds at Ray’s Mill, Nov. 4th, 1891.  [Note: actual date was 1887]
   Beagles had married Pearson’s sister, and to this marriage Pearson was violently opposed.  Growing out of this opposition, there was bad blood between the two for a year or more, and Pearson had threatened Beagles’ life, and gone to his home and cursed him in the presence of his wife.
    Beagles then swore out a peace warrant against his brother-in-law, on which he was arrested and gave bond for his appearance at justice court the next day.
    In the court house the row was again raised, and Pearson invited Beagles out to fight him, starting out at the door and pulling off his coat as he did so.   As Pearson was on the steps, going down, Beagles, who was standing near, drew a pistol and shot him in the side of his head, killing him instantly.
    Beagles then went to Florida, where he staid [sic] several years, and on his return was arrested and finally admitted to bail.
    Sometime ago, Beagles’ bondsmen gave him up, and he has been in jail for two months.
At the trial to-day, the state was represented by Solicitor-Gen. Thomas and Col. W. M. Hammond, while Cols. Jos. A. Alexander and W. H. Griffin represented the defendant.
    The battle has been a hard-fought one throughout the day, and every point of the evidence thoroughly sifted.  At adjournment to-night, the fight is not concluded, Cols. Thomas and Alexander having addressed the jury, while Cols. Griffin and Hammond will address them tomorrow.

*****

Oct. 11.  –  The morning session of superior court was occupied with the speeches of Cols. Griffin and Hammond on the Beagles case.  That of Col. Griffin, for the defendant, was a masterly arrangement of law and evidence in behalf of his client, and delivered in the clear, concise manner for which Col. Griffin is so well known.
    The argument of Col. Hammond was eloquent and strong, well supported by law, and his arrangement of the prisoner was scathing and masterly.  The arguments were concluded before one o’clock, and Judge Hansell delivered his charge to the jury before adjourning for dinner.

Oct. 13 … Judge Griffin made a most eloquent and affecting appeal in behalf of his client, Beagles, for a light sentence, and every one in the court room was moved by his strong and well-chosen words.
   Sentences were then pronounced as follows…

J. A. Beagles, white, convicted of manslaughter, with recommendation, two years in penitentiary.

But James Thomas Beagles did not spend his two year sentence in the penitentiary.  The very same issue of the Tifton Gazette that carried the outcome of the October 1899 term of the  Superior Court of Berrien County also carried an interesting note on the convict lease system:

October 13, 1899 Tifton Gazette on the Convict Lease System

October 13, 1899 Tifton Gazette on the Convict Lease System

“There is a big boom in the value of state convicts.  Recently there has been a strong demand for the convicts, and lessees under the new system are anxious to get all the men that they can even at advanced prices”

Under the convict lease system, J. T. Beagles was sent to the convict camp at Fargo, GA.   G.S. Baxter & Company operated the convict camp at Fargo to provide labor for the firm’s large sawmill operation. The sawmill at Fargo was the largest in Clinch County, and by 1903 the State Prison System of Georgia was leasing more than 1,000 convicts to the firm. (see Connie Moore and the Fargo Convict Camp)

After serving his sentence, J. T. Beagles returned to Ray City to make his home and work.

Related Posts:

Jon P Knight Sought Nomination to the Bench

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Born in Rays Mill, GA, Jonathan Perry Knight rose to prominence in local and state politics, and practiced law for many years in Nashville, GA. (see Knight of Berrien ~ Jonathan Perry Knight)

When in 1921 Knight learned of the resignation of Georgia Supreme Court justice Walter Franklin George, he wrote to Senator Thomas E. Watson, seeking his recommendation for the position.  The nomination for the new justice would be made by Governor Thomas Hardwick.  Although the two had a long history of vitriolic dialogue,  Senator Watson enjoyed a congenial relationship with the Governor at the time time of Knight’s writing.  In fact, a year earlier the “Two Toms” had appeared together in Thomasville, GA .

Letter from Jon P. Knight to Thomas E. Watson, 26 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Letter from Jon P. Knight to Thomas E. Watson, 26 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jon P. Knight
Attorney at Law
Nashville, Ga.

October 26th, 1921.

Senator Thomas E. Watson,
Washington, D. C.

My Dear Senator:

                    I have just learned of the resignation of Judge Walter F. George, from the Supreme Court bench of Georgia, to take effect January 1st. next, and I am writing you for your endorsement in my behalf to Governor Hardwick, to succeed to the vacancy.  I have had more than eighteen years in active practice at the bar, in both State and Federal Courts, and feel that I am equipped with both efficiency and practice for this very important position.

                   I will be fifty years of age my next birthday, and my health is good, and can promise to the people of Georgia, should I be appointed, active, energetic, honest and faithful service.

