Bayings from Green Bay, GA ~ 1896

Green Bay Community of Berrien County, GA

Green Bay, now long gone, was once a community in south Berrien County, near Ray City, GA.  In the late 1800s, Green Bay had its own newspaper, the Green Bay Herald,  and Green Bay School was attended by many students associated with the town of Ray City.

Tifton Gazette
March 13, 1896

Bayings

        GREEN BAY, March 10. – Mr. P. T. Knight, one of Green Bay’s students received a very interesting letter from one of Lowndes county’s Cahoosiers.  He puts a very fantastical name to his epistle.  The initials of so called name is J. R. F. He offers a reward for the one who will give the Cracker the right name.
Mr. Jasper Cook, had the misfortune to lose a five-year-old mule last Friday, apparently the mule was all right until a few hours before he died.
Well what are the people of Green Bay community going to have connected with their academy next? They have two or three societies running there, and Monday morning they rolled in a $125 organ. We know of nothing better to elevate the growing youths than good societies, and there is nothing like having their wants supplied.
This is the third school in which I’ve been instructed by Prof. J. M. Patten and I must say that this one is quite different from any of the others. Why? He has adopted the method of working all problems mentally. Some might say that students could not do that, but it is an evident fact that he has five in his school that have worked up to 167 page in Wentworth’s arithmetic.
The Green Bay Singing Society convenes next Sunday, and a large attendance is expected.
The Green Bay Literary Society will hold their meetings on Friday evening instead of Saturday.  We have made a division in our society. One for the larger members, known as the Advanced Class literary and the other as the Juvenile Society, as the time was too long between intervals, we have simmered down to semimonthly.  For the Advanced Society we elected J. A. Weaver, president; Miss Amanda Clements, secretary, Miss Lillie Clements and B. L. Wilkerson, Editors; J. M. Patten and P. T. Knight, critics, For Juvenile, W. P. Patten President; Miss Jennie Lee, Secretarys; Lucius Clements, critic.

Mr. Mathew Patten killed some more of those porkers this morning, and now for another fresh feast.

AJAX.

 

 

March 13, 1896 notes from the community of Green Bay, Berrien County, GA

March 13, 1896 notes from the community of Green Bay, Berrien County, GA

 

Notes:

Professor James Marcus Patten was running the Green Bay School. His wife was Ida Lou Hall Patten. Professor J.M. Patten was college educated, having completed the teacher education program at North Georgia Agricultural College. His lifelong career was teaching in the common schools of Berrien County. In 1911, he and his wife were teaching at the Ray City School.

James Alfred Weaver was a member of Union Primitive Baptist Church, and was elected in 1901 as its clerk.

Perry T. Knight attended Oaklawn Baptist Academy  and went on to became a teacher, lawyer, soldier, chaplain, railroad commissioner, legislator, and public service commissioner.

Lucius J. Clements, son of Levi J. Clements and Elizabeth Rowena Patten, later  attended the Georgia Normal College & Business Institute,  and managed the Clements Sawmill at Ray City until the Clements family sold the business.  He became a businessman, license inspector, and assistant tax collector.

Lillie Clements, sister of Lucius J. Clements, married Fisher H. Gaskins.

Benjamin L. Wilkerson became a dentist and later moved to Miami, FL.

Jennie L Lee (1882 – 1974), daughter of Moses C. Lee and Amanda Lee Clements,  married Sam I Watson, 1900.

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November 6, 1923 ~ Big Fire Loss at the Ray City Sawmill

sawmill bladeIt was on this date, November 6, 1923 that fire struck the big sawmill at Ray City, GA.

News of the fire was reported on the front page of the Lanier County News, of Milltown (now Lakeland), GA. The sawmill owners were nationally prominent businessmen and the story was picked by the Atlanta Constitution.

