James Arthur Grissett, Sr.

James Arthur Grissett (1900-1983)

James Grissett, Sr. was a mail carrier serving the Ray City area, and for some time he served as a U.S. Postmaster.  His wife, Lillie Crum Grissett, was known throughout the community for her kindness and assistance to those less fortunate. For years, she played the organ at Ray City Baptist Church. The Crum family had an automotive business in Lakeland.

James Arthur Grissett was a son of Sarah Martha Hendrix or Hendricks (1881-1975) and Lucian Hall Grissett (1862-1935). His father, Lucian, was born during the Civil War in North Carolina. His mother was a native of Georgia. As a boy, James A. Grissett lived with his family in Tattnall County, GA where his father operated a turpentine still and James attended school. The family lived in a rented home on Railroad Street in Claxton, GA where they were enumerated in 1910.

1910 Census enumeration of James Arthur Grissett in the household of his father, Lucian Hall Grissett, at Claxton, GA.

1910 Census enumeration of James Arthur Grissett in the household of his father, Lucian Hall Grissett, at Claxton, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po212unit#page/n642/mode/1up

Some time before 1920, James’ parents moved the family to Berrien County, GA and made their home in the Upper 10th District. At the enumeration of the 1920 census, Lucian Grissett was working there as a foreman for a turpentine operation, but by this time James had left his father’s household. In 1920, 19 year-old James A. Grissett was boarding with the Henderson family in the Mud Creek community, Clinch County, GA.  James Henderson was the manager of a naval stores outfit, and James Grissett was the commissary manager. The Henderson house was located on the Dupont Sirmans Road.

1920 Census enumeration of James Arthur Grissett, Mud Creek community, Clinch County, GA.

1920 Census enumeration of James Arthur Grissett, Mud Creek community, Clinch County, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu244unit#page/n18/mode/1up

By 1922, James’ parents had moved to Ray City, GA where Lucian Hall Grissett attended the Missionary Baptist Church. About 1928, James A. Grissett married Lillian Crum. She was a daughter of Thomas J. Crum, subject of previous posts.

By 1930, James and Lillie Grissett had also relocated to Ray City, where they owned a home valued at $2200. James was employed as a letter carrier.

1930 Census enumeration of the Grissett Family in Ray City, GA.

1930 Census enumeration of the Grissett Family in Ray City, GA.

http://www.archive.org/stream/georgiacensus00reel338#page/n355/mode/1up

The Grissetts owned a large farm at Ray City, GA situated between Beaverdam Creek and Johnson Street. This land also had some frontage on Pauline Street and on Main Street. A house located on Pauline Street across from the Beaver Dam Cemetery was owned by the Grissetts, although they never lived there. The house may have been occupied by tenant farmers who rented some of the Grissett land.

James Arthur Grissett and Lillie Crum were the parents of five children.

  1. James A. “Jimmy” Grissett
  2. Anna Martha Grissett
  3. Elinor Grissett
  4. Gloria Jane Grissett
  5. Stephen Grissett

For many years, the Grissetts employed  a Mrs. Burnett. Mrs. Burnett’s son was a tenant farmer with the Grissetts. She lived in a house on Main Street, Ray City, GA. She walked to work every day, to the Grissett farm on the south side of Beaverdam Creek. Part of her job was to milk the cows, and she would bring home a pail of milk every day. She and her husband frequently made their evening meal on the fresh milk and cornbread.

Grissett-James-Arthur-and-Lillie-Crum

Graves of James Arthur Grissett, Sr. and Lillie Crum Grissett.  Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

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Thomas Jackson Crum

Thomas Jackson Crum, image detail courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation  http://berriencountyga.com/

Thomas Jackson Crum

A recently encountered newspaper clipping from the Clinch County News gives the obituary of  Thomas Jackson “Jack” Crum.

Jack Crum was a prominent farmer, banker, cotton merchant, and community leader.  He lived near Ray City, Georgia in that part of Berrien County that was cut into Lanier county in the 1920s.

Jack Crum was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City.

Clinch County News
December 24, 1943

Mr. Thomas J. Crum, prominent Lanier county citizen, died at his home near Lakeland, on the 9th inst. after suffering a heart attack about twelve hours earlier. He had been about his usual business the day before dying next morning about 7 o’clock.  He was a native of Tift county and was 73 years old and a member of the county board of Education and had served as a deacon in the Ray City Baptist Church a number of years. His wife and three children survive.

Grave marker of Annie Boyette and Thomas Jackson Crum, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Grave marker of Annie Boyette and Thomas Jackson Crum, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Thomas Jackson Crum was  born  September 4, 1870  a  son of Amanda Melviney Willis (1850-1922) and  Benjamin Harmon Crum (1842 – 1924).  His father was a confederate veteran who volunteered with Company I, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment. Benjamin H. Crum was captured along with Jesse Bostick (subject of previous posts (see Jesse Bostick and the Battle of Cedar Creek) and other men of the 50th Regiment  at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia in 1864 and imprisoned at Point Lookout, MD. Benjamin Harmon Crum survived the war and returned to his family in Tift County.

Thomas Crum and his sister Leonia Crum married two siblings in the Boyette family.  In 1895 Thomas Crum married Annie Boyette (1873-1950), and in 1899 Leonia Crum married Jesse Thomas Boyette.  The Boyettes were children of Jemima Taylor (1842 – 1926) and William Hill Boyett (1834 – 1897) of Ray City.  Their father also was a confederate veteran who  volunteered with  Company I, Georgia 50th Infantry Regiment and was detailed as a shoemaker during the Civil war.