                   I am fully aware of what I ask at your hand and promise you, that should you give me this endorsement, that neither you nor the people of Georgia shall ever have cause to regret it.

                   I cannot close the request without taking the liberty of saying to you again, as I did in the lobby of the Senate Chamber, some time ago, while in Washington, that Old Man People are forever with you in the fight you are waging in the Senate.

                  Thanking you in advance for a compliance with the above request, if you can grant it, and if so, leaving it to your best judgement as to the manner and form of endorsement,
I am,
                                      Your obedient servant,
                                      J. P. Knight

dk/jpk

 By unfortunate circumstance, the timing of Knight’s letter coincided with the falling out of the “Two Toms”:

Citing political differences with Governor Thomas Hardwick, Senator Watson declined to convey his endorsement.

Letter from Thomas E. Watson to Jon P. Knight, 29 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Letter from Thomas E. Watson to Jon P. Knight, 29 October 1921. The Thomas E. Watson Papers #755, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

October 26, 1921

Hon. J. P. Knight,
Attorney at Law,
Nashville, Ga.

My dear Mr. Knight:

Yours received.  As you have doubtless seen in the papers since your letter was written, the relation between Governor Hardwick are such that it is impossible for me to write to him on any subject whatever.

Were conditions different, I would be glad to recommend you to him for the appointment.

I am sure you will appreciate my position in view of the present status of things.

Accept my thanks for the kind personal reference made in your letter.  I am deeply appreciative of your friendship and will be glad to render you any service at any time that I can.

Yours very truly,

When Senator Watson died in 1922, it was Walter F. George who was elected to succeed him.

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Knight of Berrien ~ Jonathan Perry Knight

Jonathan Perry Knight (1872-1953)

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight, 1902.

Jonathan Perry Knight was born in Ray’s Mill, GA. in Berrien County on March 14 1872.  A son of John Graham Knight and Mary A. Davis, he was the middle of three children.  His grandfather, Levi J. Knight, served as a major in the Indian War, a major-general in the state militia,  and  as a captain in the Confederate army.

In his basic education Jonathan P. Knight attended the schools of Berrien County. When he was 16 he was presented with a prize by his teacher, W.L. Patton, “For Your Merit in School.”  The prize was a book, “The Life of Daniel Webster“, which was to have a profound and lasting affect on the young man.

Life of Daniel Webster

Life of Daniel Webster

http://archive.org/stream/lifeofdanielwebs00everiala#page/n0/mode/1up

Jonathan Perry Knight went on to study at North Georgia Agricultural College in Dahlonega, GA (now the University of North Georgia).  The college was a military academy and military duty was obligatory for all male students over the age of 15.  The cadets drilled daily in artillery, infantry and other exercises.

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1894.  Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

Cadets on parade in front of North Georgia Agricultural College, 1894. Jonathan Perry Knight, of Rays Mill, GA attended the college around the late 1880s.

Knight later attended Law School at Mercer University in Macon, GA. He was a teacher in Berrien and Lowndes Counties, “and considered the teaching profession as a sacred trust.”

On November 6, 1896 at the age of 23, he married Ada Parrish at Lois, Georgia.  That same year he was elected Clerk of the Superior Court of Berrien County for the term beginning in 1897, and moved to the county seat in Nashville, GA.  To Jonathan and Ada a son was born on May 1, 1898. This was the same day in which Commodore George Dewey led US Naval forces to a decisive victory over the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manilla Bay.  Just a few weeks earlier, the Spanish-American War had broken out and the newspapers of the time were full of sensationalism. No where was there greater fervor than in Georgia.  “When the United States became involved in war with Spain, Georgia furnished according to population more volunteers than any other State of the Union.”

It seems that the war was paramount in the minds of the Knights, as they expressed their patriotism by naming their new son Dewey Knight, in honor of the nation’s new naval hero. The couple had three additional children, Thelma, Jonathan, and Nell.

Jonathan Perry Knight continued to serve as the Clerk of the Superior Court in Berrien County until 1900, when he aspired to higher political office.  In February, 1900 The Atlanta Constitution reported:

“It is also very probably that Mr. John P. Knight, at present clerk of Berrien superior court, will offer as a candidate for representative in the general assembly. It is not known as yet who will oppose him, but there likely will be one or more opponents.”

As expected J.P. Knight did contend for the house seat, and his opponents in the short campaign were W.L. Kennon and H. K. Hutchinson of Adel.  Ballots were cast on May 15, 1900 and a large voter turn out was reported for Berrien County. On the morning of May 16th, The Atlanta Constitution reported that Knight was elected to the Georgia General Assembly as the Representative from Berrien County.