The Lanier County News
Thursday, November 8, 1923, front page

Ray City Mill Had Big Fire Loss Tuesday

The Jackson Lumber Company suffered a heavy loss when their planning mill, dry kiln, a large amount of lumber and a number of tenant houses in the mill quarters at Ray City burned down Tuesday. By dint of hard work just in the knick of time the main mill was saved from destruction.
The fire started at 10:30 in the morning and spread rapidly. The hose available at Ray City reached only half way from the town to the mill, and was not till afternoon, when the Milltown hose was sent over and the fire department from Valdosta arrived on the scene with additional hose that effective work could be done. Had it not been for this timely aid the whole plant would have been wiped out.

Transcription courtesy of Skeeter Parker.

Jackson Lumber Company

The Jackson Brothers, owners of the Jackson Lumber Company, had purchased the entire mill operation from Clements Lumber Company for $75,000 in cash in what was described as “one of the biggest business deals pulled of in this section in some time.”  The Jackson Brothers were no strangers to big business deals, and were among the wealthiest businessmen in the south. Among their other Georgia investments were ownership of Tallapoosa Mills in Tallapoosa, GA and they were major stockholders in Couch Cotton Mill of Atlanta.

The Jackson Brothers’ purchase included two weeks run of the mill and all of the lumber inventory. The Jackson Brothers also purchased the ‘Sirman’s Timber’, the largest body of original growth pine that was still standing in south Georgia. Several hundred acres of this timber stand had not been turpentined until 1922. The same timber stand had sold around 1920 for over $100,000 and had been leased for turpentining at that time. The Sirman’s Timber stood between Milltown (nka Lakeland), GA and Nashville, GA.

The purchase was reported by the Nashville Herald on the front page of the February 6, 1923 edition.

CLEMENTS LBR. COMPANY SOLD OUT AT RAY CITY

Nashville Herald, February 16, 1923

The Clements Lumber Company one largest and oldest lumber concerns in this section of the state, was sold at Ray City last week by the Clements Brothers to Jackson Brothers, formerly of Tallapoosa, Georgia.

The Clements Lumber Company has been doing business in Ray City for twelve years, it was stated by the present owners. The Jackson Brothers are mill men of considerable experience. They were formerly in the cotton mill business.

They are said to have paid $100,000 and will assume charge of the plant at once.

The new owners have bought the Lon Fender timber tract, which Mr. Fender bought more than a year ago from the Sirmans estate. It is one of the finest timber tracts in this section of the state. This with the other timber insight affords at least five years running yet, and there is more to be had, it is said, that will run them ten years.

The Clements Brothers have not decided yet what they will do in the future.

The Jackson brothers took charge of the mill in the first week of March, 1923. They had been operating a cotton mill in San Antonio, Texas which they sold to return to their former home in Georgia.  Justin C. Jackson became the president of the Jackson Lumber Company making his home in Valdosta, GA.  Jackson Lumber Company made no immediate changes in the crew operating the sawmill at Ray City. They planned to begin sawing the Sirman’s timber just as soon as the turpentine lease was up.

Unfortunately, just eight months later on the afternoon of November 6, 1923 disaster struck. A fire broke out at the Jackson Lumber Company that threatened to consume the entire operation. According to the Atlanta Constitution, the Ray City Fire department responded – running a fire hose from the town to the sawmill, a distance of one mile. But there was only enough hose on hand to reach half the distance to the mill. The Valdosta Fire Department sent a unit with additional hose to fight the blaze. By the time the firefighters from Valdosta arrived , the dry kiln, planing mill, several employees’ cottages, and 150,000 feet of lumber had already burned and the flames had reached the sawmill. They quickly coupled their hoses to the line that had already been laid by the Ray City firemen and carried the line on to the mill. The firefighters were able to save practically all of the sawmill itself, but the damages were estimated to be $50,000 dollars. The plant was insured and it was expected that the mill would be rebuilt.

The Atlanta Constitution reported the $50,000 loss in a page 21 story in the November 8, 1923 edition.

The Nov 8, 1923 edition of the Atlanta Constitution reported the sawmill fire at Ray City, GA.

The Nov 8, 1923 edition of the Atlanta Constitution reported the sawmill fire at Ray City, GA.

