Ray City Christmas 1959

Rossie Futch celebrates Christmas 1959 with his grand daughter Lee, and her new baby doll.

Rossie Futch and his granddaughter on Christmas Day, 1959 at Tallahassee, FL

Rossie Futch and his granddaughter on Christmas Day, 1959.

Rossie Futch (1899-1968) was a native of Berrien County and a resident of Ray City, GA for 50 years.  His second wife was Lessie Guthrie Miley.  After 1950, the Futch Residence was at 406 J0nes Street (now 507 Jones Street).

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Juanita King was at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

Juanita King was with her parents, James Ulmer King and Mabel King, at Pearl Harbor where Ulmer was stationed when the Japanese bombed on December 7, 1941.  In the days after the bombing, the women and children were all sent back to the mainland.  Juanita King came to Ray City, GA where she lived with Lessie Guthrie Miley, and her children, David and Diane.

Juanita King, daughter of Ulmer and Mabel King, lived in Ray City, GA as a young girl.

Juanita King, daughter of Ulmer and Mabel King, lived in Ray City, GA as a young girl. Juanita was at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

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Ray City Carnival Photos

Ray City Carnival Photos

Each year the traveling carnival came to Ray City, GA.  One of the attractions was a photo booth where patrons could have little souvenir photos taken.  This small collection  of “carnival” photos is from the 1930s and 1940s.

Lucinda Elizabeth Guthrie and grandson Tommy Guthrie, son of Perry Guthrie. Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Lucinda Elizabeth Guthrie and grandson Tommy Guthrie, son of Perry Guthrie. Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Lessie Guthrie. Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Lessie Guthrie. Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

 

Frenchlyn Guthrie. Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Frenchlyn Guthrie. Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

 

Lessie Guthrie and daughter, Diane Miley.

Lessie Guthrie and daughter, Diane Miley.

 

Diane Miley, Ray City, Berrien County, GA circa 1934.

Diane Miley, Ray City, Berrien County, GA circa 1934.

 

Diane Miley, Ray City, Berrien County, GA circa 1940.

Diane Miley, Ray City, Berrien County, GA circa 1940.

 

A Ray City Engagement

Patricia Diane Miley Engaged to James Joseph Sizemore

A June 14, 1951 newspaper clipping reported the engagement:

Miss Patricia Diane Miley to Wed James Joseph Sizemore

    Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Futch of Ray City, announce the engagement of their daughter, Patricia Diane Miley, to James Joseph Sizemore, son of Mrs. Maude Sizemore of Nashville.  The marriage to be solemnized at an early date.

Lessie & Rossie Futch at Home on Possum Creek

Lessie Guthrie and Rossie Futch were long time residents of Ray City, GA.  In the 1940s they lived for a short time in a small home on Possum Creek Road.  This house was located on the farm property of  Jim and Stell Swindle.

L to R: Lucinda Elizabeth Guthrie, Rossie Futch, Lessie Guthrie Futch.  Rossie and Lessie lived at this house on Possum Creek road near Ray City, GA for a short time in the 1940s.

L to R: Lucinda Elizabeth Guthrie, Rossie Futch, Lessie Guthrie Futch. Rossie and Lessie lived at this house on Possum Creek road near Ray City, GA for a short time in the 1940s. Later they lived in town on Jones Street,Ray City.

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.

 

John Guthrie ~ Ray City’s Musician Extraordinaire

An old newspaper clipping tells the story of John Guthrie, one of the Guthrie clan of Ray City, GA  and brother of Effie Guthrie Knight.

John Guthrie, Ray City, GA

John Guthrie, Ray City, GA

RAY CITY – It was another typical Ray City weeknight with lots of pickin’ and grinnin’ coming from the back room studio of John Guthrie,  country storekeeper and musician extraordinaire.

Guthrie is a local music legend, dating back 20 years and more when he would teach public school classes of 30 kids – some tone deaf – to play guitar.

Musicians from hereabouts, nearby towns like Lakeland, Valdosta and Adel, gather nightly in Guthrie’s cozy studio –  a slightly oversized room crammed with instruments, especially guitars.