Left to Right: John C. Crum, Thomas Jackson Crum, Annie Boyette Crum, Lillie Crum, Benjamin Hill Crum, Nancy Della Knight Crum, Mae Crum, Mary Crum, Delilah Boyette Gaskins, and Lester Gaskins.

Thomas Jackson Crum Family at the old home place.  Left to Right: John C. Crum, Thomas Jackson Crum, Annie Boyette Crum, Lillie Crum, Benjamin Hill Crum, Nancy Della Knight Crum, Mae Crum, Mary Crum, Delilah Boyette Gaskins, and Lester Gaskins. Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation  http://berriencountyga.com/

Ben Hill Crum, Jr., grandson of Thomas Jackson Crum, has prepared a sketch of his grandfather’s life which appeared in the family history Crum Family of The South.  This sketch is excerpted below; those interested in further Crum family history may view the complete text at Family History Archive.

Crum Family of the South

Crum Family of the South

Thomas Jackson Crum, the son of Amanda Willis and Benjamin Crum (CSA) of Tift County, was one of the pioneer citizens of Lanier County moving here from Tift County in the early 1890s.  At that time he was a part time tombstone salesman and farm hand.
    He married Annie Boyett, daughter of the Honorable William Hill Boyett in 1895.  They had five children, the late Ben Hill Crum, Mrs Mary Robinson of Lakeland, the late Annie Mae Giddens, the late John C. Crum and Mrs Lillie Grissett of Ray City.  There were seventeen grandchildren.
    In 1906, Mr. Crum purchased land from Thomas Murphy and in 1909 purchased adjacent land from Hill Boyett making up what became the Crum Farm. This size farming operation was referred to as a “seven horse” farm.  Mr. Crum raised livestock, grew tobacco, corn and other farm products. He cured meat and bottled syrup which he sold along with other varieties of farm products.  In a 1936 edition of Lanier County News, he was quoted as follows, “I have not purchased a pound of meat since the second year I was married and I do not consider a mana good farmer who cannot raise plenty of meat and food for his family and have some to sell.”
    Mr. Crum was one of the seven original stockholders of the Bank of Milltown. He was very prosperous as a cotton speculator, buying cotton when the price was low, storing it and selling it at a later date at a considerable profit.
    Mr. Crum was community minded and interested in the education and guidance of young people.  He served on the Lanier County Board of Education for twenty years and was Chairman of the Board when he died.  Mr. and Mrs. Crum were active members and supporters of the Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Ray City.  He served as a deacon for many years.  Mr. and Mrs. Crum are buried at Beaver Dam Church.
    The Crum family resided in a peg and groove house which was constructed in the 1830s for a time while their farm home was being built.  The family occupied the new home about 1913.  The residence was constructed from timber grown on the farm. The old house which served as a pack house after the new residence was constructed had been donated to the Agrirama at Abraham Baldwin College  where it is now preserved an represents a part of the history of the time.  The Crum family residence was destroyed by fire in April 1974.  The farm located some 3 1/2 miles west of Lakeland off the Ray City Road, is presently owned by G. L. Gaskins.
    Jackson Crum, “Jack”, as his “Annie” called him, will be remembered for many things by his family and the friends who knew him well.  “He was a quiet man most of the time, but when he spoke, we listened. He had the clearest blue eyes, was tall and thin, and had a strength you could see and feel.  A strength of character with a strong sense of right and wrong was always apparent.  You always paid your debts, went to church, told the truth, loved your family, were honest in business, worked hard, played little, wasted nothing, and believed in God. Always.”

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Anna Martha Grissett at Georgia State Womans College

Ray City History Anna Martha Grissett

Anna Martha Grissett, 1939. 5th Grade class photo, Ray City School. Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Anna Martha Grissett, 1939. 5th Grade class photo, Ray City School. Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Anna Martha Grissett was born December 31, 1928, to James Arthur Grissett and Lillian Crum.  She was born just in time to be the first birth announced in the Ray City News newspaper, which began publication January 3, 1929. Ann attended the Ray City School, where classmates say she was a very bright student.  When she was ready for high school, her parents arranged for her to attend school in Valdosta. As young people, Anna Martha Grissett, Jimmy Grissett,  Diane MileyCarroll Brown GuthrieHerman Knight Guthrie,  and some of the Knight cousins spent summers working at the tobacco barn on Paul Knight’s farm out on Clabberville Road (aka Johnson Street), southeast of Ray City.  At the time this land was being farmed by Herman Guthrie, son-in-law of Paul Knight. After high school, Ann Grissett attended Georgia State Womans College at Valdosta, GA.  The personal mentions in the June 17, 1948 edition of the Nashville Herald told of her plans for the summer break.

1948 Ann Grissett at Georgia State Womans College

1948 Ann Grissett at Georgia State Womans College

 Miss Ann Grissett, a student of G. S. W. C. Valdosta, is spending this week at Ridge Crest, N. C. after which she will spend her vacation at home with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Grissett, in Ray City.

Ann Grissett subsequently attended the University of Georgia, graduating from that institution in 1950.  She later moved to Atlanta where she was employed by Amana Refrigeration, Inc.

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