Representative Knight took to his new office with relish.  During the passage of the Depot Bill, his sensibilities were apparently offended by the “lobbyism and the use of whiskey.” “J.P. Knight, being disgusted with the way things were going, sent to the speaker’s desk a privileged resolution to have the hall cleared of all save those entitled to seats, which when read by the speaker, was refused recognition.”  Apparently, when it came to a question of whiskey,  the other legislators didn’t see eye to eye with the freshman representative from Berrien.  Later, Knight would write a letter charging that there was lobbying and outright “drunkeness” in the Georgia House of Representatives on the day the Depot Bill was passed.

Among his other legislative activities, he was on the legislative committee that visited Dahlonega, GA in December 1901 to inspect the North Georgia Agricultural College. His position on that committee was fitting, since he attended college in Dahlonega.  Georgia’s Public Men 1902-1904 noted,  “He took a prominent part in the deliberation of the House during his first term and also in the recent campaign for the governorship.”

In a report filed from Tifton, GA, The Atlanta Constitution of March 4, 1902  announced that Knight would seek re-election.  Among his expected opponents was Joseph A. Alexander, who had three years earlier represented Ray City murder defendant, J. T. Biggles.

“J.P Knight announces himself for reelection to the house, and it is said that he will be opposed by either Joseph A. Alexander formerly senator, John R. McCranie , former representative, or  F.M. Shaw, Jr., chairman board of county commissioners, who has represented Berrien in the legislature several years ago.  All are prominent and popular and the race for representative should be lively indeed.”23

In fact, the strongest challenge to Knight’s re-election bid was M.S. Patten. As voters went to the polls in June 1909, The Atlanta Constitution printed Berrien election reports filed from from Tifton, GA:

“The race is very close between J.P. Knight and M.S. Patten for representative, with chances in favor of Knight.  When all the votes were counted J.P. Knight was re-elected to the House of Representatives in the Georgia General Assembly. He was appointed to serve on the committees for: Immigration, Invalid Pensions; Mines and Mining; Roads and Bridges; and, Wild Lands.  In the description of the Honorable J.P. Knight given in Georgia’s Public Men, his occupation was given as “farmer and cotton buyer. “

In September of that year, Honorable John P. Knight was in Macon, Georgia where he was entering the study of law at Mercer College. He was hailed in the newspapers as ” one of the most influential members of the next house. His past record in the legislature is highly creditable to him.” Nine months later, in June of 1903 J.P. Knight was among 37 new attorneys who were graduated from Mercer.  The newspaper announcement observed that 24 of the 37 students had college degrees. Knight was one of two married men in the graduating class. The paper noted that as a member of the Georgia legislature, “he has kept the class and professors posted on the acts of Georgia’s lawmakers.” In the individual records of men, Knight was honored thus,

“Hon. J.P. Knight, representative of the state legislature from Berrien county, will receive his diploma with all honor and glory. Mr. Knight, like all modern politicians, gets along with all the boys. He is one of the highest men in the class. He attended college at Dahlonega. In 1896 he was elected clerk of the superior court of Berrien County and held that office until 1900, when he was elected to the state legislature, where he has been ever since. In spite of the fact that the gentleman from Berrien attended to his legislative duties during the last session, he will be honored with a degree. His friends at Nashville, Ga. will be glad to know that he intends returning home to practice his profession.”

Knight was admitted to the Bar of Georgia in April of 1903, and began to practice law in Nashville, the courts of Georgia, and in Federal Court.

In the Georgia state election of 1904, Knight put in for a third term in the term in the House of Representatives in the Georgia General Assembly.  Challenging for the seat was C.W. Fulwood.  With votes being cast on April 20th,  the Atlanta Constitution called the election for the challenger, ” incomplete returns from one of the hardest fought campaigns ever held in Berrien indicate the election of C. W. Fulwood over J.P. Knight for representative by about 200 majority.”  But the next day, with all votes counted Knight was declared the winner.

That year J. P. Knight also served on a local Berrien county committee to solicit and collect funds for the construction of a monument to the confederate general John B. Gordon.

Back in the Georgia Assembly for 1905, Knight served on several standing House Committees. “Knight of Berrien” served on the House standing Committees on Corporations, Education, Penitentiary, Immigration, Manufacturers, Blind Asylum, Auditing, and the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

With the following election of 1906, he was elected to a term in the Georgia Senate. In an interesting note, the Nashville Herald reported on August 13, 1909, “Hon. Jon P. Knight and County Treasurer D.D. Shaw went to Atlanta Tuesday night to help sing the Doxology at the closing of the Georgia Legislature.”

In 1907 J.P. Knight presided as Mayor of Nashville.  He was a member of the state Democratic executive committee, and attended the committee meeting of  April, 1908.  In October he was back in Atlanta.

Atlanta Georgian and News, Oct. 23, 1908 — page 11
Senator Knight Here.
Senator John P. Knight, of Berrien county, who figured prominently in the settlement of the convict lease legislation when that matter was before the state senate, was a visitor at the capitol Friday. He came on business connected with a pardon and was in consultation with both the members of the prison commission and the governor.