Other folks come too; they want to listen and learn. Guthrie teaches “all fretted instruments and saxophone,” his card says.

But he has strict rules, “teaching only on Saturdays and Sundays. And I won’t teach a kid to play piano. They can’t reach an octave,” he declared.

Guthrie figured he could have easily made the big time long ago… if he had been willing to turn his back on his beloved Ray City and south Georgia.

“This is the best place in the world,” he exclaimed.

It was the tug of Ray City friendships which brought the native son home from a couple of years of drifting with different bands through Florida.

Those were lean times, Guthrie recalled, back during the Depression.

More than once he earned a free supper by masquerading as Jimmy Rogers, a country and western pioneer referred to “as the grandfather of folk music” by Guthrie.

People believed Guthrie when he introduced himself as Rogers whose plaintive ballads seemed to help sooth the Depression’s wounds.

“I’d play and sing. It wasn’t anytime before we’d get a big crowd around. Someone would come along and ask me home for supper,” he recalled.

Guthrie considers himself a very honest man. But those tough days put rigorous demands upon a young musician.

“I was hungry boy. I tell you, I was hungry.”

Conveniently, Guthrie had mastered the guitar by playing along with Jimmy Rogers recordings on an old windup Victrola.

Guthrie explained he could have stayed with the band. Several friends did make it to the big time, finding spots in the Nashville scene or with television or radio.

Although the days of  “all night dances” had an appeal, Guthrie explained he needed something more stable for when he got married.

“Of course, at that time I wouldn’t have married the Queen of Sheba.  I was just on my own without responsibility, playing music and having a good time.”

But a pretty South Carolina girl, vacationing in Winter Haven, Fla., derailed Guthrie’s career plans.

“She smiled at me while the band was on intermission. I went over and we had a talk,” he recalled.

Actually it was several years before Guthrie and the young woman from Chesterfield, S.C. married.

She returned home, but they corresponded.

“Then one day I went up and got her and brought her back to Ray City,” he said.

Guthrie called his wife “my first love.”

“But an old Spanish guitar is my second love,” he said.

“A guitar can talk back to you,” he explained. “It can cry with you, sing with you, be happy with you. There’s no other instrument that can produce the twangy sounds of an old Spanish guitar.”

Electric guitars also have a hold on Guthrie’s affections, but, he noted, “a guitar loses something out of its sound when you use an amplifier.”

Guthrie loves country music. But he also plays classical, Spanish, Mexican and gypsy style guitar music.

And the pop songs of his youth, “songs like Stardust,” he said, “had something to them.”

Contemporary music, he said, is based upon three chords.

“There’s too much repetition,” he complained.

“But those old jazz bands … when they put out a tune, it had something in it.”

Years ago, Lessie Guthrie Futch wrote in the margins of that newspaper clipping:

 “My youngest brother. If he was hungry, he should have been home on the farm with the family picking cotton.”

In his troubadour days, John hung with the ‘Genteel’ set.  While all his brothers wore overalls and worked the farm, he wore a white sports coat and worked the dance halls and social events. But later, he worked hard running a business and working in music to support his family.

http://ia700204.us.archive.org/2/items/JimmyRogers-DaddyAndHome1928/JimmyRogers-DaddyAndHome1928.mp3

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Ferris Moore ~ Ray City Iceman

Ferris Moore (1906-1978)

Born Feb 17, 1906, Ferris Moore was the son of Hattie and J. Lacy Moore, and the grandson of Rachel J. Shaw and James Burton Moore.

About 1929  Ferris C. Moore married Bertice Vickers. The couple first made their home not far from Ray City in Lois, GA  where Ferris worked as a farmer.  Later, they moved to Ray City to live next door to Ferris’ father.  Their house was on the south side of Main Street and just east of Cat Creek.

Home of Ferris and Bertice Moore. Ray City, GA.

Home of Ferris and Bertice Moore. Ray City, GA.

In Ray City, Ferris Moore worked as an iceman. He delivered ice to local residences every other day.  He had an icehouse located on Paralleled Street, next to the tracks of Georgia & Florida Railroad.  The icehouse was a small shed, perhaps 10 by 10 feet. There was a small porch that served as a loading dock.