 

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Ray City Alumni of Georgia Normal College and Business Institute at Abbeville, GA

See also Georgia Normal College and Business Institute,

When students in Ray’s Mill, GA sought educational opportunities beyond the common schools of the area, Georgia Normal College and Business Institute at Abbeville, Georgia was one option.  In 1902 cousins Lucius Jordan Clements and Bessie Clements graduated from the Institute. L.J. Clements went on to manage the operation of his family’s business, Clements Sawmill at Ray City.  His younger brother, William Grover Clements, also completed studies at the college and returned to Berrien County to become a teacher. Another Clements cousin  who attended the institute in 1911, Hod P. Clements, later founded the Bank of Ray City.

Students at Georgia Normal College and Business Institute. Abbeville, Georgia, 1911. Hod P. Clements (back row, 3rd from left) later became a banker in Ray City, GA.

Students at Georgia Normal College and Business Institute. Abbeville, Georgia, 1911. Hod P. Clements (back row, 3rd from left) later became a banker in Ray City, GA. Image coutesty of Berrien County Historical Foundation http://www.berriencountyga.com/

Campus of Georgia Normal College and Business Institute in Abbeville, GA

Campus of Georgia Normal College and Business Institute in Abbeville, GA

"Central Hotel" - Dormitory at Georgia Normal College and Business Institute in Abbeville, GA

“Central Hotel” Dormitory at Georgia Normal College and Business InstituteAbbeville, GA

1. The Atlanta Constitution. 30 May 1902. Abbeville College Closes. Atlanta, Georgia. pg 4

 

Rays Mill Boys Debate at Advance Society Meeting

In the late 1800s,   Perry Thomas KnightLucius Clements, Benjamin L. Wilkerson and William D. “Bill” Lee  were intellectually inclined young men of  Rays Mill, GA.    Clements and Wilkerson were neighbors.  All four of the boys attended the Green Bay School. They and others of similar mind gathered at  Green Bay “Advance Society” meetings to discuss and debate social ideas.

Tifton Gazette
Friday, March 20 1896

From South Berrien
Green Bay, Feb 17.  Our Advance Society held its meeting Friday evening.  Subject for discussion Resolved, that the negro has been more cruelly treated by the white man than the Indian.  The decision was rendered in the negative. The affirmative was represented by B.L. Wilkerson and W. D. Lee, and the negative by P.T. Knight and Lucious Clements.

Lucius Clements would have been about 15 at the time of this debate: Perry Knight about 19. Lee was 16, and Wilkerson was 17.  Perry T. Knight attended Oaklawn Baptist Academy  and went on to became a teacher, lawyer, soldier, chaplain, railroad commissioner, legislator, and public service commissioner.  Lucius J. Clements  attended the Georgia Normal College & Business Institute,  and managed the Clements Sawmill at Ray City until the Clements family sold the business.  He became a businessman, license inspector, and assistant tax collector. Wilkerson became a dentist and later moved to Miami, FL.  Lee became a farmer; he later constructed a Sears Mail-order home east of Ray City.

Images courtesy http://yatesville.net/index.htm and http://berriencounty.ga

 

Levi J. Clements

Levi J. Clements 1851-1924, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

In the 1920s, Levi J. Clements and  wife Roena (or Rowena) had moved to a house on North Street in Ray City, GA, probably to be closer to the Clements sawmill. The mill was located between North Street and the tracks of the Georgia and Florida Railroad.  The Clements were surrounded by their family. Their son, Dr. Henry Clements, had the home next door, and on the other side was the home of their son Lucius, who was General Manager at the sawmill.   Irwin Clements and his wife, Annie, and Joe Clements and his family (wife Effie, and daughter Camille) lived with Levi and Rowena. Irwin Clements was a manager at the mill, and Joe was treasurer.  Levi’s grandson, Leland Gaskins, lived in the big house as well.

Roena Clements 1858-1951, New Ramah Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Mr. Clements died April 25,  1924. He and his wife are buried in New Ramah Primitive Baptist cemetery.

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