In 1909 it was rumored in local politics reported in the Atlanta Constitution that he would run for Solicitor General of the Circuit Court in Nashville, a position being vacated by Will Thomas in a bid for the judgeship of the court.

Atlanta Georgian and News, Oct. 1, 1909 — page 15
Hon. J.P. Knight Ill.
Nashville, Ga., Oct. 1 Hon J.P. Knight, who has represented Berrien county in the lower house and in the state senate, is very ill at his home in Nashville.

He was a Judge of the City Court of Nashville, Judge of Alapaha Judicial Circuit, and he served as Chairman of the Trustees of the City Schools of Nashville, GA for many years.

He put his hat in the ring in 1910 to run for U.S. congressman for the  Second Congressional District to fill out the unexpired term of the late James M. Griggs.  He won the Berrien County vote by a landslide but it wasn’t enough to carry the district.

Ada Parrish Knight died February 1913 in Berrien Co., Ga.

Children of Ada Parrish and Jonathan Perry Knight:

  1. Dewey Knight 1898 – 1983 Spouses: Laura FRASEUR
  2. Thelma Knight 1901 – 1983 Spouses:  Joseph Stanley UPCHURCH
  3. Nell “Nellie” Knight 1905 – 1996  Spouse:  George ERICKSON
  4. Jonathan P. Knight 1907 – 1984  Spouses: Elizabeth BAKER

Jonathan Perry Knight  again ran for state office and was elected the Berrien Representative to the Georgia Assembly for the 1915-1916 term.  He returned again for the 1919-1920 term.

In the 1920’s, Jonathan Perry Knight and his son, Dewey Knight, had a law practice together in Nashville.  It was not unusual to see the law firm of Jno. P. and Dewey Knight mentioned in the legal advertisements in the Nashville Herald as representing the plaintiff in some divorce action, or offering to negotiate farm loans.

In 1924 he returned to the bench to served out an unexpired term as Judge of the Superior Court, and later that year he was elected to a subsequent term serving until December 31,1928.

Jonathan Perry Knight

Jonathan Perry Knight

Following the loss of his first wife  Ada in 1914 J. P. Knight married again, to Gladys Brooks. They had one son, Jack Knight, who served as an Air Force Colonel.

Jon P. Knight died December 28, 1953.

In retrospection, the Historical Notes of Berrien County observed, “He enjoyed traveling, fishing, gardening, reminiscing with old friends, and the radio; he loved Georgia, Berrien County, family, and friends with deep devotion; he despised hypocrisy, snobbery and laziness. He lived in Berrien County all his life – was a real Berrien County product, boy and man.”

Cite: Georgia. (1927). Georgia’s official register. Atlanta: The Dept.].pg 117-118SUPERIOR COURTSALAPAHA CIRCUITJONATHAN PERRY KNIGHT, Nashville, Judge. Born Mch. 14, 1872 at Rays Mill, Berrien Co., Ga. Son of John Graham Knight (born June 23, 1832 in Berrien Co., Ga.; lived at Rays Mill, Ga.; served the four years of the War Between the States in Stonewall Jackson’s Corps; died May 8, 1908) and Mary (Davis) Knight (born near Tallahassee, Leon Co., Fla.; died Sep. 19,1902). Grandson of Levi J. Knight (born Sep. 1, 1803; senator. Lowndes Co.. 1832, 1834, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1853/54, 1855/56; senator, 5th Dist., 1851/52; member. Constitutional Convention 1868; major-general, 6th Div., Ga. Militia, Dec. 4, 1840-; died Feb. 23, 1870) and Ann D. Knight, and of James and Rena Davis, who lived near Valdosta, Ga.Educated in local schools. North Ga. Agr. College, and Mercer University (law course). Began the practice of law July 13, 1903 at Nashville, Ga.

Married (1) Nov. 3, 1896 Ada E. Parrish (Nov. 1880-Feb. 12, 1914), dau. of John A. Parrish; married (2) June 21, 1915 in Jacksonville, Fla.,Gladys Brooks (born Nov. 5, 1893). Children by first marriage: Dewey of Miami, Fla.; Thelma (Mrs. J. S. Upchurch), Thomasville, Ga.; Nell of Miami, Fla.; John of Miami, Fla.; by second marriage, one child. Jack, age 6 years.Baptist. Democrat. Clerk, Superior Court, Jan. 1, 1897-Oct. 20, 1900; member. House of Rep., Berrien Co., 1900-01, 1902-03-04, 1905-06. 1915-15 Ex.-16-17 Ex., 1919-20; senator, 6th Dist., 1907-08-08 Ex; chairman, board of education, Nashville, eight years; judge, Alapaha Cir. Oct. 21, 1924-date (term expires Jan. 1, 1929).