The  ice came from an ice plant in 300 pound blocks, and the iceman used an ice pick to cut what ever size blocks were needed. An eight pound block of ice sold for a nickel. The ice delivery man worked alone, with the ice loaded on an open truck and covered with a tarp.  Most people had an “ice box”  that served as a refrigerator of sorts,  and an eight  pound block of ice would last just about two days.

The 1940 census of Ray City shows Ferris Moore was a businessman and employer, managing a cold storage facility.  His father, James Lacy Moore was working as an ice dealer.

At times, Ferris Moore took handyman jobs in Ray City.  In 1951, when Rossie and Lessie Futch moved the home  at 507 Jones Street, Ferris Moore helped to paint the interior.

Ferris Moore died July 1, 1978 in Ray City, GA.  He was buried at New Ramah Cemetery.

Ferris G. Moore and Bertice Vickers Moore, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

Ferris G. Moore and Bertice Vickers Moore, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia

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Addie Hodges Hardie of Ray City, GA

Addie B. Hodges was born March 15, 1889 in Lowndes County, GA.  When she was a young woman, she moved with her family  to Hahira, GA.   Her father, Irvin “Plimp” Hodges, was one of the merchants in town. In the mercantile business he probably had contact with salesmen in the drygoods line; salesmen like Gordon Hardie. At any rate, Addie and Gordon became aquainted and, by and by, they were married.

Marriage Certificate of Gordon Vancie Hardie and Addie B. Hodges

 Gordon Vancie Hardie and Addie B. Hodges were wed on November 25, 1912 in Lowndes County, GA. Perry T. Knight, Minister of God and native of Ray’s Mill, GA  (nka Ray City), performed the ceremony.

It seems that by the time they married, Gordon had already moved to Ray City, where he had gone into business for himself. 

 The Hardies where part of the social scene in Berrrien county. Although the press didn’t get their name right in the society item below, it was just one of many errors:

Atlanta  Constitution, Feb 8, 1914, pg 8 M
Nashville (news items)

Rays Mill was well represented at the carnival last week. Misses Annie Mae Carter, Margie Dasher, Pearl Hardie Knight, Mr. and Mrs. G. V. Harvie, W. H. LuckieGeorge Norton, J. J.  and J. S. Clements and C.B . Shaw were among the visitors.

 

The year 1919 was a difficult one for the Hardies. That summer, they lost an infant boy. The babe was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

 Sometime after 1924 the Hardies purchased a big white house with a high roof, on the north side of Jones Street on the block between Ward street and Samuel Street.  The house was originally built about 1917 for Rachel and Francis Marion Shaw (See Francis Marion Shaw Historical Site by Brian Shaw).   The Hardies occupied the house for many years. They kept a big garden on the lot west of the house, on the corner of Ward and Jones Street.

Ray City, GA home built circa 1917 for Francis Marion and Rachel Horne Shaw was later the residence of Gordon V. Hardie and wife, Addie Hodges Hardie. Image courtesy of http://berriencountyga.com/

Gordon Vancie Hardie died March 27, 1937 at just 46 years old. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Gordon Vancie Hardie (1890-1937), Beaver Dam Cemeter, Ray City, GA

 In the 1950s, the widow Addie B. Hardie was a dear friend and neighbor to Lessie Guthrie Futch.  Lessie and Rossie Futch lived first in a small house next door to the Hardies on the east, then after 1951 directly across Jones Street, opposite the Hardie residence.  Addie Hardie was a frequent visitor to the Futch home.  Most afternoons, Mrs. Hardie would cross the street to visit with Lessie, and to have one of Lessie’s hot baked biscuits. When Lessie’s daughter happened to be visiting, she would do Mrs. Hardie’s hair.

Addie Hodges Hardie died October 9, 1972.  She was buried next to her husband at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Addie Hodges Hardie (1889-1972), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

The Shaw/Hardie house on Jones Street was destroyed by fire in 1972, and the car shed seen in the background in the photo above was demolished in 2010. The lot where they stood is still vacant.  The Hardie’s big garden is now occupied by a modern brick house.

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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/